Why can’t we buy or sell a used carseat?

We have lots of carseats in our household, the inevitable result of having three little kids who have overlapped carseat needs at different times. I look at the ones we don’t need any more, and they’re basically in perfect condition. A bit dirty, but structurally they’re perfect.
So why can’t we buy or sell them legally?
Maybe it’s just an oft-repeated myth that’s become accepted as law, but when we talk to local charities about donating car seats, we’re told that they can’t accept them because the carseats might be damaged or have structural flaws.
Huh?


Look at even the cheapest carseat on the market and you’ll instantly see that it’s basically one big piece of injection molded plastic with some buckles, clips, a seatbelt and a cloth cover. So what could go wrong?
That is, if there was something wrong with a carseat, wouldn’t it be immediately and overtly obvious? I mean, if you looked and there was a visible crack that let you prise the seat apart, or the seatbelt didn’t click closed or one strap was dramatically frayed, obviously that’s not something you’d want out there masquerading as a safety item for babies or children! Even if it’s been in a car crash, let’s face it – the seatbelt and the plastic isn’t going to be damaged unless it’s the most horrendous, terrible accident.
I can accept that if you don’t have the original manual, you might not know the safest way to install the carseat for maximum safety, but with the Internet (and Google!) it’s a no-brainer to get a replacement manual. Check out the beautiful Graco site as one example.
But nothing’s that simple. What we are told is that it’s illegal to sell used carseats or child safety seats, and that if you do have someone give one to you, you should immediately take it to the local fire station so they can inspect it for safety and integrity.
I just don’t get it.
Anyone care to enlighten me?

82 comments on “Why can’t we buy or sell a used carseat?

  1. It’s not illegal, I bought a used carseat fron a huge rummage sale that had the sherrif office as security. $30 with two bases. in nebraska

  2. It isn’t illegal as far as I know, just not recommended. There could be problems that are not visible if the seat were in an accident or even just too old. Due to the heat and cold extremes many seats are exposed to by being in cars all the time, the plastic can start to break down after about 6 years. Also, many older seats have been recalled for various reasons or simply are not up to current safety standards. That said, if the seat is from someone you know and you can be assured it is fairly new and never been in an accident, I would take it. Lots of the standards are set up for people who may not be of average or above intelligence or for some other reason have impaired judgement. Sometimes those of us with common sense forget that not everyone has it. 🙂

  3. Hmmm… so, again, I hear about ‘plastic fatigue’ but does it really happen after only six years? And most car seats I’ve seen are made out of pretty darn heavy plastic, not just a thin “veneer”.

  4. Nearly 3 years ago I was in a car accident – hit a gaurdrail on the interstate during a light rain. I was able to drive away, myself & two kids in carseats were fine, but had extensive damage to the front end. I replaced the carseats even though they looked perfect- who knows what damage or ‘weakening’ was done to them that I couldn’t see with the naked eye? Would you trust those seats? You bend a stick once and it doesn’t break; bend it again and it does break because it was weakened by your first attempt. Better safe than sorry. I also destroyed the old seats – I didn’t want them ending up in a yard sale or thrift store.
    I’ve never heard that it’s illegal to buy or sell a used carseat – only that it’s not wise. It’s not personal, but the people/organization you try to donate a used seat to can’t trust what you or anyone else says about the seats history.

    • Thank you!! Finally someone who is honest and is willing to not take risk’s regarding their children no matter what the costs!! Idc what anyone say’s! Walmart or any other cheap store’s will have a cheap enough car seat.

    • Exactly!! And who knows what chemicals they used to clean the plastic of the car seat. A lot of household cleaners break down plastics too! It’s just not worth the risk, no matter how big or small that risk is!

  5. Seeing how my kids plastic toys wear out and break, yes, I do believe that plastic breaks down. And I would have to believe that given how hot it gets in closed up vehicles in the summer, that would have an effect on the speed of it. I doubt the extreme cold winters where I live help either. Someone in a more moderate climate than I could probably assume that their seat would be safe longer than I can. There’s that pesky common sense again. 🙂

  6. The primary reason I’ve always heard/read about as to why you shouldn’t buy used car seats is that they may have been involved in a recall that you don’t know about. Also, the plastic and other non-metal parts certainly do age do to exposure to ultraviolet rays and heat. In some parts of the country the inside of a car can routinely reach 140+ degrees F in the summer.

  7. Excessive exposure to UV (the sun) can break down plastics. All kinds of things can be spilled on the plastic and belt webbing that can damage and weaken them – although they clean OFF the belt and leave no visual damage.
    Car seats are generally cheap – it’s an inexpensive piece of insurance to buy a new one. And basic good liability protection for charities to refuse old ones. If they distribute NEW ones they can basically tell them to sue the manufacturer, distributing used ones makes the issue harder to define who is liable.

  8. Susan replaced two car seats after a minor accident due to a worry that they might not be as effective.
    Susan (or anyone else): When was the last time you had your seatbelts replaced? After an accident they could be weakened. Over time they could degrade due to temperature extremes and UV.
    Obviously most people don’t replace them, as there isn’t a need. How often do you hear of a problem from a used or old car seat? Rarely.
    It’s like mad-cow disease. It’s a non-issue. Sure, you deal with it and limit it’s impact, but you don’t blow it out of proportion. There have only been about 250 people who got a disease linked to mad-cow. You are by *far* more likely to be killed (not just struck) by lightning.
    If it’s only an issue of liability, then there isn’t an issue as long as the person who gets the used car seat acknowledges that fact and also acknowledges it’s their responsibility to have the seat inspected.

  9. Hate to inform most people of the world here, but automotive seatbelts should be replaced anytime you have had an accident. The material is engineered with a stress absorbing stretch to it. They are not elastic, so once stretched, lose the ability to dissipate the stresses borne in an accident.
    If you’ve had an impact strong enough to leave welts and bruises under the belt, the belts have stretched and should be replaced. As to child’s car seats, unless they have styrofoam type shock absorbtion, they are more likely to be reusable after an accident than the belts that restrain them.

  10. The car seats do come with an expiry date. After which the manufacture states that it will not accept any liabilty after that date. (This is the usuall reason for expiriy dates on certain processed foods too!)
    So an injury of an infant in a carseat that you gave away with an expired date would result in you being sued. The new owners acknoledgement of the “used” status would only reduce damages.
    So you should destroy, sell or give away carseats before the expiry date. Unless you have no assests or income and are therefore lawsuit proof.

  11. LS: Car seats can be found at Wal-Mart or Target for as low as $40. You can also go on craigslist.com and find ones that people barely used for low prices. Most all counties in the U.S. have hospitals that offer car seats for sale for less than $40. So car seats are, relatively speaking, for the amount of benefit you get, cheap.
    Anonymous: not to get off topic, but you should look into a book called Our Cannibals, Ourselves at the chapter about mad cow. Check your premises and assumptions at the door.
    To Dave Taylor: the nonprofits won’t take them because if the seats are recalled or damaged in a nonvisible manner, they could be held liable for any accident that is caused by the seat’s failure. It’s the same for resale shops and such. I’ve both bought and sold car seats through eBay and Craigslist without any problems.

  12. I had a new infant car seat when my daughter was born but I had a neighbor give me the toddler seat and I have been using it ever since reluctantly. I didn’t know about the concerns of used carseats but I had worries. I looked at buying a new seat but we are in the city and use public transportation or walk most of the time so I put it out of my mind thinking I was worrying needlessly. Reading this has made me want to buy a new one though. I would rather be safe that sorry.

  13. The inside of a seat is usually just Styrofoam. Like a bicycle helmet, they are designed to crack on impact, to absorb shock. It is possible for a car seat’s Styrofoam to get cracked — with no visible exterior signs — from a collision as slow as 5 m.p.h.
    Additionally, seats are dated, something like seven years. After that date, the seat should be disposed of. I don’t know the particulars, but count on it being a safety-related reason.
    NEVER buy a car seat used unless you know it was never in any form of collision and trust the word of the seller with your child’s life… and that the seat is rated for use through the time period you expect to use it. And that the seat hasn’t been recalled.
    I’m all for being frugal, but car seats are something best purchased new.

  14. The most logical thing I have been told is that the carseats are made to withstand wear and tear and collisions of course for a certain period of time. An infant carry carseat is made to withstand about a year’s worth of use. So, if Baby 1 uses this carseat for a year and then Baby 2 uses same seat for another year and then you pass it on to Baby 3, that carseat has been in action for 3 years! When it was only designed to withstand wear and tear for 1 year! Same goes for other types of carseats, they are designed to last a specific period of time. They just weren’t designed to hold up to unlimited use.

  15. I used to work for a charity that collected donated goods and sold them to Value Village (a used goods and clothing store). All baby paraphanalia (not clothing) and things like car seats, high chairs, cribs was pitched into the dumpster and not sold. Value Village was scared of the liability issues involved.

  16. While wanting my children to be safe, I can’t help suspecting that carseat manufacturers are onto a good thing with their “expiry dates” ! What a great way to generate income. Call me cynical.
    My current problem with carseats is that, with the addition of baby #3, it’s very difficult to comply with carseat legislation. We can’t afford to, or even want to replace our station wagon with something even bigger, but fitting an infant seat and two boosters in the back is VERY fiddly. All those seats have such wide bases. Are there any “slimfit” models out there that anyone knows about? Then I WOULD be tempted to spend $$$ on new ones. The baby is currently using the same seat I got for my soon-to-be-six-year-old.

  17. Our local sheriff’s department offers safety inspections of car seats to make sure they are up to code and installed correctly. Definately worth looking into.

  18. A couple of years back, I looked into starting a non-profit (charity) for used car seats. Preferrably those whose state law requires they need them prior to bringing home new born infants at the hospitals.
    My only suggestion, in 2007, would be to check the major search engines for current research and updates, then your local city/state officials. You always want the safety of your child to supercede the value of a dollar.
    -CLS

  19. I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF THERE IS A WAY TO RECYCLE THE OLD OUT DATED CAR SEATS. IF NOT WHY? I THINK SOMEONE SHOULD COME UP OF A WAY TO DO THIS. GRIND THEM OR MELT THEM DOWN AND THE PLASTIC PUT BACK INTO ANOTHER CAR SEAT OR SOMETHING ELSE USEFULL.

  20. The question of legality depends on the state you are in. (if the seat was in an accident…hard to prove)I just came across the California law regarding the “sale of used car seats.” Here what it states…
    Child Passenger Restraint System: Prohibition Against Resale After Accident
    27362.1. (a) No individual may sell or offer for sale a child passenger restraint system that was in use by a child during an accident involving a motor vehicle.
    (b) A violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of one hundred dollars ($100).
    Added Sec. 2, Ch. 703, Stats. 2002. Effective January 1, 2003

  21. First of all Police and Fire department personal don’t always know how to install car seats, most are not actually or propery trained. They are not capable of “inspecting” a car seat any more than you are.
    “”If you’ve had an impact strong enough to leave welts and bruises under the belt, the belts have stretched and should be replaced. As to child’s car seats, unless they have styrofoam type shock absorbtion, they are more likely to be reusable after an accident than the belts that restrain them.””
    Whether the seats had styrofoam or not it needs to be replaced due to the strain on the plastic as well as the harness. If you have to replace your seatbelt why not the harness.
    $150.00 for a car seat is a good price, even $300.00. You’re buying something that lasts six years. An infant seat can be used for the next child, if you have one, and you don’t even have to buy an infant seat, you could just buy an convertible seat. $150.00 is too much money for the life of your child? It’s funny how people complain it’s too much money for car seats yet keep popping out kids. Or buy all sorts of electonics, cigarettes, clothes (in excessive) Have 30-40000 cars, but 150.00 for a car seat is too much???
    Mommyto2 please research before you say something, you may have scared a few moms out there. Infants seats are not made to expire after a year. They are made of the same quality plastic as any other car seat. They are made to hold a child up to about a year so the child has a proper fitting car seat. They also have a 6 year expiry date.
    On a last note there are some states that recycle old car seats and it is illegal in some states to sell used/expired car seats.
    Car seats are not an investment, you don’t buy them, then try to make a profit after it’s old and expired. Most of you who do try to do that would most likely NOT buy something like that for your own child.

  22. I was in a moderate wreck several years ago with an installed but unused carseat. The damage done was minimal and fairly difficult to see unless you really looked for – just hairline cracks along the beltpath that could only be seen in bright light.
    It’s hard to just toss something that still seems to have some life left in it – even us carseat “freaks” feel sick doing it sometimes.
    The important thing to remember is that until you get in a wreck – it’s just a seat. Just because it looks like it would still make a good seat doesn’t mean it will still work to restrain a child in a crash. And you don’t know until it’s too late.
    Another aspect of the problem goes beyond looking up the carseat manual online, particularly if you’re talking about a charity accepting carseats. It would involve a lot of work and effort to look up each and every carseat that comes in, find the manual, check it for recalls, check for missing parts, and look for damage. I’m sure there are plenty of donated carseats that are still perfectly safe, but most charities don’t have the manpower to sort out the sellable seats.

  23. dh works in the sign industry as a vacuum form technician. he works with plastic, all day everyday. he is more of a carseat freak than me makeing sure they get changed and what-not. the one thing that he mentioned was the temperature differences makes the plastic weak. even signs show wear during the summer. they “sag” if it gets too hot, especially if the sign isn’t embossed. so in my non-plastic savvy mind, if it can get that hot outside to do that to a sign, what happens to a carseat over the years in the car since it gets so hot in the car.

  24. so what does one do with an old car seat? if you cant sell it, it’s too old, or been in an accident.
    throw it in the landfill ?
    Nice!

  25. The State of California did testing a number of years back on carseats that had been involved in accidents. Many of these seats included visible damage from the original collision including bent latches. In the tests, NOT ONE seat failed in a second accident. These seats are stronger than you’d think, and in reality will last far longer than the expiration date. Manufacturers just don’t keep testing or supporting products past the expiration date because they don’t want the liability. They also want to sell more seats! Resale shops are concerned about liability as well. The biggest danger from carseats is mis-use including not having the straps adjusted properly or not having the seat securely attached to the car.

  26. Shouldn’t there be a warning label(expiration) on the car seats so the consumer could be aware of this? I just bought 2 car seats used and cannot find and expiration date or warning anywhere. What about parents who use the same seat over the years for 2 or 3 children in a span of 6 years How do they know it could be unsafe?

  27. I bought a new (& expensive) convertible car seat for my daughter who just turned 1. I also purchased her infant seat new. For those who think a new seat isn’t worth it, think about what you could be losing. I’d rather eat ramen for a couple of months than chance that my daughter could be seriously injured in a crash. It comes down to what you’re willing to do for the safety of your child. I’m trying to figure out what to do with her old seat, but I’m not going to make any parent fret over a used seat if I wasn’t going to subject my daughter to one either. As far as the materials the seat is made of, tests done on seats from crashes, heat stress, etc., I want proof. I want the actual test info, the articles, websites, etc. Pardon me if I’m not just going to take your word for it! I live in AZ, & when it’s 115 degrees outside and 140+ in my car, I’m not risking my daughter’s life on heat-stressed plastic or whatever just because a bunch of people tell you it’s okay!

  28. Now,what is the rule on store, specifically online stores, selling car seats, do they have to sell one that was manufactured in the current year? I Hope so! If I am buying a car seat online, I want to know what it was recently manufactured so that I get my full 6 years or whatever it is out of it!
    Also, I am bummed I have to buy a new car seat because the one my older son outgrew is expired this yr, so my newest son could be in danger.. and I agree with some people, it looks perfectly fine and hasn’t been in any accidents.. but the alternative thought- losing my child- is horrible… top it off, I have twins, have to buy two new ones!

  29. I am currently trying to resell the infant car seat that my daughter outgrew in just 7 months. This car seat cost a small fortune and didn’t get a lot of wear and tear, since we mostly used my hubby’s car and a hand me down car seat from my sister. It’s a shame these car seats can’t be recertified somewhere to save future parents a buck. I am a first-time mommy, but I figured out quick that the baby after-market is the place to shop if you don’t want to spend a fortune on things your baby will outgrow in 2-3 months!

  30. The one thing everyone has overlooked is not only the quality of the car seat, but that it is properly installed in the car. You can have the newest, most expensive car seat, but it’s not going to do anything if it’s not installed properly (ie-tilt, tightness, etc). Many fire departments and police departments check and/or install for free.

  31. Manufacturers should have to take back the used car seat WITH its clearly marked and nonremovable date of manufacture. They could also give a credit slip toward another purchase and end the problem for consumers. Half the cost must go into liability insurance!

  32. the question still remains ..what do i do of my used car seat ,which is still in good condition.Throwing it in thrash is not an option for me.

  33. I am certified to install car seats through SafeKids. I usually tell parents to get rid of them but if you can’t bring yourself to throw it away, you could always donate it to the local chapter of Safekids. When we are certified, we have to practice on many different types of seats. I would highly discourage using any seat that has been used by someone that you don’t know. If you get a seat from a family member or friend, at least you know the history of the seat. Accidents do cause damage that isn’t visible. Many seats that have been brought to me to install that were used, have passed their expiration date. One seat even had a date of 1989! The safety standards for seats are continually changing. A seat made 7 years ago would not pass the saftey testing and requirements that currents seats are held to. I would like to encourage everyone to have their seats checked because atleast 95% of seats I check are incorrect in some way. This service is always free at fire stations and ambulance companies, however donations are appreciated to fund this important service.

  34. Since you can’t sell it… and you can’t give it to charity… and you no longer have a use for it… then pitch it in a recycle bin.
    Perhaps the manufacturers should include recycling labels on the products. It’s the least they could do after successfully lobbying for a series of laws (based on questionable science) that force parents to buy more and more of their products.

  35. I’m sorry, isn’t your child’s life worth it? I agree, they get expensive but they are an investment. An investment in your child’s future and their quality of life. Most insurance company’s will cut you a check to buy new seats if they were in use during a crash.
    PLEASE do not sell expired seats, even if they were only used for a fraction of their usable life. Or seats that have been in accidents or mishandled outside of vehicles. Cut the straps out of the seat if you can’t turn it in to a recycling facility. Write crashed on it. Trade it in to Babies R Us for a 25% off coupon.
    And don’t wash the harness straps, the webbing is like your vehicles seat belts, washing them can compromise their ability to perform in a crash.
    If you honestly know the history of a seat and it is safe/unexpired, then go ahead and list it on ebay or craigslist. Charities and consignment shops cannot sell used seats due to liabilities and in some states, the law.

  36. um… for those of you who think an old car seat is as safe as a new one, or to whomever was ragging susan for replacing her carseats after a crash: *NEWS FLASH* if you READ THE MANUAL of the carseat, it tells you that you MUST replace a carseat in the event of any collision. Replacing the carseat is not the same as replacing the seat belts, so dont be daft.
    The fact is that most carseats are placed in bases because it is the most secure and most convienient. In the event of a minor collision, there is more force impacted on the base than you would think. Things that are even the tiniest bit warped can malfunction easily.
    Also, even if you dont buy any of this: What are you going to say to the childs other parent in the 1 in a million chance that the seat does malfunction and something happens because you didnt replace it the first time? because you didnt read the directions? NOTHING… you cant say anything, cause it wont matter then whatever you say.
    And dont even try the whole “over-reacting” ploy… When it comes to childrens safety… you cant be to careful when putting them in a vehicle that travels faster than their ultimate velocity most of the time… Be logical, seriously.

  37. It is illegal in the state of california to resell a carseat that has been in an accident, but that should be the case everywhere. Are you really going to believe the person at the yard sale who really wants $20 when they tell you it’s a wonderful seat that’s never been in an accident? Come on, now… Spend a hundred extra dollars, and save your child’s life. Sounds worth it to me. Do you really need your hair colored this month? Can your shoes last a little longer? Well then… Thanks for listening, please think before you put your kid at risk

  38. Take one fewer phone call while driving with your kids, over their entire lifetime, and you have just dramatically increased the safety of your child by a far larger margin that replacing car seats annually. Consumerism gets traction, forbearance gets none.

    • Finally, some Real logic.
      Talk all you want about carseat safety. I lost my two year old while he was properly restrained in a new car seat. Step back and see the BIG picture. Comply with our laws, and forget about proving who’s being “safe” and who is being tight-fisted. It’s all relative to what you have or have not experienced.

  39. You MUST be joking… they dont make these suggestions just for the sake of making them… this is about the SAFETY of our CHILDREN!! There should be a FEDERAL LAW against selling expired car seats. I’m not saying all used car seats are bad but why would you sell one that is expired. Would you give your child expired milk or food?? Would you want to be in a car with a seat belt that is “expired” I certainly wouldn’t. So we may have to spend a little extra money… are our children not worth it??? I am outraged by this.

  40. I contacted Evenflo about car seats today. I have two that are in great condition and have never been in a wreck. Some new seats are “great” but who knows what recalls will come out on them. I have seen expensive recalled seats that are almost new. The Evenflo representative said that it has nothing to do with plastic degrading but it simply a recommendation. On my seat, there is no expiry listed. She added that it is not illegal to resell a car seat. I agree that this is a liability thing and that manufacturers have an interest in this.
    Above mentioned replacing seat belts after accidents. You might want to be careful there. You could jeopardize the safety system. I have been told by dealerships that it can. And I would think insurance companies (which are horrified by liability) would replace seat belts if necessary.
    A lot of hype. I think perhaps we need to take a look at motive.
    My niece was so scared about her crib that she quit using it and instead sleeps with her baby, something that has been shown to be unsafe and lead to death by accident. Her crib, after I told her about these dangers of sleeping in the bed with baby, turned out to not even be on the recall list.
    We need to use our heads as a nation or we will constantly be replacing everything.
    I could go on about dangers in new housing but I will stop here.

  41. Someone mentioned that there should be recycle logos on car seats. I just cleaned my Britax and it has a recycle logo on the back of it….so some manufacturers are doing it.

  42. I’ve dismantled my car seats a couple of times so I could throw the covers in the laundry. My oldest seat is still adequately malleable and I can’t imagine this plastic experiencing a hairline crack. So far as the argument for new seats being safer, I’m sure any safety improvements are marginal. In my opinion the biggest risk is the buckle mechanism malfunctioning due to debris or rust. The expiration date smells like a marketing scheme and CYA effort by the manufacturers.

  43. I think it has more to do with the ever growing number of recalls on car seats. Of course, there’s a simple fix. Take it to your local hospital or carseat safety inspection station and have them look it up!!! I have sold carseats in yard sales and on craigslist, no problem at all. Some families can’t afford to buy everything brand new with every new kid. I see nothing wrong with it.

  44. To Kristina, the crib manufacturers paid for that research. It’s actually safer to sleep with your baby unless you are extremely overweight, on medication that makes you drowsy, or on narcotic drugs. The crib manufacturers want you to buy their products, so they did research that ‘proved’ their products were needed. I think it is the same with car seats.
    the CPSC has never before dispensed parenting advice and is not qualified to do so, the JFMA’s board of directors is a laundry list of crib manufacturers who clearly have a conflict of interest. As with any and all things regarding babies, there are safety issues to be observed. Rather than clearly defining these safety issues, the CPSC and the JFMA did a huge disservice to the public by adhering to their monetary agenda by completely discrediting a valid method of sleeping and bonding with your children. from http://ecobites.com/eco-news-articles/natural-parenting/75-attachment-parenting should tell a lot. They want money, so they scare the crap out of parents, especially new parents. When we went to South America, people were surprised that we Americans are so stupid as to believe everything we are told by companies who want our money.
    Hey, I think your drapes might be less flame retardant now that they’ve been in the sun for as long as they have been. Want to buy some super flame retardant drapes from me? They’re made out of material studied to be entirely non-combustible. They’re made out of moss on a dirt layer, but entirely safe and will never burn. Studies show that these should be in every home to decrease the risk of any fires spreading.
    Yeah, none of the babies who died in the crib research was in bed with his or her parent(s). None. But babies still died in the cribs. But, the research still shows, because it was slanted, that the cribs were safer.
    Yes, companies do twist research to fit their needs, just like politicians do. It’s is your child, so don’t believe everything you hear or read.

  45. Again with the “its your child, don’t you want them to be safe?” guilt trip that most people want you to believe. These people are usually executives that want a family to continually shell out to buy new instead of using gently used items. I am pregnant and bought my infant car seat from a consignment store for 70 (this includes base, stroller and car seat). This car seat is extremely safe (a higher end brand) but because it’s used, the price is greatly reduced.
    When people talk about the heat possibly ruining the plastic….I live in AZ. Any kind of warehouse, shipping or receiving means hundreds of these car seats being stocked in stores have been sitting in a hot warehouse, then a hot semi, then another hot storage room until someone buys it and puts it in their hot car. If we were really worried about the heat cracking a car seat they would have to be shipped and stored at no more than 78-84 degrees. These seats are made to last even in extreme heat (just like a bike helmet. If you never crack the helmet, you can use the same one for years…years of summers with sun directly above your head!
    *And to the cheap car seat people….I’m not putting my kid in a slightly padded but mostly hard plastic $40.00 car seat. They sell them at costco and unless you put something between the seat and the baby, you can end up having a child with bruises and sores consistent with bedsores on the elderly. Babes spend a lot of their first months being carted around in these seats and the cheapest ones are usually the most uncomfortable for them
    -Au pair and child care provider Joce

  46. For those of you that are so hell bent on telling all those that want to buy or sell a cheap/used carseat that they are horrible people … I hope you have a brand new, 5 star crash rated vehicle that you put your brand new carseats in. Otherwise, how stupid do you look putting your fancy, new carseat into your cheap/used vehicle!!!

  47. I agree with all the comments about child safety and not being cheap with it. Just not sure what to do with the expired seat. What about the environment. Imagin all the seats hitting the landfills. Does anyone know a more friendly way of disposing of theese things?

  48. I have a kid thats prego and I got a used crib (older one) and 2 used car seats that look brand new, and more used stuff… when you do not have a disposible income like some people today, you gotta do what ya gotta do. Get free stuff. And where would we be today with the drop down side of cribs? I mean come on, used baby stuff, BIG DEAL… Lifes hard enough to go out and buy 200 dollar car seats and cribs for some that work their butts off and can not afford everything new… sorry… i do not agree with alot of you gals up top.

      • Because all babies are planned right? And if you can’t afford new things that means you’re an unfit parent? o_O Older items do not equal unsafe, nor does financial stability mean you are a fit parent.

        • Yes, if you can’t afford an expensive new car seat you should not have babies. Poor people should not be allowed to have kids, and if they get laid off and lose their income they should give their kids away to rich people. (sarcasm – duh)

          My kid’s car seat has just been in the car and sat in for 2 years. Nothing whatsoever has happened to it aside from a bunch of cheerios dropped into the cracks. No extreme temperatures here. There are 5 years left until the expiration date, and if she were to continue sitting in it for the next 5 years, or until she got too big, it wouldn’t be a problem, right? So why would it be a problem for someone else to have this seat? Since she’s moving to a high-back booster, I want sell or give this seat to someone else who needs it.

          But since that seems unacceptable (illegal?), I guess it would go into the landfill. What a huge WASTE! Luckily in Portland, OR there is a car seat recycling program.

      • Low blow Faye. How about the fact that many of us were raised without car seats. The human race will continue regardless of how many people try to legislate everything under the sun. This whole “car seats until you are 12” business is ridiculous.

        • wait I’ve never heard of this car seat until your 12….what state is this in?
          I am in California and I’ve only lived in California and Nevada for most of my life and I know in California that the car seat rule only applies until child and carseat weigh 65 pounds combined…..it used to be until the child is 65 but they have found that car seats are structurally unsafe at anything more than both being combined at a 65 pound limitthey made this like think a couple years ago……that’s the only one that I know of….I’m not writing this to be rude I’m just actually really curious about other state lawsI do tend to travel sometimesand I havea 3 & a 7 year old

      • It is unfortunate that people with your mentality exist in today’s society. The only types of responses that one would expect to read on this page are responses that actually have to do with the question and topic at hand. Do you realize how much of pea-brains some of you seem for bringing up finances in a situation, and question that has nothing at all, in fact, to do with that. Re-read the damned question at hand, and if you can not respond with USEFUL information – then continue on with your day instead of trying to put in your two cents to feel better about your life, and yourself. If you are financially stable – that is great! And I wish I could sincerely thank you for sharing! But now I’m just peeved at how “dumb” you make Americans look, and at how I wasted my time reading some of these pathetic responses that I had no benefit from.

  49. I would love to know where I can see this study I’ve seen referenced on several sites about the used car seats being tested in California.

  50. As not everyone can afford the new car seats, so there is only option for used ones. If we carefully examine the condition then we can end up with a good and safe one. Should not go for the too old ones.

  51. I work at a local pregnancy center (nonprofit) and we accept used carseats in good condition that are less than 4 years old. Once the carseat arrives, staff members look on the DOT website to make sure it has not been recalled. These carseats are given for free to very needy families with young children. They are very helpful to the families that can not afford a brand new one. We are very cautious to accept good carseats and sometimes reject donations if they don’t meet our standards. To find other pregnancy centers, you can go to http://www.optionline.org/ Type in your zip code and make sure it lists “Material Aid” under Services.

  52. These car seats that “most likely” with “common sense” are still good…..
    They are ending up in a land fill? Hmmmmm

  53. Its obvious that people who buy new car seats feel the safest…BUT are they…? My cousin lost her little girl in a car accident and she always buys the BEST money can buy…it didnt save her daughter.
    I bought 2 new looking car seats..they were gently used by grandparents that didnt get to put their grandkids in them much…BUT I checked recall lists online and I checked expiration dates and looked the seats over well…no styrophom in these…they look good as new and No recalls. I have a perfect driving record due to having 2 children and never wanting to go to another babies funeral like my cousins. She was a little too busy while driving to notice the semi.
    But the Best new car seat costing $300 isnt the issue with me…I look online and I see lots of NEW car seats with recalls(even the best high end ones get recalls)…the used ones I just checked have NO issues….so is my babies safety really mostly about the seat he will ride in or is it about ME…? I think we all have to ask ourselves that.

  54. I am the owner of a second hand store who is in the process of chunking yet another car seat that has expired. I don’t understand why we have to do this, back in “my day” the kids didn’t even have to ride in a car seat let alone a “fresh” one. My kids are now having kids of their own & spending hundreds of dollars on their car seats. Crazy if you ask me – especially for my customers, who basically don’t have the money to buy new. This current seat retails new for over $300 & still appears to be in better shape & safer shape than the $40 Walmart ones. I say if you are required to use them, then the gov’t should be required to provide them!

  55. Seriously????????? Someone’s drinking the ‘car seat manufacturer’s Cool-Aid!’ Creative marketing, or planned obsolescence? If the govenrment’s (i.e. Canada) are concerned to the point of expiring compromised plastic carseats, why not insist the frames are made of metal—which doesn’t degrade with sunlight either!! I’m all about safety and protecting the lives of our little ones……., but all this hoopla makes me think we’re being bamboozled!?!?!?!

  56. I work at a children’s resale shop in SE Michigan. It is ILLEGAL in the state of MI to resell a used carseat. You cannot go by word of mouth as to whether or not the seat was in an accident, missing peices, or stolen. I am told that it has to do with expiring parts, however, that is our secondary reason for not accepting carseats. Our primary reason for not accepting them, is for a lack of trust as to where they came from, and its true condition. We do try to test our equipment before even buying it, but if you lug your carseat in, you’ve wasted your time and energy. I don’t know if its illegal or not for private owners to resell their carseats, but resale shops get BIG fines where I’m from, for selling just one.

  57. I think you just have to use common sense. I work for a website that helps individuals who have used car seats find new homes for them. Laws are different in different states and countries, but for the most part, it’s not illegal to resell a used car seat. Some places require that the car seat hasn’t expired yet. All we urge is that people use common sense and we stay clear of individual transactions.

    • Hi Wendy,

      I am travelling to Santa Rosa with my 4 month old baby and will be there for a month.
      Can you help me with the name of your company, it would be great if I could buy used products like car seat stroller and crib for the duration of my stay.

      Thank you

  58. Selling used carseats
    Many seats cannot be sold now due to new 2012 compliant regulations set out by Transport Canada and Health Canada. This may mean you cannot sell your carseat even if it is not expired. Note that is says you MAY not be able to sell your carseat becasue all manufacturers had 2 years to switch over to the new regulations and they all switched at different times. Any seat made before May 2010 will NOT be compliant and cannot be sold or given away or you can be held liable if something happens.
    http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/roadsafety/safedrivers-childsafety-faq-1131.htm New regs
    http://hqcomoxvalley.com/news/local/news/Local/12/01/9/Car-seat-confusion newspaper article that explains new regs
    http://www.car-seat.org/showthread.php?t=206155 List of carseats and when the manufacturer switched over ( unofficial )
    If you are able to sell your carseat make sure it is not missing any pieces , including the manual and you include all information about yuour seat including Date of manufacture , brand of seat and model number. If you are unsure about where to find any of this or if your seat is compliant please contact Vanessa Milligan Ritchie , who is a CRST ( car seat tech ) .
    When buying a used seat things to look for or ask
    http://cpsafety.com/articles/usedseat.aspx guide to buying used seats
    – has it been in an accident
    – has it been checked as luggage on a plane or dropped more than 3 feet
    – does it have all the pieces it needs including the manual
    -have the strap been washed
    -has the seat got all appropriate cmvss stickers , date of manufacturer info still attached or had a recall
    -Is there any sign of obvious damage ( cracked plastic, rusting , harness fraying etc )
    If the answer to any of these things is yes ( except for the stickers the answer should be yes ) do not purchase the seat, if you cannot get a satisfactory answer to any of these questions do not buy the seat. Remember this is your child’s protection in case of an accident .
    Questions can also be asked at http://www.facebook.com/VICarSeatTechs
    Any questions please PM me ( Vanessa ) or you can email questions to [email protected]

  59. If I buy a car seat, use it for a couple months, and store it in a climate controlled place for the rest of its life the material is good for 20 years. As long as you look it up, know that it is a recent style and up to date with the plastic crap that is on the market today, and installed properly it is just as safe as a brand new car seat. You all have been swindled by people that have a money incentive, and because children are involved everyone jumps on the band wagon and the masses dont think to question it. People are smart enough not to put their kids in something dangerous. The manufacturers of these items have actually lobbied (bribed) congress to make this happen. They aren’t stupid and they realize that they need to do what ever possible to make sure the largest number of pregnant women buy brand new car seats. They are a corporation and will do anything they can to make an extra dollar even if it means making a phony expiration date, or making their products in foreign sweat shops with no child labor or safety laws. These companies dont care about kids or safety, they only worry that people will someday find out the meaning of the phrase conflict of interest or fins out that people are smart enough to see through their predatory business models, or make their own decisions for what is safe for their children. Ever wonder why the National Transportation Safety Board doesn’t support these expiration dates?

  60. This whole myth starts with marketing. The manufacturers don’t want you to buy a used item. They want your money so they spin a web of lies. They use fear to make you gasp and run to the store instead of Craigslist. Now granted there *might* be damage, but what about all the dangerous product that have been recalled? Is not the risk the same? We are scared into buying new because we are told that our child might die.

  61. I believe that it is legal to sell/buy used car seats as an individual. It is not legal for a company, or non-profit to sell used car seats, though.

  62. Single father here.
    I have your answer.
    It’s not illegal, but the finding a forum to sell your used car seat would be a daunting task. Here’s why…
    It would be fiscally irresponsible for any corporate entity to create a marketplace for the buying and selling used car seats. Think about it:
    1.Thousands of recalls on car seats would require constant transaction monitoring to stop anyone from buying a recalled seat. And any past transactions involving a new recall would require the bite to be notified in order for the marketplace to avoid liability.
    2.If a market place were actually available:
    …peddling used car seats could become an easy way to make quick untraceable cash. When inventory runs low; a late night stroll through your neighborhood (with a brick), and your window is the only thing standing between a drug addict and his next party sack. »[That would be one inevitable outcome]
    …You have to buy more diapers but your out of money….inevitably people will contemplate, “Well if I sell her carseat (on irresponsibleAhole.com JK); I can buy the diapers now, and ill just duct tape baby Kendall, to the armrest, till she turns 8. »[Another bad eventuality]
    So if a market place encouraged used carseat exchange; it would be irresponsible, to say the least. That’s my final answer.thanx for reading

  63. If you really can’t afford a car seat call your local state trooper barracks.. there are places that will GIVE you a NEW never used car seat and they should have the information for it. They will fit it to your child and show you how to properly install the vehicle. Some local public health offices do it also.

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