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.
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?