Alaska Child Passenger Safety Coalition

Second-hand Car Seats

Like toys, clothing and other children's items, second-hand car seats are often shared among friends and family members. Used car seats can also be found at garage sales and consignment stores. While the price may be attractive, that used car seat may not be a bargain.

A second-hand seat may have hidden damage, weaknesses or other safety problems. At thrift stores you will not be able to question the previous owner to ask about the history of the seat. It is critical to learn if the seat was ever involved in a car crash. Do NOT use a seat with an unknown history or one that has been in a car crash. The job of a car seat is to distribute crash forces over the strongest parts of the child's body. So, all the car seat's parts must be present, correctly assembled, in proper working order, and free from recalls or damage.

Use this checklist to help you decide whether to consider using a second-hand seat.