Meeting our babies’ needs
“WE wouldn’t recommend buying second-hand car seats,” states Emily Moulder of Halfords. “Unfortunately, there is no way to tell – just by looking – if a car seat has been in an accident, collision, dropped or damaged, all of which can affect performance.
“There are lots of baby products that deliver great results second hand, car seats aren’t one of them.”
If there is no other option for you, however, Audrey Mizrahi, the UK distributor for grab-and-go car booster Mifold, says you must ensure you have the answers to these questions:
Has this car seat ever been in a crash?
Are all the parts and pieces still attached to the car seat?
Are all the labels for proper use still affixed to the car seat? Has this car seat ever been recalled? If you can’t find the answer to these questions, or if the seat should fail in any of these areas, she recommends not making the purchase. “USE each stage of seat for as long as possible and don’t be tempted to move to the next stage too soon,” recommends Mark Bennett. “Rearfacing is the safest option, ideally to at least 15 months, but many seats allow you to do this for four to six years, depending on the model. And if your car has Isofix (a car seat fitting system), then choose this over a belted option, as it’s easier to fit and provides better crash protection.”
“If you’re buying a car seat for your third child, make sure it fits in the back seat with the two other children, who might still be in car seats themselves,” says Amiad. Fran Vaughan, founder of Ickle Bubba, the brand behind the Solar car seat, suggests monitoring the weight and height of your child regularly, to ensure you’re using the correct car seat. “Check that it meets ECE safety standards, too,” he adds. “A sticker is normally located on the car seat to indicate this. Also, make sure the car seat is compatible with your vehicle.
“Most are universal, but it’s best to check before you purchase. I recommend choosing a car seat that includes an Isofix base as part of the package. This will make it much easier to install and removes most of the risks associated with a seat belt attachment.”