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Is a Used Car Seat Really a Good Idea?

With the presence of warm weather, garage sale signs are popping up on every corner. Although garage sales and online classified sites can be a good place to find great deals, purchasing a used car seat could mean compromising safety. Car seats must never be used once they’ve been in an accident and, by purchasing used, you can’t be sure of the seat’s crash history. You can’t always tell that the seat has been damaged or abused - it could have stress or structural weakness that isn't visible from just looking at the seat.

What about hand-me-down seats from a child’s sibling or from a relative? Even if you’re sure the car seat hasn’t been in an auto accident or misused, you need to check the car seat’s expiration date. Each manufacturer sets an expiration date for its car seats that should be visible on one of the labels on the seat. Most car seats should be replaced every six years, with the exception of car seats made with extended use periods such as the Evenflo Symphony. You also need to be able to find the car seat’s model number so you can verify with the manufacturer that the model number is not under a recall.

How to locate model number and expiration date on  a car seat:

On larger seats the label could be on the upper back.

The label should clearly read the child restraint name, model number, manufacture date and expiration date.

Keep in mind, a used car seat could be missing some of the original parts needed for safety. Do not use a car seat that shows any form of cracks or damage, nor those with missing labels, model numbers, manufacture dates or parts. Make sure you locate or request from the manufacturer the instruction manual for the seat, as installation and use information is specific to each model of car seat. You should also check with the manufacturer to make sure the car seat has all the correct parts. If you cannot verify all of these safety points, the car seat is considered unsafe for use, even if it appears to be in good condition.

Evenflo does NOT recommend purchasing used car seats. It is almost always safer to choose a new car seat for your child. Please don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer if you have any questions or concerns about a new or used car seat. Our ParentLink team is available to help you with any questions and can be reached at 800-233-5921 (U.S.) or 800-265-0749 (Canada).