Highlighting the dangers of second hand child car seats to local communities

Val Clark car seatCouncillor Val Clark, former LRSC chair, outlines the importance of highlighting the dangers of second hand child car seats to local communities.

After a recent Councillors’ training session given by the Bromley Road Safety Team at the LRSC quarterly meeting, I was so impressed with the information given to us about the dangers of buying second hand child car seats, I decided to draft a letter to be delivered to all the charity shops in my Borough. I asked our RSO to draft out a fact sheet for me (see below) and I added a covering letter.

I am now systematically delivering it to all the shops within the Bexley Borough. I have already seen several child car seats in one of the smaller charity shops, so hopefully they will not be there when I return.

It is a very easy process and I would ask ALL Councillors who received that training and understand the issues, to do the same within their Boroughs.

Cllr Val Clark 

Here is the text from the fact sheet

Sale of Second-Hand Child Car Seats
We all know how expensive it is to bring up children and Charity Shops are a valuable way for parents to shop around for second-hand items to save money whilst raising valuable funds for good causes. But, one item you should never take a gamble on selling is a second-hand child’s car seat.

What’s the danger?
It’s impossible to know for certain if a used car seat has been in a collision and relying on a donor’s word is too much of a risk to take.

If a car seat has been involved in a crash there may be little or no visible damage to it, but there could well be substantial internal damage, rendering it dangerous.

Missing instruction booklets in second-hand car seats could lead to them being fitted incorrectly, rendering them dangerous in the event of a crash.

It is also vitally important that the size of the car seat is correct for the size and weight of the child and, sadly, not all child car seats fit safely into all cars.  Retailers of new seats receive industry training on appropriate restraints and can advise their customers on fitting them.

How can you tell if it’s safe?
With second-hand seats, you can’t. Just looking at a car seat won’t tell you what you need to know. In fact, the only way of checking a used car seat’s integrity is through laboratory testing.

The fact that many seats ‘look’ OK after an incident leads some parents to continue using their car seats after a crash, unwittingly putting their children at risk.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) advises that car crashes can weaken a child car seat to the extent that a child is left dangerously unprotected in the event of another incident. They advise parents to replace their children’s car seats immediately after a crash.

How can you help keep children safe?
Please do not sell second-hand child car seats through your charity outlet, the consequences of a seat failing, even in a relatively low speed impact, are simply a risk not worth taking.


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