Ten Tips on buying a used car seat

buying a used car seat

Saving money is absolutely necessary for parents because there are so many other things that need to be purchased such as endless boxes of diapers, expensive formula, and clothing. While there’s no sense in needlessly spending money, it’s important to be very careful when looking at buying a used car seat because they are a more affordable option.

Buying a used car seat is something we don’t advise for many reasons; however that does not make all used car seats poor options for parents. If you follow the ten tips on buying a used car seat below, you can ensure that if you do decide to buy one, that it’s a decent secondary seat that will keep your little one safe.


Ten Tips on Buying a Used Car Seat

buying a used car seat at a garage sale1. Don’t make it your primary

A used car seat should never be your primary car seat. This is because there are so many possible issues with a used car seat and even if you do your research and get a great model, there could be a flaw you missed. Avoid putting your child at an increased risk and buy a new car seat within your budget. Check out our great car seat reviews for a possible option that you can afford!

2. Check online reviews

Buying a used car seat should be done with as much care and attention as you would with a new car seat. Always look at the car seat reviews for that particular model and see what other parents say. If it’s an uncomfortable seat on long rides, or it’s difficult to adjust the straps, or it’s simply a horrible model, it’s important for you to do your research and find these details out.

3. Buy from someone you know

You need to buy a used car seat from someone you know and trust because they will likely not lie to you about it’s history. Get a detailed history on your potential used car seat before ever buying it.

4. Check for rips and tears

An obvious tip on buying a used car seat, but a necessary one. Slight cosmetic damage is to be expected, such as a tad bit of wear on the sides, or perhaps a slight juice stain; however extensive damage such as rips and tears make that particular used car seat one you shouldn’t buy.

5. Do a test installation in your car

Installing some car seats can be a nightmare. Even the top car seat brands such as Graco, Evenflo and Britax all have certain models that are just outrageously complicated to install. With little ones to deal with, you don’t really need to contend with an overly complicated car seat each time you go to put it into your car. If the test installation shows that it  feels weak, is too difficult to install, or doesn’t fit properly in your vehicle, then avoid buying that used car seat.

6. Keep the expiration date in mind

Booster seats, convertible car seats, infant car seats, and even all in one car seats all have an expiration date on them where use afterwards is to be strictly avoided. Even the best car seats 2015, over time, will wear out through the years and be unsafe should they be involved in a car accident.

7. Double check it’s not a recall

Another great tip on buying a used car seat is to ensure it’s not on one of the car seat recall lists. There are many top rated car seats that may have a minor flaw in them causing the entire model to be recalled. Check for  car seat recalls here: Safecar.gov

8. Inspect the straps and fastening devices

This is a great tip on buying a used car seat because it could be that the straps and fastening devices are far too complicated and frustrating for easy use. Attempt to strap your child in or, if they’re old enough, see if they can strap themselves in easily. Don’t waste your money on buying a used car seat that is going to cause you endless amounts of frustration each time you use it.

9. Check the height and weight allowances

Just because a used car seat may have a great price, doesn’t make it a perfect fit. One of the best car seat buying tips we can give here at Best Car Safety Seats is to ensure that your little one has room to grow. There’s no sense in throwing away $50 on a used car seat when your child will outgrow it in just a few months.

10. Make sure it was never in a crash

When buying a used car seat and inspecting it, you may not notice any visible marks, tears, dents, or imperfections, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any. If a used car seat has been involved in a crash, no matter how minor, you should avoid it at all costs. These used car seats are not safe for your little one to ride in and can have weak points in the frame from the crash forces it was exposed to previously.

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