Used child safety seats

Is your child car seat used and safe? Here are ways to find out.

1History of your safety seat

Do you know the history of the seat? If Yes, continue use of seat. If No, destroy the seat.


2Manufacture and model name/number

Does the seat have a label with date of manufacture and model name/number? If Yes, continue use of seat. If No, destroy the seat.


3Age of the safety seat

Is the seat less than 6 years old? Unless otherwise specified in the manufacturer’s instructions. If Yes, continue use of seat. If No, destroy the seat.


4Label with safety standards

Does the seat have a label showing that it meets all Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards? If Yes, continue use of seat. If No, destroy the seat.


5Recalled for safety defect

Has the seat been recalled for a safety defect? If Yes, continue to 5b. If No, continue to number 6.

5bCorrected defect

Has the defect been corrected? If Yes, continue to number 6. If No, do not use until defects are corrected or destroy the seat.


6Involved in vehicle crash

Has the seat been involved in any vehicle crash (even a minor one)? If Yes destroy seat. If No, continue use of seat.


7Plastic shell condition

Are there any cracks, bends or breaks in the plastic shell? If Yes, destroy seat. If No, continue use of seat.


8Condition of medal frame

Has the metal frame rusted, bent or broken? If Yes destroy seat. if No, continue use of seat.


9Manufacturer’s instructions

Do you have a copy of the manufacturerís instructions? If Yes, continue use of seat. If No, obtain new instructions and continue use or destroy seat.


10Missing parts

Does the seat have all itís parts harness straps, harness clip, seat cover, tether, padding, shield and bolts? If Yes, continue use of seat. If No, obtain replacements and continue or destroy seat.


11Harness straps

Are the harness straps worn or frayed? If Yes, obtain replacements and continue or destroy seat. If No, continue use of seat.


12Signs of rust

Does the buckle or any other metal part show signs of rust? If Yes, obtain replacements and continue or destroy. If No, continue use of seat.


13Secure lock

When buckled, does the mechanism lock securely? Does it remain locked? If Yes, use the seat. If No, obtain replacements and continue or destroy seat.


Did you know that child car seats have a shelf-life?

Your car seat has probably gotten incredibly hot, freezing cold and maybe has been in an accident. The straps have been fastened and unfastened countless times. After all the wear and tear, there comes a time when the manufacturer can no longer guarantee itís effectiveness. For this reason, car seats have an expiration date.

Your car seat can also be recycled? Car seat recycling is taking old car seats apart and using the materials to be recycled at a recycling facility.

  • Check the manufacturer label on the seat. Most seats expire after 6 years.
  • Discontinue use of your car seat if it has been in accident
  • You should not purchase a seat from a thrift store, flea market or yard sale because you will not know the history of the seat.
  • Only use a pre-owned car seat if you can guarantee that it has not been in an accident and if the card has not expired.

Other resources

Child Safety Seat Recalls
National Highway Traffic Safety Administrationís Child Seat Recall Campaign Listing