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How old is too old?

(33 Posts)
saoirse86 Sat 28-May-11 11:19:23

I have been given a second hand car seat from a friend. It's about 5 years old. Is that too old? Or could I use it for 6 months or a year maybe?

Tommy Sat 28-May-11 11:20:50

as long as it hasn't been damaged in an accident it should be fine. My DS3 is in the car seat that his brother had 5+ years ago

saoirse86 Sat 28-May-11 11:22:15

It hasn't been in an accident and it's been well looked after.

TruthSweet Sat 28-May-11 16:00:04

It might be safe or it might not.

Depending on:-

the actual date of manufacture (may be a year or more than the date your friends bought it) the DOM will be stamped on the seat into the plastic - it might be a series of 'clocks' or a grid with 'pips' the last one will indicate the month/year made. If it's made in 2005 or earlier I'd be tipping it, personally.

on the condition of the straps (frayed/have they been washed/submersed in water),

the condition of the shell (take off the cover and look for any whitening of the plastic/cracks/EPS foam broken/missing),

how it was stored - if it was stored in a loft or garage or used in the car for the last 5 years I'd decline due to the extremes of temperature the plastic would have undergone potentionally weakening it,

whether or not you have the manual,

does it fit in your car/does it fit your child (e.g. not a booster for a 9m/head over seat shell/etc),

is it ECE R44/03 or ECE R44/04 or an earlier standard (03 was introduced in 1997),

and how long you plan to use it for.

If you want to use it for more than 1 year I'd start saving for a new one as most car seats have a 5-6 year shelf life. Car seats are, by law, stamped with a Do Not Use After date in the US and it can get you a ticket/fine if you are caught using one after this date as plastic degrades, fabric straps weaken and become frayed, safety standards move on and parts/manuals get lost/broken over time.

Sorry there's not an easy answer.

TruthSweet Sat 28-May-11 16:01:02

Oh and the important one that Tommy mentioned -has the seat been in an accident (whether occupied at time of accident or not).

saoirse86 Sat 28-May-11 18:08:18

Thanks TruthSweet that information is all really helpful. All I do know is that it was for the mum's car but she was at work while the dad was/and still is a SAHD so his was used more.

Never been in an accident of any sort.

Was kept in a kind of utility room.

I'm not sure on all the other things so I'm going to have a good look at it and ask them a few questions about it.

I was hoping to be able to use it for maybe a year a then by a brand spanking new one that will hopefully be good for DD and then maybe for any future DC's.

Thanks!

bidibidi Sat 28-May-11 18:23:37

There's no sense to how the use-by dates are created, though. There's quite an interesting-read discussion about supposedly expired carseats that saved some children's lives (everybody else died). If it was stored out of UV light in cool but not cold conditions and little used, I'd feel fine about using it for another year or so.

TruthSweet Sat 28-May-11 19:36:40

Not to get into an argument but the children in that car crash might have survived despite being in expired/older type seats not because they were in expired/older seats.

Plus, nowhere on the car-seat.org thread or in the original news story identified that the seats pictured were the ones the surviving children were rescued from. It's just supposition that the seats were the ones the children were rescued from and that they were expired. Some US manufacturers are still producing older style/looking car seats as their bottom of the range lines so they might not be as old as they first appear.

YorkieGate Sun 29-May-11 09:39:57

Bidi Thats the problem with the age of car seats though, we don't have in the UK any official guidance on how old is too old. It means that each parent has to decide for themselves whether they are happy to use a car seat or not, which can be a hard decision to make.

Lets say a Maxi Cosi Cabriofix had a 6 year expiry period, it doesn't mean that at 6 years old every Cabriofix will be unsafe, but that statistically at that age it is considered safer to buy a new one than risk using the old one. There will of course be some that are perfectly safe to use and will protect a child in a crash even after its expiry date.

The problem is how is a parent meant to know? I wish we had some official, informed guidance from manufacturers and government. Then it would take the guess work away.

YorkieGate Sun 29-May-11 09:45:38

It would also stop the sale of old second hand seats like this one currently on ebay cgi.ebay.co.uk/Mothercare-car-baby-seat-/300559895658?pt=UK_Baby_CarSeats_EH&hash=item45fac40c6a#ht_500wt_949

I don't even want to guess how old it is.

I hate the thought that a new mum might buy that, thinking that is adequate safety for her baby and not realising how dangerous it could be.

YorkieGate Sun 29-May-11 09:55:13

Or this one cgi.ebay.co.uk/Baby-car-seat-/250824201311?pt=UK_Baby_CarSeats_EH&hash=item3a6649945f#ht_500wt_949

Or this one cgi.ebay.co.uk/maxi-cosi-baby-car-seat-cover-and-rain-cover-used-/110691177475?pt=UK_Baby_CarSeats_EH&hash=item19c5b55403#ht_500wt_949

YorkieGate Sun 29-May-11 09:58:01

Apologies, rant over now grin

Its just that I've had an argument with a friend recently about putting her newborn in a carseat that her mother has given her. It was last used by her 13 yr old brother had when he was a baby. She thinks its fine. I think ITS 13+ YEARS OLD!!!!

and breathe.....

thefirstMrsDeVere Sun 29-May-11 10:04:13

Are those car seats unsafe due to age or design?

Because they are the only ones that would fit in my car.

New cars seats dont go in old cars because of the lack of seat belt. I couldnt use my car until DC5 was old enough to go in the next stage. It was more than a little inconveinent hmm

So if one of those car seats had only been used for a few months, not been in an accident and stored safely - would they be dangerous?

Do they still meet the required standards?

YorkieGate Sun 29-May-11 10:05:41

OK, I promise this is the last one. This one leaves me speechless cgi.ebay.co.uk/Mothercare-Baby-Car-Seat-0-4-years-/180670197597?pt=UK_Baby_CarSeats_EH&hash=item2a10c86f5d#ht_500wt_949

OP apologies for the hi-jack.

YorkieGate Sun 29-May-11 10:08:42

MrsD - My understanding is that there are no research on how car seats work once they get over approx 10 years old, so its impossible to tell if they are still usable.

I think if a seat is say 6-8years old it is questionable, depending on who you listen to.

YorkieGate Sun 29-May-11 10:10:07

What kind of car do you have MrsD? I love old cars, but I bet they are a total pain in the ass car seat wise!

YorkieGate Sun 29-May-11 10:22:59

MrsD just found this, not sure if its of any use to you:

All child restraints must meet the UN ECE regulation 44.03 or later (e.g. 44.04) type approval standard. Products that meet this standard will be marked with a label showing an 'E' and '44.03' or '.03' (or later) and the group number or weight range of child for which it is designed.

The standard, ECE R44.04, was introduced at the end of June 2005, and all new child car seats had to meet this standard from the end of June 2006

It is illegal to sell child restraints that do not meet this standard and, from March 2008, it became illegal to use child car seats that do not meet this standard.

WillyBumBalls Sun 29-May-11 10:26:31

I never really know where I stand on this TBH.

I don't believe in the 5 year expiry date because there are so many seats out there to cover various stages I.E 9 months-11 years which is more than double the reccomended time limit so I am assuming that they have figured out something to stop them breaking down.

BUT I am also sceptical of car seats that have been left totally unused for years because at some point they are bound to have been dropped/exposed to extreme temps/knocked about or left damp etc etc so for that reason I would'nt personally use it. I have a seat stored at my grans house that was bought in 2005 and used for my twin sisters then my son but I would rather replace it now because it has been left so long in an old spare room but it is your choice.

Should also add that it makes me angry that Ebay allow people to sell old car seats with no restrictions because I have seen some screw ups that could be very dangerous, I.E a support cushion from a group 0/1 car seat that was then advertised as a cushion to make any groups 1 seat suitable from birth shock. I emailed the seller about that and she said she genuinely thought that was what it was and took it down but the thought of someone trying to save money and thinking it was safe terrifies me!

thefirstMrsDeVere Sun 29-May-11 10:32:17

I havent got 'that' kind of old car yorkie grin

Its a really old Clio. Its a bloody great car but I pushed my luck with DC5. I managed to get the last type that would fit with DC4 but got rid of it when he grew out of it. I did this because I wasnt going to have anymore kids and I hate car seats hmm

There was nothing at all that would fit for DC5. There are seat belt extenders but not for the clio. We are lucky because we have two cars but the other one is OH's motobility car so not really for me to gad about in.

With the old seats you put the carry handle down but the new type you leave it up. This means you need loads more seat belt to go round. I wasnt sure if this was a new design thing or if it was for genuine safety reasons iyswim.

Eglu Sun 29-May-11 10:33:44

I found out from a policeman at an emergnecy services day last week that car seats older than 2000 are now illegal. The guidelines may say something about 5-6 yr expiry date. But that one is fact, and some of those Ebay links are seriously worrying.

Eglu Sun 29-May-11 10:35:11

Yorkiegate that last one especially would be illegal. The policeman was using asimilar one to demonstrate old unsafe car seat.

WillyBumBalls Sun 29-May-11 10:39:08

Saoirse how old is your DD? If you are on a budget the best thing to do is find the seats which would best fit your car and pick one to suit your budget.

If you use taxi's more then I would suggest something like the Britax First Class because it seems to be quite adaptable and is a good standard seat. As someone who used taxi's and friend's/famillies cars I never had a problem with it and always felt safe using it but thankfully I never had the chance to find out if it was safe or not.

TruthSweet Sun 29-May-11 20:05:41

MrsDevere - The Nania (or Team Tex) baby bucket DD1 had as a spare similar to this one had to have the handle down to be installed and it had an alternate routing for short seat belts. Not much help now but you never know if you might need one in the future.....wink

saoirse86 Sun 29-May-11 20:50:00

WBB She's only 8 months so won't be using it yet anyway. She's just 9.5kg and nearly too tall for her stage 0 seat. She's got a couple of inches above her head in this one. I had to buy a new stage 0 car seat as she outgrew her old one a few weeks ago. Her head had actually reached the top (at the time I didn't know she needed an inch above her head).

Anyway, I have a fiat multipla so plenty of space and it's not that I'm on a budget as such, it's more that I'd like to use it in DP's car (which she rarely goes in) or maybe my mum's car for a few months. In my car I plan to get an ERF seat but their cars won't fit one as they're much smaller back seats.

YG At a postnatal group I was going to a few months ago, there was a woman who had a metal framed seat that had slinged fabric iyswim rather than padded fabric. It looked about 20-25 years old!! I had assumed it was like a travel chair type thing for when she was out and about. One day I said how that seemed useful to have a travel seat and she said it's actually my car seat. I was shocked! shock AT the time I knew nothing really about car seat safety but I could tell that was useless. I can't understand why you wouldn't spend £30 on a basic but new and much safer baby car seat. confused

thefirstMrsDeVere Sun 29-May-11 20:55:17

thruth that is lovely envy. No chance of needing another one now unless OH's 'op' failed <fingers crossed>

grin

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