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Second hand car seat - safe?

(16 Posts)
Boos75 Tue 31-May-11 08:47:12


Would love to have your advice.

Am 29 wks pregnant with DC1 and my friend has given us her maxi cosi car seat and isofix base - used by her now 2.5 and 1 year old children. It's not been in an accident but just wanted to get your thoughts on whether it's still ok to use. Am sure am being paranoid as I know you shouldn't use a second hand mattress (we are getting a new one for the cot we've been given by another kind friend) but I imagine that's because babies sleep in cots for much longer and could roll over and breathe any germs etc..within the mattress in. The car seat has some stains but she's wiped them clean and I looked on the maxi cosi website and saw you can handwash the cover.

What do you think? Really don't want to have to shell out a hundred odd quid for a new car seat but you know how the guilt creeps up if you think there could be the slightest risk!

Rootatoot Tue 31-May-11 08:50:58

Yes, it will be fine. They just say don't get a second hand one when you don't know the history because it may have been in a crash. We've been given 2 seats, and know they're both fine as they belonged to family. I wouldn't worry about a bit of cosmetic wiping - it's not like a mattress, no. You could always get a NEW newborn insert, if you wanted to spruce it up?

jasmine51 Tue 31-May-11 08:53:44

If its cleanliness you are worried about then I dont think its really the same issue as mattresses. The maxicosi covers do come off for cleaning.
The main issue with second hand car seats is whether they have been in an accident or otherwise damaged. Since the seat is coming from a friend and you can trust her then I dont see a problem.
One thing I would be a little concerned about (I'm prepared to be shouted down by other MNers here) is that the seat has been used by a 2.5 and 1 year old...what model is it then? Are you sure its a model suitable for newborns? I am not aware of a Maxi Cosi that covers birth to 2.5 yr olds?

worldgonecrazy Tue 31-May-11 08:58:35

It may be okay but you might want to check on the manufacturer's website about how long the seats last. The plastic does deteriorate over a time due to exposure to sunlight. I think that it is recommended by most manufacturers that seats are not used once they are 3-4 years old? Googling is probably your friend here.

icravecheese Tue 31-May-11 09:02:05

We have given (make that leant, we now need it back as expecting no.3 that we didnt think we'd have!!) our close friends a newborn car seat & the next one up from that for their son - they happily accepted as they know we've never had a car crash with either seat. It'll be perfectly fine to accept your friends seat, just give it a good wash and its (almost!) as good as new!

We have a cot that we used for our 2 babies, that was passed onto us from my brother in law, he used it for his 2 children, and was given it by a friend after their baby used, so far its been used for 5 babies, and we'll use it for our 3rd too! We always give it a good wash down between uses & buy 2 new mattresses for it.

We also have a baby bjorn that was handed down to us from a friend (used it for her 2 babies, we've used it for our 2 so far, & will use for no.3 too).

Personally, I love hand-me-downs for baby stuff, I think its wonderful that lots of people have made good use out of things. And it saves you so much money too (or allows to you spend the ££ on other lovely stuff like new gorgeous baby clothes!!)

Bogeyface Tue 31-May-11 09:11:59

Jasmine, I read it to mean that her now 2.5 year old had used it when a baby, and the now 1 year old has also used it.

nannyl Tue 31-May-11 09:21:50

if you know its not been in an accident. (and it seems you DO know that!) then yes it will be fine.
Im sure if she had DC 3 she would use it again too smile

I wouldnt advise a 2nd hand car seat from ebay or a stranger (as if it had been in an accident, it may not offer the same protection again) but as you know her, you know yourself its fine smile

jasmine51 Tue 31-May-11 09:24:07

Bogey ah, that makes sense!
In that case, no probs except for worlds point about the deteriorating plastic issue. Just check how old the seat actually is.
FWIW I have a second hand maxicosi that is 2.5years old. There is no sign of fading or brittleness of the plastic and therefore I am perfectly happy to use it

Tangle Tue 31-May-11 09:34:09

As you know the history of the seat it should be fine. Probably worth taking the seat to a good independent shop (the staff tend to have much better training and be much more passionate about what they do than the big chain equivalents) and ask them to give it a once over for you just to be sure - the one near us would do that happily.

In addition to the points raised, something to be aware of with a 2nd hand seat fitted with a seat belt (so not necessary applicable here) is that the seat was never fitted correctly and has been subjected to "buckle crunch". Buckle crunch is where the hard bits of the seat belt press against the structure of the seat - its not a stress the seats are designed to take and has been known to cause structural weakness, which could cause the seat to function incorrectly in the event of a crash.

That said, we were offered a hand-me-down infant seat from friends and declined it. For all we trusted them, this was our PFB and we wanted to be as sure as we could be that the seat we had them in hadn't been dropped or damaged in any way. If we had had the misfortune to be in a crash and for some reason the seat didn't perform as expected such that DD1 was injured or worse, it would have made us wonder if it had received some impact that they maybe hadn't even noticed - however unreasonable that thought might have been I'm not sure we'd have been able to get past it and I'm not sure the friendship could have survived. We had a nice easy get-out as we wanted ISOfix and theirs wasn't...

mouseanon Tue 31-May-11 09:47:19

I've just cleaned up our maxi cosi cabrio for our baby due soon. It was Ds's and he's 4 now. I removed all the covers and put them through the washing machine. They've come up lovely.

Re car seat expiry. My dd has a maxi cosi seat designed to last from age 4-11 so they must last at least 7 years. I think saying they only last x years is a way to get people to buy more seats, although I've only ever heard it mentioned on forums, never IRL and never read it in a hand book or come across a date on a seat!

COCKadoodledooo Tue 31-May-11 09:53:26

mouseanaon it certainly is in the handbook for car seats (well, I have read it in 3 Maxi Cosi manuals) - it's to do with degradation of plastics and that they cannot guarantee safety past a certain date. Think it says 5 years.

OP second hand seats that you know the history of (inside that time frame, as yours is) will be fine. As mentioned you can get new covers if you'd prefer.

sazm Tue 31-May-11 10:10:07

yep its in my maxi-cosi manual and also my britax one too,and tbh i would rather replace the seat after 5/6yrs than risk my childs safety,
regarding the op - i would def use the seat,very generous friends you have there,the cover comes off and you can put it in a gentle machine wash and it will be fine,its a bit of a pain to get back on so have a good look when you take it off!!

nannyl Tue 31-May-11 10:14:23

seat are supposed to only be used for 6 years

I never really believed it until my seat, that I used nannying with different families was only JUST over 6 years old... it was a forward facing britax renaissance (9 - 18kg) i tightened the strap (as i did every time i took a child on an out) and this bit of plastic snapped, and the seat was then not locked into sitting or recling position, but freely swinging between the 2 shock

I do wonder what would have happened if i had been in an accident just before... clearly the plastic HAD deteriorated, and it was not obviouse or apparent at all. Luckly we were on the way home from a school run and my 3 year old charge fitted in the 5 year olds seat for that 1 journey.

The seat still looked immaculate.... (in fact i sold just the covers for over £20 on ebay!) but in those 6 years of (almost daily) use, the plastic weekened and the seat failed.

I am mush more warey of older seats now! (and i guess any plastic thats exposed to FREEZING cold conditions (in a car on a winter night) AND really hot conditions (like a green-house when a car is parked in the sun on a summers day) will deteriorate. You just cant see it until it snaps!

Boos75 Tue 31-May-11 10:53:19

Ooo, thank you ladies for your replies.

jasmine51 - yes, sorry should have been clearer - the car seat is for newborns only (a first stage one I guess they call it?) so was used by both my friends DDs when they were newborn up to almost a year. So I guess the seat is coming up to three years old in October.

Great to hear that the covers can be machine washed too.

It does make such a difference being loaned/given baby equipment. One of the advantages of being an older mum as most of my friends are done with having any more children!

al355 Mon 13-May-13 09:20:18

Almost all car seats on the market have a lifetime of 5 years or more as stated by the manufacturer. Also there have not been any safety standards changes for over 6 years in the UK. Therefore if you know that a seat has not been in an accident (and we're not talking a scrape in a supermarket car park here), there's no reason why a second hand seat is not safe. Same goes for the iso fix bases which are often made of metal.
A lot of retailers will try and tell you otherwise for obvious reasons.

BabyHMummy Mon 13-May-13 09:29:07

I have a second hand one. As long as you know its not been in an accident it is perfectly safe xxx

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