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Consumer Reports cautions against buying used car seats

Car seats might have damage you can't see

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Kids grow fast, so many of us buy used baby gear and kid clothing at garage sales, consignment stores, even on Facebook. But safety experts at Consumer Reports say there’s one thing you should think twice about buying used –– child car seats. 

CR cautions against buying one secondhand if you don’t know the seat’s full history. Even if a car seat looks fine, it may have damage you can’t see. CR has tested hundreds of car seats, and after those crash tests there is sometimes damage that’s not evident.  

Even a seat used by an older sibling that was never in an accident might not be okay. Car seats actually have an expiration date, roughly six to ten years from the date it was manufactured. It’s printed on every model, sometimes on the side, sometimes on the bottom. Somewhere you’ll find, at the very least, the date of manufacture. Car seats have an expiration date to help consumers avoid ones with components that may have degraded over time. It also helps consumers determine whether a seat  meets the latest in safety standards. 

And safety doesn’t have to cost a bundle. The Cosco Scenera Next is a Consumer Reports Best Buy for around $45.