Used car seats put children in danger - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Used car seats put children in danger

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April 27, 2006

Albany - State laws requires young children be restrained in a car seat, but car seats aren't cheap. So many parents buy second hand car seats at yard sales, consignment shops or from other parents who don't use theirs anymore. That could be a deadly mistake.

Like many on-the-go parents, Ross Cook buckles and unbuckles his daughter Kylie countless times a week and knows all the safety precautions to take.

"You want to make sure the lock is across the chest, and it's locked tightly between their legs," said Cook.

But he didn't know he made a dangerous mistake by buying a used car seat.

"One of our friends had one that was in good condition. So we bought it from him. But in hindsight, I should have gotten a brand new one because they ended up actually being in an accident with that car seat. Nothing happened, but you look back and think what if something did."

"This is your child's life," said Michele Demott.

Michele Demott, with Safe Communities Now, says parents should never buy a used car seats. 

"You simply don't know if all the parts are available with the seat and if those parts are the correct parts." And you can't tell if there's ever been a recall on the car seat and if the problem was fixed.

Demott says seats are only good for five years because the straps, foam and plastic degrade over time.

"You certainly don't know if the seat has ever been involved in a crash. We have come across seats that on the surface appeared to be perfectly fine but with the covers removed, we've found that they've actually been involved in a crash. Were that seat to be involved in another crash though, it could be potentially lethal for the child," said DeMott.

It's a lesson Cook almost learned the hard way.

"It's definitely worth it when it comes to your child's safety," said Cook. 

His next car seat was brand new and worth every penny because it's protecting his only child.

Parents, you don't have to buy the most expense car seat. The government mandates all seats on the market meet regulated safety requirements.

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