A big debate was sparked earlier this year when a petition that called to make recycling child-car seats easier was launched by a mum in Berkshire.
We sat down with RoSPA’s head of road safety, Nick Lloyd, to ask ‘Is it ever safe to re-use a child car seat?
Q: Why is it so hard to recycle or reuse child car seats?
Lately there’s been a lot of debate about making the world plastic-free, and families asking how we can make our day to day lives more environmentally sustainable. One household item families struggle to recycle or reuse is child car seats, as second hand seats aren’t advised since you can’t know the providence of the seat, or whether it’s ever been involved in a collision.
Q: Is it ever safe to use a second-hand seat?
It is safe to use a seat which you have previously used if it is R44.03 (although this seat will be old, so you need to check it carefully) or R44.04 or R129 and it has been stored correctly; in dry conditions and away from direct sunlight. If it has been kept in damp conditions this may affect the textile webbing. If it is your own seat you will know the history of the seat and will know whether it has been correctly maintained and looked after. If this is the case we would not rule out the seat being passed to a friend as this is a better option for a person on a restricted budget than getting a seat from a car boot sale.
Q: How old does a car-seat need to be before it could be considered dangerous?
Age of the car seat could be an issue – if you use a car seat for 2 children up to the age of 6 – it could be up to 12 years old which means the mechanisms could degrade, dirt could get in them, and they wouldn’t work as well. They have a specific life span, look to the manufacturers guidance for specific models for more details on this.
Q: What should I do if I was involved in a collision and my car-seat was in the vehicle at the time:
In the event of a collision we would not recommend that the seat be used again unless it is a very minor low speed/impact collision. It is impossible to 100% guarantee that the seat has not been damaged which would affect its performance in a subsequent collision. Most insurance companies will replace the seat. We have a letter on our website www.childcarseats.org.uk
which can be printed off and sent to your insurer.
Q: Anything else we should know?
R129 seats are the latest test standard and will replace R44 seats in due course. These seats are tested for side impact protection. It is important to stress that just because you have an older seat does not mean that it is unsafe. An older seat will work perfectly well if it is compatible with the child (if using a 5 point harness this should be 2 finger tight), compatible with the vehicle and is in good working order. All R129 and newer seats will tend to have isofix points which make fitting simpler which is an important consideration when choosing a seat, especially if it is left in the single vehicle.
More RoSPA advice can be found here:
Posted: 2/13/2020 4:37:22 PM