According to new research from leading child car seat retailer Halfords, second-hand car seats are placing the health and safety of children at risk.
Well-meaning friends or relatives ‘gifting’ car seats and parents purchasing second-hand seats online, from a market or car boot sale are potentially exposing their young occupants to invisible dangers ranging from previous accident damage to harmful bacteria.
The warning is being issued by Halfords as part of national Child Safety Week (Monday, 23 – Sunday, 29 June) as it campaigns for every parent in the UK to check their child is in the right seat and that it is correctly fitted.
Eloise Hawkins, child seat product manager for Halfords said: “The ‘gifting’ of second-hand child car seats and their ready availability via internet auction sites and boot sales, means that parents are trusting the safety of their children to products without prior knowledge of their history or the benefit of professional advice on whether they are suitable for their child and vehicle.”
To highlight the hidden risks, Halfords acquired a number of used car seats and subjected them to laboratory tests which found they were a breeding ground for Enterobacteriaceae – the bacterial group containing bugs such as Salmonella.
A third of the child seats tested had bug concentrations in the thousands* making them dirtier than a toilet seat and likely to cause severe stomach upsets – with the most affected areas being the cushioned supports in close contact with children.
Eloise Hawkins added: “Our intention is to show parents and grandparents that they should take greater care when purchasing such an important safety device because, whilst seats can be sterilised to kill germs, other more serious issues cannot simply be wiped away.”
“These findings add weight to the case against used child car seats, which may not only be completely unsuitable for future occupants of a different weight or height but also potentially accident damaged.
Consumer group Which? – whose Child Seat Charter Halfords supports – offers the following advice: ‘We strongly suggest you don’t buy second-hand. Your child’s safety is paramount and a second-hand car seat may have been in a crash, even if you can’t see any signs of it, leaving it weakened and unable to protect your child properly in the event of an accident.’
To give parents peace of mind that they not only have the appropriate seat for their child and car but that it is correctly fitted to deliver maximum protection, throughout Child Safety Week Halfords is offering to check them – regardless of the seat make, model or where it was purchased – for free at any store.
Halfords has stores within a 20 minute drive for 90% of the UK population, so to find your nearest Halfords store visit www.halfords.com .