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Car Seats

Ext. 221

Secondary Car Seats: A Cautionary Tale

Car seats for infants and toddlers are meant to keep them safe and secure.  While a parent wants a quality car seat, sometimes the cost can be an issue.  Buying a used car seat at a garage sale or getting a hand-me-down seat may seem like a thrifty idea to help curb the cost; however this is one area to avoid jumping at that apparent great deal.  Although the price of used or free may seem like a bargain, it could cost dearly.

Why is it a big deal?


  • Used car seats most often do not come with the manufacturer's instructions (vital for correct installation).

  • The car seat could be missing important parts, have been involved in an accident, could fall short of current safety standards, or have been recalled due to faulty design. 

  • Plastic that the car seat is made from can become brittle as it ages.  Basically, a seat that's too old could break in a crash due to questionable structural integrity.

  • You would never want a car seat that has been involved in an accident.  Think of it like a bicycle helmet.  These safety items are a one-and-done item. After a crash, no matter how minor, you simply can’t know the weakness that may be present but not visible. In addition, it’s recommended to replace your car seat if it is more than six years old even if it has never been involved in a crash.  You can usually find an expiration date stamp or sticker somewhere on the seat.  The best option is to purchase a brand new car seat and complete the warranty/recall notification paperwork that comes with it.  If you can't afford a new seat, contact us to find out if you're eligible for a free seat through our Car Seat Program.

If you can’t afford a new car seat, please contact us at 315-376-8202.  Our Child Passenger Safety program provides car seats for infants and toddlers of income eligible custodial parents or legal guardians at no charge.  Call us to set up an appointment to meet with a Certified Traffic Safety Seat Technician to demonstrate proper installation, fit for child, and usage of car seats.

The Child Passenger Safety program is funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration with a grant from the NYS Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

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