At some moment in time you are going to need to buy new child car seats as children usually grow, some faster than others!
Where at all possible, it is best to buy new but this is not always feasible. So what should you look for?
The first thing you should know is that it is best to buy from someone you know, simply because you are more likely to know the history of the seat you are considering. As a rule of thumb, if the seat is older than 5 years, leave it. More specifically though, if you suspect that the car seat has ever been involved in a collision be aware that the structure of the seat is likely to be compromised and therefore unsafe for use.
Another thing you should check is that the belts, harnesses and all the connections are all safe. Do the straps show any sign of fraying? Are there any cracks in the seat or signs of tearing? Give it a good ‘wobble’ does it seem stable? Is it clean? A clean seat means the covers are removable for cleaning and that the seat has been looked after.
Are you sure it will fit in your car? If you want a child car seat with an ISOFIX fitting (basically, this is a universally standard for a push and click car seat), then make sure it is! With around 90% of seats being badly fitted, ISOFIX fitting seats take away the likelihood of the seat being incorrectly fitted. If the seat doesn’t fit securely in your car, don’t buy it.
Ensure the seat is appropriate for your child’s weight and height and check that it meets the standard regulations for the country you live. Lastly, get yourself a copy of the manual from the seat manufacturer if it isn’t available.
If might want to by a baby car seat stroller combo also, check here.