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Safety Recalls, Second Hand Seats, Seats in Crashes

When you hear about a child safety seat being recalled:

  • Find out which models and manufacture dates are involved. Knowing the date of manufacture will help you find out if your child safety seat is one being recalled.
  • Call the company's toll-free number or visit its web site for information.
  • If you are not sure if the child safety seat has been recalled, contact the manufacturer or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's toll-free Auto Safety Hotline (1-888-DASH-2-DOT) or www.nhtsa.dot.gov.
  • If the child safety seat is recalled, be sure to get it fixed right away.

WHEN YOU CALL, have this information on hand:
Manufacturer's name
Model name
Model number
Date of manufacture

This information is printed on labels attached underneath, on the side, or on the back of the child safety seat. Some of the information may be in number codes.

CAN A RECALLED SAFETY SEAT STILL BE USED?

Many problems are minor, but some are serious. All problems should be fixed as soon as possible. If you don't have another child safety seat to use, keep using the recalled one while you wait for the repair kit, if the notice says you can. Using a recalled child safety seat is almost always safer than letting a child ride in a safety belt.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH MY SAFETY SEAT?

If you think the child safety seat has a problem that could be a safety defect, call the child safety seat manufacturer and the DOT Auto Safety Hotline at 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236) to report it. Many serious problems are discovered from reports by parents.

HOW AND WHY SHOULD I LET THE MANUFACTURER KNOW I OWN A CHILD SAFETY SEAT?

New child safety seats come with registration cards. When you buy a new seat, be sure to register it. If you have an older child safety seat, call the Auto Safety Hotline or the manufacturer to find out how to register it. The manufacturers need this information to send you a letter if a child safety seat is recalled. If you move, be sure to notify the manufacturer.

CHILD SAFETY SEAT REUSE AFTER CRASH

Current research shows that child safety seats are very tough and still provide good protection even after being involved in a minor crash. A minor crash is one in which ALL of the following apply:

  • Careful inspection of the seat, including looking under movable padding, doesn't show any cracks or warping that might have been caused by the crash.
  • The vehicle in which the safety seat was installed was able to be driven away from the crash.
  • The vehicle door nearest the child safety seat was undamaged.
  • There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants, and
  • The airbags (if any) did not deploy.

It is important never to use a child safety seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe crash.

USING A SECOND-HAND CHILD SAFETY SEAT:

Use the checklist below. If ALL statements can be checked, then the second-hand child safety seat may be okay to use.

  • The seat has never been involved in a moderate to severe crash.
  • The seat has labels stating date of manufacture and model number. (This is needed to find out if there is a recall or if the seat is too old).
  • The seat has no recalls. (Contact the manufacturer - some problems can be fixed).
  • The seat is less than 6 years old. (Normal wear and tear may cause the seat to not work as well).
  • The seat has all its parts. (Some parts can be ordered from the manufacturer).
  • The seat has its instruction book. (This can be ordered from the manufacturer).

ALWAYS read and follow the child safety seat instructions and the vehicle owner's manual !!