You read the manual and installed your baby’s car seat, but how do you know it’s safe? According to the CDC, child restraint systems are often used incorrectly. One study showed 72% of 3,500 observed car and booster seats were misused in a way that could increase risk of injury. Fortunately, there are a few places that can help inspect your car seat for free.
Check with your local fire and police departments to see if they offer the service. You may even call a local car dealership to see if it can administer car seat checks. Find a certified technician near you through Parents Central.
If you are looking to purchase a car seat on the cheap, it’s never a good idea to use a hand-me-down option. Safety guidelines are always changing and you can never be sure if the seat has been in a car crash. A car seat is just one of those items you should always buy new for optimal safety.
Some companies offer discounts when you bring in an old car seat (like the seasonal Great Trade-In Event at Babies R Us). You can also subscribe to buybuy Baby’s email service to receive a 20% discount on one single item (excludes some items). Another option is to put the car seat on your baby registry and hope your friends chip in to invest in your baby’s safety.