So your carseat has been stored for a couple of years between children, or is approaching its manufacturing expiry date… now is a great time to check it over and ensure it is still fit for use.
The key aspects to check are as follows:
The Webbing: is it frayed? Worn through? Are there any obvious signs of wear or mould?
The Structural plastic: Are there signs or crazing, any cracks, any of those white marks that show up when a plastic is bent/stressed
Polystyrene components (if any): establish that they do not have any cracks… sometimes the fabric cover is holding this together, a real danger sign!
The latching system: Does it still work, are any parts of it worn/bent
The cover: Is there mould or any damage from pests? Most can be washed for a nice refresh -just be sure to follow the instructions in the manual. The cover does form an integral part of the structure of the seat, so it's important that you still use the cover- don't replace with a blanket or remove them all together.
Everything is still there: nothing is missing, the webbing is threaded correctly, the tether system is there (if it has one), the locking clip can be located (if the seat uses the seat belt)?
Have a good look at the manual (there is a good cache of these online) and go through each section ensuring your seat is as good as new and being used as per the manufacturers recommendations.
There are good resources out there to help you with any queries you might have!
Remember car seats are for the safety of our children, it is ALWAYS better to be safe than sorry. What's a few hundred dollars if it helps save a life?
Important- If car seats were installed in a car that was involved in crash, you need to replace them, even if they pass the steps above. There may be micro cracks in the plastic or metal parts of the seat that are not visible to the eye. Your insurance should cover replacement of the seats.
We don't recommend buying or selling second hand car seats, even if they pass the test above.