The costs of raising a child and the abundance of second-hand equipment on the market is clearly a factor in steering some parents toward a cheaper, pre-used item for their child.
But RACV warned parents to tread carefully.
The Club sourced 164 second-hand child restraints, with 114 coming from online sellers such as eBay and the remaining 50 located at ‘bricks-and-mortar’ second-hand stores.
Of these, the online items had the greatest failure rate, with many showing excessive wear or damage, others too old and still others found to be overseas models that did not meet Australian standards (and were therefore, illegal).
Some from second-hand stores were also short of the safety mark, with the RACV finding 21 percent of all the restraints inspected should not be purchased.
RACV’s Melinda Spiteri said many of the restraints were in good condition, but potential buyers should be prepared to ask lots of questions before handing over the cash.
“Make sure that the restraint meets Australian standards, that it’s not too old and that all parts are in good condition,” Ms Spiteri said.
“Damage isn’t always obvious, so make sure you feel confident that the restraint has not been involved in a car crash.”
Parents opting instead for a brand new child restraint should also exercise caution.
While new restraints purchased from a reputable source will obviously be free from collision damage and will meet Australian standards, the level of safety offered by each model can vary greatly.
Results from the latest round of testing by the Australian Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP) were released last month, and not one of the six units evaluated achieved the maximum 5-star safety rating.
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