Buying and Selling Used Child Restraints

Booster SeatMy dear wife had her tablet open the other evening and commented to me about a minor furor in a local buy and sell group on Facebook. Someone in the group was trying to sell a child safety seat and was being badgered because it was against the law to sell car seats. I wondered what law made it illegal to sell child restraints because I had not heard of one before. Do your research was her response, you’ll be able to write an article about it.

My first stop in my quest ended up being a visit to Transport Canada’s web site where it stated that if you own a car seat or booster seat made before January 1, 2012, under Health Canada’s Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, you may not be able to advertise, sell, or give it away because it may not meet the latest requirements set out by Health Canada. So far, so good.

Next I found and read the applicable section under the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act. Section 6 says that no person shall manufacture, import, advertise or sell a consumer product that does not meet the requirements set out in the regulations. The definition of “sell” includes “distribute to one or more persons, whether or not the distribution is made for consideration” which makes giving it away illegal as well.

What requirements does a car seat or booster need to meet to make it legal for sale in Canada? For that we need to visit the Motor Vehicle Restraint Systems and Booster Seats Safety Regulations made under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act. It directs us to Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards Test Method 213. This standard was issued on April 1, 1982 and the latest revision was made in May of 2012.

So, if your child restraint is manufactured on or after January 1, 2012, you could advertise and sell it legally or give it away to someone.

Should you consider a used car seat? If you are careful, it is not out of the question, but it could be risky. Restraints have have been used in a collision should be discarded and the vendor might not be truthful about the history in order to convince you to make the purchase.

Critical information about the child restraint includes the make, model and date of manufacture. This information should be attached to the seat. Use it to check for recalls and safety notices. The seller should be able to account for these.

Owner’s manuals and installation procedures for the seats should be available on line if the seller cannot furnish them. Use this information to insure that all parts are included with the seat and they are in proper working order.

The materials that the car seats are constructed from have a limited life because some parts deteriorate. This can range from 6 to 10 years depending on the model and a partial list of useful life for reference may be found on Transport Canada’s web site. If the seat’s life is 7 years and you will need it for 2 years, make sure that it is less than 5 years old.

In an ideal world, we would all buy new child restraints and not consider a used one. However, we don’t live in such a state and with a bit of care can still provide proper protection on a budget.


car seats

Hopefully this will not be too big an issue if cars seats are donated to someone who is struggling ecomically , but still driving. A used car seat is much better than no car seat.

Great advances have been made on child safety and vehicle safety. Those who have advocated for these change are to be commended.

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