Buying a new or second-hand convertible car seat - which is best?

Buying a convertible car seat for your child is a big decision. You walk into a baby store and you are overwhelmed with all the choices… and then you see parents listing their old car seats on Facebook marketplace at significantly lower prices than you can find for a new seat… but which should you choose?

As with anything, there are pros and cons to both. While we can’t make the decision for you, hopefully, our tips will help make that decision that much easier for you to make for your family. 

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of buying a second-hand vs new convertible car seat.

Buying new advantages

When you buy a new convertible car seat, you know exactly what you are getting. You know that the car seat is brand new straight out of the box to the manufacturer’s specifications. A new car seat will come with the manual and everything you need to safely install and use it in your car. 

A new car seat also comes with a warranty. In the case that anything should go wrong with your car seat, you will have a manufacturer’s warranty to protect you. 

Finally, as technology and safety features improve - which they are always doing when it comes to car seats - you will have a greater range of choices available to you. This is generally the case when buying a new car seat in any case. With a new car seat purchase, you aren’t limited to what other people are selling… you have a much larger range of choices with the most modern and up to date features. 

Buying new disadvantages

There is one main disadvantage that comes to mind when buying a new convertible car seat… and that is the cost. A new car seat will, in most cases, cost you more than a used one. And that is the same with any new vs second-hand purchase. When you are buying new, you are paying for a product in original condition… and all of the benefits that come along with that.

However, if you are smart in your research, you can still get a quality convertible car seat for less than $200. In the Mother’s Choice convertible car sear range, the Serenity Convertible Car Seat, Nest II Convertible Car Seat and the Nurture Convertible Car Seat are all under $200. In fact, the entire convertible car seat range from Mother’s Choice is under $500. 

Buying second-hand advantages

If you are considering purchasing a second-hand convertible car seat, the clear advantage is cost. Obviously this can fluctuate quite dramatically as the price is set by the seller, but generally, in buying a second-hand car seat you are going to save quite a lot from the price of a new car seat. There are also sustainability benefits to buying a second-hand car seat and limiting landfill from unwanted goods.

Buying second-hand disadvantages

However, the disadvantages of buying second-hand car seats are quite serious.

 The first disadvantage is safety… the concern that is top of mind for any parent when they are buying a convertible car seat. There are a few reasons that safety can be compromised when buying a second-hand car seat:

  • If a car seat has been in an accident, it should be replaced. When you buy a second-hand car seat, you don’t know the history of the seat and may buy one that is not fit for use… even if it looks perfectly ok on inspection.
  • In Australia, the recommendation is that car seats are discarded 10 years from the original date of purchase. This is because the plastics and foam that are used in the car seats can degrade over time due to exposure to heat and UV rays from sustained use in a car. If you are buying second-hand, you should ask for the original proof of purchase date.
  • You should also ask to see the label on the car seat that includes the details on its compliance with AS/NZS 1754 - the Australian/New Zealand standard for car seats. You should also ensure that when you buy the car seat, you are getting the original manual (or replacement manual for the exact model) as well as any accessories such as infant inserts.

Finally, when you are buying a second-hand car seat you also don’t know how well it has been looked after. It may have been very well cared for and only used as a spare car seat for a grandparents car, stored in the box when not in use. Alternatively, it may have been left outside in the elements for long periods of time. 

Second-hand vs new convertible car seat

At the end of the day, the decision to buy new or second-hand is yours to make… but when you take all the factors into consideration, it is generally a much safer choice to buy a new convertible car seat. And that comes down to one key reason - you know exactly what you are getting.

When you buy a new car seat you can have confidence in knowing that what comes out of the box is a car seat that has been through a quality control process and is designed to keep your little one safe. You can be confident that you are covered by a manufacturers warranty in the event that anything should happen with your car seat. 

Buying new means you aren’t worried about the past history of the car seat or how it has been cared for. You know that you are getting a car seat that meets the current standard and can be safely used by your family as you explore together on your many adventures.

If it is peace of mind you are after - and that’s what most parents want - a new car seat is the obvious choice. At Mother’s Choice, we pride ourselves on giving Australian parents quality convertible car seat choices at an affordable price to make your car seat purchasing decision an easier one.