My SIL has offered to give us her infant carseat - since it's family, I trust that it's not expired and has never been in a crash, checked at the airport, etc. But she needs to ship it to us, and I was wondering how to ensure the shipping process is safe... which got me wondering how the manufacturers ship them safely to the purchaser or to Target or wherever.
I called a local baby supply store and they said that their carseats arrive at the store in a cardboard box with no styrofoam packaging... which seems strange. Is that how your carseat was packed (and what brand was it)?
Still trying to decide what I need to do about packaging to ship it safely...
Cardboard box via legitimate delivery system (i.e., if you're in the states, USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc) is actually a perfectly good way to transport items. Unlike with baggage on commercial airlines, care is actually taken to avoid breaking stuff, and the corrugated energy-absorbing design of a cardboard box actually does a fabulous job of diverting energy away from the seat. Since boxes are generally designed with a specific product in mind, if you're using a generic packing box, she should pack the dead space with loose towels though.
Even though she's family and you trust her, you should specifically ask 1. if it's been in a crash 2. if the harness has ever been laundered 3. what the date of manufacture is and 4. if it's ever been checked on an airplane. Good people who would never deliberately hurt your baby get these things wrong a lot.
Mine have all come in plain old cardboard boxes, no padding.