Expired car seats on Freecycle - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 80 Old 08-13-2008, 10:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am so frustrated! I have seen this happen three times now on my local freecycle. Every time I have emailed the poster and the moderator and let them know this is ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY NOT SAFE, and have never heard back from anyone. I get the feeling that they think I am some raving lunatic.

Any idea on how to get this to stop? I have seriously thought of just asking for the seats, but I am not always on the computer right when the ad pops up, so someone else might be ahead of me.

There should be some sort of legal stuff I could throw their way.

Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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#2 of 80 Old 08-13-2008, 10:07 PM
 
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It may not be true, but I often tell people who try to sell or give away expired seats that they are unsafe and why. And then I tell them that they MAY be held liable if a child is injured.
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#3 of 80 Old 08-13-2008, 10:48 PM
 
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My local Freecycle ignored me for over a year.... Until I finally explained that I'm a CPST who has appeared in our local newspaper + on our local radio station & I find it appalling that they have little to no regard for the life or death safety of the children in our community -- they did end up adding the Used Seat Checklist to their links section, but also told me that they will continue to allow expired/etc. carseats because people may want them for "creative purposes"

http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/usedseat.aspx
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#4 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 09:15 AM
 
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I post a public reply if the seat is obviously expired about the dangers/links/etc... if I'm not positive I try to grab up the seat myself.

I've found seats at our Goodwill with a DOM of 92-94 before. It was an infant seat lined in blue vinyl, ugh! If I'd had a sharpie I would have written "EXPIRED-DANGEROUS-DEATH TRAP" on it in sharpie

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#5 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 09:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The one last night had the following description:
"I have an OLD forward-facing carseat with 5-point harness. It has been
in my family since it was purchased new 15 years ago, so I know it has
never been in an accident and has not been recalled. I found it useful
as an extra for playdates, short trips in the spare car, etc. May not
be quite as comfy as the newer models, but it's perfectly adequate as a
spare. Maker is Evenflo."

My jaw almost hit the floor when I read it.

ETA: Now that I think about it, I may do a "reply all" anyway. I don't really care if I get reprimanded for sending out a mass post if it saves one or two people from posting expired seats. I think I will wait until this afternoon, as the seat was advertised late last night and I replied almost immediately and also reported the post at the same time. I would rather the "warning" come from the mod if possible.

Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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#6 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 10:17 AM
 
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If only my local Freecycle allowed replies on the public list . . . but, nope, all are automatically deleted regardless
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunnymw View Post
If I'd had a sharpie I would have written "EXPIRED-DANGEROUS-DEATH TRAP" on it in sharpie
I was wishing I had a Sharpie on me the other day: my favorite local consignment shop just recently "branched out" & started selling used, expired carseats -- the worst issue being that the owner rolled her eyes at me when I gave her my business card & explained (very briefly) that the seats are unsafe according to our state's traffic safety website.

Luckilly my 6 year old was with me as usual. She piped in loud enough for all the customers to look at us: "Why doesn't this place care if the babies could die? THAT's WRONG!"

::nana:
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#7 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, so I just got this response:

"This topic has been addressed to the group on numerous occasions, so I did not send out another post about it in June when you requested it as I felt that it had been addressed recently enough. The last time it was addressed I did a search of the archived carseat posts. 99% of them included information about the age of the seat and whether or not it has been in an accident. I think that people are aware of the expiration date and accident information and that is why they include it in their posts.

If you would like to send a blurb to me to post to the group as a reminder on this topic then I will post it for you. Please keep it non-judgemental and offer suggestions for other options.

By the way, the statement about insurance not paying for a child's injuries is not correct. I am an insurance agent."


I thought that insurance companies wouldn't cover a child's injuries if he/she was in an improperly used seat (which using an expired seat would be improper use, right?).

Anyway, I am so frustrated with this freecycle group. Anyone want to help me write a good blurb that will get the point across without sounding too "judgemental"?

Formerly single Mama to the zaniest boy on the block, born on my birthday on 3/28/07. Soon to be Mama to a new little and can't wait to bfinfant.gif and femalesling.GIF and familybed1.gif again! 
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#8 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 12:14 PM
 
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Insurance companies vary. My cousin is also an insurance agent.

As for a "nonjudgmental blurb" -- well, that's why I just requested they simply post the USED SEAT CHECKLIST in their links section & send it in their standard monthly/weekly announcements (all of which I doubt anyone truly pays attention to)
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#9 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 12:23 PM
 
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I email and also get no response. Once it was a crunchy homeschool mom from a large group I was part of. Not my friend but I kind of new of her. She didn't respond either.

:Mama to 2 :
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#10 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 12:36 PM
 
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I'm gonna be the voice of the minority here, but the moms who post the used carseasts are probably thinking,"better a used carseat than no carseat at all" and may not know that there are places you can get free carseats.


ARE there places to get used carseats? I don't know, we bought our first one, the health insurance company sent us the second one and we bought the third.????

I've gone 'round with someone here (don't remember who) about the fact that THEY would prefer NO CARSEAT AT ALL to a used/expired carseat.


Whatever. To each her own, but not for my family.
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#11 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 12:58 PM
 
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Is it really safer for a kid to be without a carseat then in an expired one?

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
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#12 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 01:27 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BelovedBird View Post
Is it really safer for a kid to be without a carseat then in an expired one?
It is no safer to be in an expired seat than in no seat at all. The plastic breaks down over time, as does all plastic, and becomes brittle. In a crash, the force could, and has, caused the harness to break through the plastic, strangling the child, or ejecting them completely.

There are many options for parents who cannot afford a new seat. An expired seat is not their only option.

As for freecycle... all we can do is give parents the information and the rest is up to them. It is very unfortunate when parents choose to put their childrens life at risk, but there isn't a whole lot we can do about it.
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#13 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 01:30 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tapmilkmom View Post
I'm gonna be the voice of the minority here, but the moms who post the used carseasts are probably thinking,"better a used carseat than no carseat at all" and may not know that there are places you can get free carseats.


ARE there places to get used carseats? I don't know, we bought our first one, the health insurance company sent us the second one and we bought the third.????

I've gone 'round with someone here (don't remember who) about the fact that THEY would prefer NO CARSEAT AT ALL to a used/expired carseat.


Whatever. To each her own, but not for my family.
In my small community, there are several options. We have a Safe Kids Coalition, the Health Department, and the OB department at the hospital.
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#14 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 01:40 PM
 
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TBH, an expired carseat can shatter under crash forces, causing sharp debris to fly around the cabin... yeah, I'd say it *is* more hazardous (in an accident) than no carseat at all.

On a day-to-day basis, carseats also serve a function of keeping kids comfortable and seated in the car, which can have some safety benefits. So... I'm not sure which is safer in total; if an accident is significantly less likely with kids restrained in expired seats, that might offset the increased risk the seat itself poses.

OTOH, it feels a little like asking "Which would you rather your child have access to: drain cleaner or bleach?" :-/
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#15 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 01:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by BelovedBird View Post
Is it really safer for a kid to be without a carseat then in an expired one?
If my choice was an expired carseat or none, I would take the expired one. However, I can't imagine that ever being the only two options. There are state programs that provide free carseats, hospitals that provide free carseats, etc. Giving out expired carseats is not safe, and it may cause someone to compromise their child's safety instead of taking the time to get one that is safe.
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#16 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 01:49 PM
 
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if you have enough $ to be sitting around posting on the internet, you have enough $ to get the cheapest car seat, which has to be safer than an expired car seat. IMHO
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#17 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 02:00 PM
 
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I find it difficult to believe that an expired carseat is worse than no carseat. In fact, that's just silly. They don't self-destruct the day they expire, and only *might* break under pressure, but they might hold up. But with no carseat the baby is basically bouncing around the car in an accident. So it's like Russian Roulette vs. just shooting. Though they are both stupid and unsafe, Russian Roulette is safer than just shooting someone.

The Freecycle group should post an explanation as to why expired seats aren't safe, and maybe give some links as to places where parents in need can get free safe seats. And they should put the info in an FAQ if one goes out each month too.

I wouldn't trust a seat from Freecycle regardless of how new it was because how do you KNOW it hasn't been in an accident? I mean, maybe whoever had the seat doesn't consider a fender-bender to be an accident. Or maybe they haven't been using it for a while and it's been sitting in the garage under a pile of heavy things, and the weight has stressed it? I really wish Freecycle would just not allow carseat posts at all. I hate when I see them in garage sales too.
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#18 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 02:04 PM
 
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soemone gave me an expired bucket seat-i use it for visits for my foster baby. she is in a britax in the car, but i carry her in in the bucket and it gives bios a place to put her in besides the discustingly dirty couches in the cps office. .creative use i guess!

mdcblog5.gif   Liz mama to DS 10, DSS 9, DD 6, DS 3, DD 2 , Aquila- dec 19th 2009 died at my homebirth, and....welcome Willow born 9-16-10 (9 weeks early)  nut.gif
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#19 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by MommyJoia View Post
if you have enough $ to be sitting around posting on the internet, you have enough $ to get the cheapest car seat, which has to be safer than an expired car seat. IMHO
You can get internet access for less than $10 a month, or have internet access as part of your job, and STILL not have $50 in cash to go purchase a new carseat. Also, sometimes people use Freecycle to get items for friends without internet access. Comments like this are judgemental and not at all helpful.

Back on topic:

Expired "infant buckets' can safely be used as infant seats in the house, as an alternative to a "bouncy seat". Degraded plastic that might shatter during a vehicle collision should hold up just fine on the kitchen floor.

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#20 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 02:12 PM
 
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there are sooo many cheap car seats available...plus free programs. some ppl just do NOT care. im dealing w/ this issue right now..wanting to GIVE someone a $200 car seat instead of them using the 15 plus year old car seat they have for their 1.5 yo. It just boggles the mind.
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#21 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Smalls181 View Post
It is no safer to be in an expired seat than in no seat at all. The plastic breaks down over time, as does all plastic, and becomes brittle. In a crash, the force could, and has, caused the harness to break through the plastic, strangling the child, or ejecting them completely.

There are many options for parents who cannot afford a new seat. An expired seat is not their only option.

As for freecycle... all we can do is give parents the information and the rest is up to them. It is very unfortunate when parents choose to put their childrens life at risk, but there isn't a whole lot we can do about it.
The CHP will often give out free carseats if the one you have is expired or the child is over the weight for it. I'm sure not having a carseat at all would qualify a person for one also.
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#22 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 02:26 PM
 
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if you have enough $ to be sitting around posting on the internet, you have enough $ to get the cheapest car seat, which has to be safer than an expired car seat. IMHO
Is it the cost of the internet or the "sitting around" that is the issue? Because the job market isn't great and there are PLENTY of people out of work and without income who are "sitting around" who would rather not be. And there are disabled people who are unable to work but who still have babies. And there are people for whom working would not pay as much as childcare. "Sitting around" doesn't mean that not sitting around is going to mean someone has more money, or even that the person is able to not "sit around".

And as for the internet, it is really inexpensive to have internet access these days. In fact, some communities have free dial-up access. Some people live near a wi-fi spot and are able to access that. Some people just use the internet at the library. And computers can be had for free if you get a family member's hand-me-down or if you ask on Freecycle. There is no reason to assume that someone must have enough money for something else if they have internet access.

On top of that, I hate the idea that in order for someone to justifiably need help, that person shouldn't have any moment at all to "sit around" or any luxury at all, even a very inexpensive one like internet access.
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#23 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 02:30 PM
 
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In a crash, the force could, and has, caused the harness to break through the plastic, strangling the child, or ejecting them completely.
This is why a *new* seat is necessary. This does not mean that using only a seatbelt is at all safe for the child.

Quote:
all we can do is give parents the information and the rest is up to them
Absolutely "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink...."

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Originally Posted by Smalls181 View Post
In my small community, there are several options. We have a Safe Kids Coalition, the Health Department, and the OB department at the hospital.
Each community is different, but, yes, there is usually more than 1 way to find/afford a safe *new* seat. The Daycare & Child Development Council in my county also has a program to provide new carseats for free + the necessary education to income qualifying families. There's also te Kyle David ****** Foundation.

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Originally Posted by Ironica View Post
TBH, an expired carseat can shatter under crash forces, causing sharp debris to fly around the cabin... yeah, I'd say it *is* more hazardous (in an accident) than no carseat at all.
Well, you are right that the harness (and child) are known to rip through the shell of expired carseats. However ... safest practice still indicates that an expired carseat is indeed safer than none at all. In part because the carseat does a better job of keeping the child inside the vehicle. Ejected occupants are 4 times as likely to die. There are other reasons that more experienced techs or instructors are more prepared to explain accurately. A recent study (forgive me, I don't have all my links) shows that slightly misused seats are absolutely safer than none at all. I am not condoning the use of expired carseats. However, I am even less supportive of not using any carseat whatsoever

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruthla View Post
Expired "infant buckets' can safely be used as infant seats in the house, as an alternative to a "bouncy seat". Degraded plastic that might shatter during a vehicle collision should hold up just fine on the kitchen floor.
True

P.S. re: $ . . . I am an unemployed single mother with chronic illness in college full time. I have ZERO income. I also happen to be a CPST. I don't have internet at home. I don't have a phone at home. I use my friends' internet. My 5 siblings & I share a family cell phone plan. I don't even own a vehicle. I rock public transportation & move my kid's seats around from vehicle to vehicle for carpool/rideshare. We visit our friends & neighbors for shared meals, sending eachother home with leftovers. We love handmedowns. We use vinegar & baking soda to clean. You could call us poverty stricken. But, we're clean, responsible, smart & my kid is still safe in seats that were brand new off the shelf.
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#24 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 02:34 PM
 
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nevermind. dont' feel like getting jumped all over.. posted before i read the whole thread.. no need to be another parent that "just doesn't care"
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#25 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 02:39 PM
 
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sorry to have offended.

It's the cost, and while I know there are several avenues to get free internet access, there are also several aves to get free or discounted seats, which are available through internet searches.

I had posted not to long ago that I couldn't afford a new seat. My husband was willing to put it on our only non-maxed-out cc. luckily I came into about $200 and we were able to buy the seat with cash. I could have used the $ to make a cc payment, I could have used it for groceries, but I chose to put my dd's safety first and get her 5 point harnessed again.

I think part of the "thrill" of freecycle is getting something for free whether you actually need it or not. I have asked for clothes for my kids a few times on freecycle. I didn't get them, but my kids are not naked.

I also have friends who have no internet access, none, they cannot afford it, but they own 6 or 7 different kinds of slings/baby carriers. It's about priorities. She'd rather have her baby in a sling, than have net access.
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#26 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 02:39 PM
 
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that was my thinking as well. In our area there are no free carseats. at leas tnot to my knowledge adn i have looked.
In all honesty, it can be near impossible to find the free carseat clinics. This has a lot to do with the fact that such programs are bound by grant limitations & privacy laws. Too many people who are not truly in need just want free handouts without making the effort on their own. I'm not allowed to volunteer at our local fire or police station seatchecks because I'm not an employee, even though I have my own liability insurance. It's sad when those who truly are in need cannot find the resources, though

In dire circumstances only, an expired or used seat would be an acceptable *temporary* solution while saving the $15-50 for a brand new carseat. Expensive fancy features never trump CORRECT USE. Expired = incorrect use.

If your area truly has no resources for those who really are in need (the credit card bills can wait: you don't want to look back at your child's headstone & wish you'd simply taken a late fee!) then it sounds like a wonderful opportunity for you to become certified yourself so that you make miracles happen in your community
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#27 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 03:09 PM
 
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P.S. re: $ . . . I am an unemployed single mother with chronic illness in college full time. I have ZERO income. I also happen to be a CPST. I don't have internet at home. I don't have a phone at home. I use my friends' internet. My 5 siblings & I share a family cell phone plan. I don't even own a vehicle. I rock public transportation & move my kid's seats around from vehicle to vehicle for carpool/rideshare. We visit our friends & neighbors for shared meals, sending eachother home with leftovers. We love handmedowns. We use vinegar & baking soda to clean. You could call us poverty stricken. But, we're clean, responsible, smart & my kid is still safe in seats that were brand new off the shelf.
this is exactly my point.
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#28 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 09:34 PM
 
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I think part of the issue is that resources can be very hard to locate. I work at a mental health clinic working with moderately to severely mentally ill people. I help them locate the resources they need to just to get by. (housing, food, balance checkbook, hygeine, etc.) I am constantly learning about resources that, while new to me have been around for years and I'm just now hearing about it.


When I had post-partum depression just finding the phone number took great effort, then trying to get them to call me back took awhile, too.


There are definite obstacles to accessing services. It is not generally a matter of "just not wanting it" or priorities.
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#29 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 09:59 PM
 
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If my choice was an expired carseat or none, I would take the expired one. However, I can't imagine that ever being the only two options. There are state programs that provide free carseats, hospitals that provide free carseats, etc. Giving out expired carseats is not safe, and it may cause someone to compromise their child's safety instead of taking the time to get one that is safe.
There are places that there are no "state carseat programs" or hospital carseats for instance the country I live in, Israel.

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#30 of 80 Old 08-14-2008, 10:01 PM
 
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It is no safer to be in an expired seat than in no seat at all. The plastic breaks down over time, as does all plastic, and becomes brittle. In a crash, the force could, and has, caused the harness to break through the plastic, strangling the child, or ejecting them completely.
Interesting.
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There are many options for parents who cannot afford a new seat. An expired seat is not their only option.
Maybe in your world, your reality. Try to keep in mind your reality is not the only one.

Mom of 5 boys- 13, 10, 8, 2 : and newbie Aug. 24th, '09 . babywearing advocate . Cook, baker, homemaker, wife to a man with another woman's kidney (live altruistic, unknown donor).
BelovedBird is offline  
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