Often, various organizations and agencies in New Mexico offer child safety seat installation demonstrations. If you have taken one of these, you may feel confident that your child will be protected in a motor vehicle collision. However, there is more to child restraint safety than correct installation.

SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. provides instructions on how to know if the safety seat you purchased has defective components.

Visual check

The manufacturer of your safety seat has created an instructional booklet that you can compare to your seat to ensure that no components are missing, cracked or broken. This inspection is especially important if you received your seat secondhand from a friend or family member. It is not a good idea to purchase a used car seat unless you can verify its history. Any car seat that has been in a motor vehicle crash should not be used. If you do not have the booklet, you can find it online at the manufacturer’s website.

You should also locate the car seat’s expiration date, which is stamped on the plastic. If this has passed, you should not use the seat. Usually, seat expiration dates are between four and 10 years after the manufacture date.

Recall check

SafetyBeltSafe U.S.A. provides a list of recalls for all models made in the past 10 years that have met the U.S. safety standards. To check your seat, you will need the name of the manufacturer, the name of the seat model, the manufacture date and, in some cases, the model number. In addition to official recalls, the list includes the following:

  • Special warnings
  • Voluntary customer notification campaigns
  • Availability of additional replacement parts
  • Usage advice
  • Current manufacture contact information

While this information is provided to help you verify your child car seat safety, it is for educational purposes only and should not be interpreted as legal advice.