Once a car seat has been in a crash, it should not be used again. But, how can you tell if a seat hasbeen in a crash? Very easy, actually.
Let me take a few steps back to what car seats are made of. The main body of a car seat is made of Impact Copolymer Polypropylene or ICP. This type of plastic is used because it is rigid enough to form a safe base, yet flexible enough not to shatter during a crash. The added benefits of this product is that it absorbs crash force, retains its shape on impact, is lightweight, heat resistant, easy to produce and it does not biodegrade. Another advantage of this product is that you can add compounds to the ICP to enhance certain desirable aspects like UV protection. In other words, it is a very stable, versatile product, important when you use it to make car seats.
During a crash a car seat will bend and twist under the strain of the impact. This bending and twisting leave white marks, much like when you bend your credit card, and that is what you look for. These marks indicate that the ICP has weakened and the car seat will not perform predictably and according to standard if subjected to a crash again. Even if you drop a car seat, it can be damaged.
When you receive a car seat second hand, this is one of the easiest things to check for. Lift the cover around the sides of the car seat and if you see white marks on the plastic, don’t use the seat. Rather bring it in to us to strip of its usable bits and we’ll recycle the seat in the interest of the safety of our kids.
For further reading on Impact Copolymer Polyethylene, please go to these links below: