Dangerous Deals Part 1

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It's garage sale season and whether you are looking to make some extra cash or buy cheap, it's all about trusting your neighbor. The question is, are you paying attention to the deals? Bargains on used goods may prove to be costly. KWQC's Amber O'Brien investigates “Dangerous Deals.”

When garage sales are in full swing it is tempting to take advantage of bargains on everything from 50-cent DVDs to baby clothes, but caution is in order, buying used can be dangerous.

“Just to buy it at a garage sale from who ever and just pick up the item and buy it and go home, I wouldn't recommend it,” said Keene Hart of Safe Kids Quad Cities.

The availability of unsafe car seats, cribs and strollers shows that for many consumers, garage sales and second-hand shops can be minefields.  Some of the products most likely to cause concern are intended to protect children. If you are buying used, items like a car seat can be worn, damaged or even recalled.

“Any car seat, crib or toy that is recalled because of some safety hazard because it's not safe for a  child. Take the matter very seriously because that could be the difference between your child getting killed because they used that item or getting severe injury,” says Hart.

TV6 takes a look at a long list of recalls on car seats. There are over twenty pages of “top sellers” only.

And in the past year alone, there have been thousands of recalls.

At first glance, all of the products look safe and in perfect condition, but looks can be deceiving. Especially, when you want to buy a bargain.

 “By looking at a seat you'd think it'd be in good condition, but if it was involved in a crash that stress is put on the seat and the seat belts to where visually you would not know the difference,” said Kris Johnson, an Engineer with the Moline Fire Department.

What you are looking for are signs of wear and tear, like spills and stains, twisted straps, missing warning labels and whether or not the car seat has been involved in a crash. You don't want to put your child in a car seat that has been in a dangerous car accident. When you're buying used, that information may not come easy.

“I really feel like people want to do right, but some just want to make a buck,” said Keene Hart.

It all depends on trust. When buying a car seat, stroller or crib you need the user manual, stickers that show manufacturing dates and code, caution labels, and most importantly, the history behind the seat.

“Buying it in thrift stores, you don't know that. At Garage sales there is no way of telling that its safe,” Hart tells TV6.

At a garage sale in DeWitt, Iowa Amy Gluesing was selling a used infant car seat.

“I feel comfortable selling it to someone else and because it's a small town and people may know me, they may feel comfortable buying it from me,” said Gluesing.

However, when asked if she would be leery or even uncomfortable buying one from a garage sale she tells us, “myself, yes. Those are things, unless it was from a good friend of mine or someone that I knew very well and knew if they had any recalls and things, but not just a random garage sale.”

You need to know the history of the seat and the only way of knowing the true history, is if bought it and maintained it since then. Think beyond making a buck, think about the baby on board. 

“Parents always spend, I mean the sky is the limit for their kids. When it comes to a car seat they always want a hand-me-down from someone. but a lot of times people won't even do that with their clothing,” said Kris Johnson.

In many cases, the manufacturer of a recalled product will replace it or send parts that will fix the problem, even if the product was bought used

For a list of recalled car seats: http://www.parents.com/product-recalls/car-seats/

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