Mention a car seat, and you have our attention. We are firm believers that car seats and restraints should always be used for kids who need them.
In Arizona, this includes kids who are:
Under eight years old, and
You can also use approved car booster seats for kids between five and seven years old and under 4’9″.
DMV.org has information about car seat laws in different states. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration keeps a page on car seat recalls.
Are Used Car Seats to Use?
Many people will choose to buy a brand-new car seat and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, don’t dismiss all used car seats as unsafe, because this is not the case.
– AZ Kidz n More sells used car seats but we certainly do not accept all that comes through our door.
– Any item brought in for consignment is checked for damage such as rips, tears, holes, cracks, stains, and defects.
– We make sure all the parts are present and work properly, including straps and buckles.
-We reject anything that’s dirty or smells.
As we’ve said before, if we wouldn’t use it, we wouldn’t let it go to your home (or in this case, your vehicle).
Our consigners are thoughtful people. They know we won’t accept items that don’t look gently-used or aren’t clean. They wouldn’t dream of offering us shoddy products. Many have saved instruction pamphlets and registration information with car seats, furniture, strollers, and other durable items they consign with us. These documents include information about proper installation, which can also be found on manufacturer websites.
We check the UPC code and other identification against recalls, using the USCPSC website. We do this with furniture, strollers, and toys as well.
Who Buys Used Car Seats Anyway?
Many of our customers who buy car seats are grandparents or other relatives expecting visitors who include a young child. Some parents also buy a car seat from us to have an extra one on hand for emergencies or to transport other children.
If a customer seems uncertain about buying a used car seat, we encourage him or her to buy a new one. We will never do a “hard sell” on a customer for any item in our store. We don’t want any customer to be anything less than 100% satisfied with a purchase from AZ Kidz N More.
Recently, a customer brought in an infant/toddler car seat from a top manufacturer. We rejected it because there was a part missing from the carry handle. This part has nothing to do with securing the seat, but everything to do with getting a baby in and out of the car while strapped in. Still, two customers asked about its availability before the owner came to collect it.
Make Sure Your Car Seat is Properly Installed
Regardless of where your car seat originates, you must make sure it is properly installed.
Too many people don’t understand how to install a car seat. It isn’t always easy or obvious. A 2015 study by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found almost 60% of car seats and 20% of booster seats were installed incorrectly. Obviously, incorrectly installed carseats are less effective in protecting children during crashes.
You can get professional installation, though, preferably from a CPS (Child Passenger Safety) technician who has had special training. Use this link from Safe Kids Worldwide to find one in your area. We searched for Scottsdale, AZ (where our store is located) and discovered there are CPS technicians throughout Scottsdale, including at one of the city’s firehouses, and at fire stations in the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Community.
And before you know it, those kids will be in line at the DMV to get a driver’s learning permit!
For the third year in a row, Hulafrog named us Most Loved in Scottsdale for Kids Consignment. In 2021, we snared Most Loved for Toy Stores and Book Stores – a first, beating out places like Half Price Books and Old Town Candy and Toys.
Of course, we have our readers to thank for voting for us! (Mayhem’s endorsement helped, too.)
For those who aren’t familiar with Hulafrog, it’s a national directory of shops, services, schools, venues, and events that cater to kids and families. You can look for your own state and city here; here’s where you can find your city and state.
Any business can list itself on Hulafrog. Hulafrog turns to members (parents, grandparents) to nominate and vote for Most Loved in each city that’s part of its network. They alert businesses that have been nominated so that they can let customers know about it and vote, too.
It’s important to note that a business does not have to be particularly active on Hulafrog or advertise on the site. Its Most Loved really does reflect customers’ experiences.
So again, a big Thank You to our wonderful customers!
Have you heard about people using seat belt extenders to make it easier for kids to buckle into car seats? If you have, this is one “tip” to ignore.
Seat belt extenders are devices that extend seat belts to let overweight or large passengers buckle in. They are only meant to be used in front seats.
We recently read about people who use these extenders on car seat boosters to make it easier for parents or kids to buckle in. But seat belt extenders won’t properly restrain a kid in a booster seat if there’s a collision.
Seat belt extenders will not properly restrain kids in booster seats if there’s a car crash.
Seat Belts Extenders Interfere With Car Restraints
Booster seats use a vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts to secure kids who’ve outgrown car seats but aren’t tall enough for lap/shoulder belts. Booster seats lift them up to the right height.
As you know, lap and shoulder belts lock, tighten, and restrain drivers and passengers from flying forward during a sudden stop or collision. An extender used on a booster seat, though, adds additional length that “fools” the restraints from properly locking. Even a few inches of extra belt is enough to prevent that crucial lock.
The Car Seat Lady, a pediatrician and car seat safety activist, has written about seat belt extenders. Check out her article, which includes photos of different extenders on the market and tips on how to make it easier to properly buckle kids in booster seats.
This article from The Washington Post is about a boy who suffered a brain injury in a car accident that also killed his father. He was in a booster seat with a seat belt extender that unbuckled during the impact. His mother is suing Ford, which sold the extender for booster seat use. It’s a sad and messy situation. The father didn’t realize the extender only worked in Fords and he drove a Nissan. He apparently didn’t consult the Nissan manual which states not to use seat belt extenders.
Don’t Be Fooled By Seat Belt Extenders
Some parents mistakenly use seat belt extenders as a tool to make it easier to buckle kids in booster seats or help them buckle themselves in. They are marketed for this on Amazon and eBay.
We know booster seats can be a pain. Those darn belt buckles easily fall in between seat cushions, making it hard for a kid to buckle himself in or for a parent to find. The extenders look like they can help by extending that buckle to where it’s easily reached. The problem is that they interfere with lap and shoulder belts that restrain your little passenger.
You may come across extenders that say they work with child safety restraints. If you’re considering them (and we don’t think you should), check your car owner’s manual to see if they will work in your vehicle. If the manufacturer’s manual says “do not use extenders” take their word for it, even if the booster seat and/or extender is brand-new and claims to work on all vehicles.
We get why people might want to use an extender. It gets really hot in the Phoenix area, and it’s no fun trying to get a cranky/squirmy kid to sit still while you wrestle with an elusive buckle in 110° heat! We know you want your kids to learn how to buckle themselves in. But not all kids have the dexterity to even work a seat belt buckle.
Here’s a Safe Way To Put Car Buckles Within Easy Reach
The Car Seat Lady has a nifty tip to cut off a piece of a pool noodle to securely lift the female end of the seat belt buckle up and out where it’s easily reached – by parents and kids.
It’s been crazily cool lately, especially for May, but we all know the temperature is going to hit triple digits soon.
That means swimsuits and toys will be pulled out as more people take to the water! So let us ask you: have your kids had swimming lessons?
Knowing how to swim is a basic life skill everyone needs to know. And here in Arizona, there are plenty of places where your kids can get swimming lessons from trained professionals, in groups or individually. We found that group lessons were a lot of fun for our kids, but every child is different.
Read on for tips about where to take your kid for swimming lessons.
Your Local Public Pool is a Great Place for Swimming Lessons
We live in Scottsdale which has excellent and affordable swim classes for kids and adults at many of the neighborhood pools. Some of them feature lessons around the year, but they really take off in the summer when every public pool offers swim classes for different levels.
Swimming lesson fees at public pools are very reasonable. If money is tight, contact the Parks and Recreation Department in your town or city and ask them if they provide discounts to families who receive SNAP benefits or for children who receive medical benefits through Medicaid (AHCCCS in Arizona) or SCHIP. And many towns will offer swimming scholarships as well.
The best part about swimming lessons for kids is that the instructors are often high school or college kids and therefore worthy of listening to. They have all these fun games and toys to encourage kids to overcome any fear of swimming underwater. Our kids’ favorite game was What Time is It Mr. Shark?
It’s Fun to Swim at the YMCA!
Many kids learn to swim at the local Y and as we all know, no place is more fun than the YMCA. Many Y chapters also offer reduced prices and scholarships to families who qualify.
Many Ys also have indoor swimming, so you and your kid(s) can practice swimming skills all year round. Who knows, you might be harboring the next Katie Ledecky or Michael Phelps., who we might add, is one of the swim coaches at Arizona State University. Maybe he’ll stop our store on his way home from work one evening! (He and his wife are expecting their third child this year.)
What’s the Ideal Age to Learn to Swim?
We know lots of people go in the pool with their babies and to us, that’s fine. In fact, many private swim schools have Baby and Me pool time for parents and babies. The idea here is not to teach babies to swim but to them comfortable around water.
The American Academy of Pediatrics says four years is the best time to start actual swimming lessons. Before that, most kids won’t retain what they learned or have the functionality to pull together all the movements that add up to swimming. But even AAP says it’s ok to get them in some kind of “aquatic program” at one year. However, keep in mind that no amount of classes can replace a watchful adult when kids are around the pool.
Give us a call if you’re looking for gently-used kid, toddler, or baby swimwear. We often have a variety this of year, as well as toys for the pool.