Each passing day sees Christmas edge that little bit closer – and with it, for some, the worry of how to finance what is always a season of expectation and expense.
A handy and affordable answer is to dip into the secondhand market where many a good-quality bargain can be snapped up for a fraction of the outlay of similar goods bought new.
Croydon’s trading standards team, however, is warning that there are some goods that, while appearing to offer great quality at an affordable price, could actually be putting personal safety at risk.
Alongside untested electrical goods, high on the list of items that consumers are recommended to steer clear of buying are used child car safety seats, and secondhand cycle and motorcycle helmets.
Officers point out that it is impossible to tell the history of an item without carrying out a destructive test. While looking sound and undamaged to the naked eye, it is possible that such products have been involved in incidents that render them unsafe, such as high-impact damage.
They recommend that child safety seats and boosters be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers.
Cycle helmets, unlike child safety seats, are not required by law to comply with the relevant British safety standard. Most reputable brands, however, do and will carry a label to indicate that it complies with BSEN1078. Alternatively, look out for the US Snell B90 or B95 standard label.
All motorcycle helmets worn on UK roads must meet one of the following:
- British Standard BS 6658:1985 and carry the BSI kite mark;
- UNECE Regulation 22.05; or
- a European Economic Area member standard offering at least the same safety and protection as BS 6658:1985, and carry a mark equivalent to the BSI kite mark.
Such safety standards do not, of course, guarantee that the helmet – be it cycle or motorcycle – has not sustained structural damage that is not visible.
Councillor Hamida Ali, cabinet member for communities, safety and justice
“We all feel the financial pressure of providing an enjoyable and memorable Christmas for our family and friends.
“Buying secondhand might generally be a good alternative, but in certain situations, this could be putting loved ones in harm’s way – and that’s certainly the case with child car safety seats and crash helmets.
“There really is only one rule when considering a purchase – don’t buy secondhand.
“Even a thorough visual inspection can’t reveal what has happened to the item in the past, and, sadly, one can’t always rely on the assurances of the seller, whose primary motive might be to sell the item, regardless.”
For detailed information on the use of child car safety seats, go to www.gov.uk/child-car-seats-the-rules and www.childcarseats.org.uk/choosing-using/second-hand-child-seats/