WWYD – Car Seats

(not my story)

Let’s say you lent your infant car seat to your friend down the block, when she had her first baby. Your baby had just grown out of it and you were pleased to help her out. Unfortunately your friend’s family was in a car crash, no one seriously hurt, but the car was totaled. Safety standards recommend that if the infant seat was in a car involved in a  crash it is no longer recommended to be used.

You are now pregnant again with your second child, and know you will soon need a new infant car seat. Is your friend obligated to buy it for you / give you the full amount you need? If she is oblivious to this obligation, how do you bring it up without ruining the friendship?

WWYD?

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  1. tesyaa says:

    Unless I was financially destitute (ch”v), I wouldn’t say a word. Why? First, car seats are not that expensive. If I can afford a pair of new shoes, I can afford a new car seat. Second, a car seat that has been used by more than one kid often has to be replaced anyway – either it’s dirty and unappealing, or safety standards have improved and there are newer, safer options on the market. Third – the family was in an accident, and even though they weren’t seriously hurt, totaling a car is traumatic enough from a financial and emotional point of view. Why remind her of the accident?

  2. lady lock and load says:

    EXACTLY what I was thinking Tesyaa!

  3. G6 says:

    This hovers in the miasma that is legal vs. moral obligation…..

  4. batya from NJ says:

    i agree with the above posters & will add that as long there was no agreement initially that the carseat would be returned in perfect condition (or returned at all), i don’t think that it’s fair to expect it returned in perfect condition or at all. in fact, when it comes to things like car seats etc. it pays to hold onto them if you think you’re going to need them again in the near future instead of running into these situations where you do someone a favor & then regret it. one of my mottos in life that i like to joke about is “no good deed goes unpunished” & it seems to apply here ;)!

  5. Lion of Zion says:

    of course technically she owes you a new carseat. but this isn’t corporate law here. this is friendship. i’d be happy that i was able to lend a car seat that ultimately may have saved the baby’s life. just move on. (i guess thankfully i’m not in a situation where buying a new carseat for myself would break me.)

  6. Chanief says:

    I agree with the previous posters. I would let it go. When it comes to these things, I don’t expect it back if I give it away. Especially something like a car seat – there is always a risk of a car accident. Knowing that, I would understand that there was a chance I wouldn’t get it back. In any case, it’s a handy excuse to go shopping for baby gear, and what pregnant mommy doesn’t like doing that?

  7. mekubal says:

    Halakhically, in all technicality yes they are obligated to replace it for you. If you were to take them to a B”D and be insistent that would be the ruling.

    However, along the way every Rav and Dayyan, at least should tell you to just let it go all things considered. As everyone has already said, they have been through a lot, and well its just the chesedic thing to do.

  8. Heather says:

    funny because we were lent 2 cribs for our twins. we just moved our twins from cribs to toddler beds and one part of each crib is broken and needs to be replaced. before I return the cribs I need to call the company and get the replacement parts to the tune of $140. I know how much it costs because the same part of one of the cribs was already broken and I already replaced it once. So for these 2 ‘free’ cribs I’ll spend $70 times 3 to replace the same part before I ultimately return the cribs. *lol*

    If it were me and I LENT the carseat, I’d expect a USEABLE carseat in return, so yes I’d expect her to buy me a new one. But if I GAVE it to her I wouldn’t expect it back at all. You did say LENT so the right thing to do would be to buy the original owner a new carseat. Just my 2 cents!

  9. Debbie B. says:

    My family lived in Israel for a summer when my daughter was 15 months old. We rented a car and borrowed a car seat from friends whose youngest child had outgrown the seat. The car was stolen with the seat in it. We gave our friends the option: we could either buy them a new car seat or give them the same amount of money as the cost of a new seat. Interestingly, they chose a new seat since they felt that it was often handy when they had visitors.

    So I feel that your friend ought to have offered to replace the seat or the replacement cost. But obviously she didn’t at the time and I think it is too late to bring up now without risking offense.
    Certainly it is not worth losing or even straining a friendship over a car seat.

    I have had the experience of having items I have lent out being returned in much worse condition than I expected. (Like a tent with some mildew because it was not properly aired out before being packed up again.) I don’t lend out things that I couldn’t stand to lose.

  10. lady lock and load says:

    I lent my sister in law an expensive double stroller. When she was moving I asked her about it and she said she gave it away. I once lent someone a farberwear pot and she returned it in poor condition, the handle is now always loose and has to be screwed in every so often. Since then I have a policy never to lend out my pots.

  11. mrsmelissasg says:

    I’m in agreement with the first posters, and have an additional point to add….
    We all know what a car seat is for and that if in any accident it is supposed to be replaced. If you loan/give/whatever someone a car seat, you have to reasonably expect that something may happen which would render it unusable. That is the whole point of the car seat! Presumably, she gave them her seat b/c they could not afford to purchase their own (b/c as someone else said, the safety information changes fairly quickly).

  12. mirruth says:

    The recipient should have offered to replace or pay for the car seat. I’m not sure how you could bring it up to her without causing offense.

    That said, it has been at least two years since the seat was purchased and there are now much better seats with higher weight and height limits and often longer expiration dates. So a new seat should last her a lot longer than the old one.

  13. balebusta says:

    I have a loose policy about lending things out to people: I don’t lend out something that I don’t want to lose (or don’t want broken/can’t afford to replace myself etc). Even when lending to the best of friends, things can and do happen and “stuff” can get broken, damaged or lost. I do think that if your “stuff” gets lost or damaged by the borrower it is their obligation to replace it and one would hope that they would do so — however this situation can become uncomfortable even for the best of friends! So in most cases, if the item is very important to me and it would be a personal stretch financially to replace it, I don’t loan it out.

  14. batya from NJ says:

    i think that it’s important to know what was agreed upon at the time of the loan. if it was determined that the friend would borrow it & return it in perfect condition that is one thing but if the friend was just told that she can borrow it w/o any stipulations it isn’t fair to expect her to replace it with a brand new one. who’s to say that it was in perfect condition when it was borrowed. i think it’s important to be clear when loaning things to others & also as was said previously, not to loan something that you really think you may need again & will have to replace if it breaks…

  15. I agree that legally she needs to give you a carseat. However, I also think there’s a lot to be considered. Should she be responsible for the value of the carseat? Carseats are EXPENSIVE and technology has changed a lot since Evan rode in one! I wouldn’t want that one back! And then the issue of friendship. I think she still needs to compensate you in SOME way but I am not sure a brand new car seat is the right thing either. I agree with Batya…

  16. mrsjessica says:

    I agree with MrsMelissa – that’s what a carseat is for! You knew when you lent it to the person that that’s WHY you put the child in the carseat and that this was a totally legitimate thing to have happen. If you weren’t okay with it, you should NOT have lent it to your friend, unless you said that to begin with – i.e. if something happens to it, I would want you to replace it. It’s a lot easier to say beforehand than afterward!

    I also don’t think it’s like a crib or something – it broke while you were using it. A carseat is performing it’s function.

    Or maybe we need to think about carseats as “disposable” – they are used for one crash only, and then they’re chucked out. Therefore, don’t lend it.

    Whatever the case, I think the only thing to do is to let the friend know that you don’t want the seat back, since it’s been in an accident and isn’t that too bad. If she picks up on it, great! If not, that’s really unfortunate and life moves on.

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