Car Seat Expiration Dates & Why They Exist
When looking at a car seat, have you wondered why it has an expiration date? The most important and biggest investment new parents make is buying car seats. This investment is big in terms of finances. A car crash can be fatal without them, but they can save your life.
It’s a one-time investment, so you won’t have to worry about them for a long time. Do they really exist? There is an expiration date on car seats, just like Tylenol, milk, and other parenting staples. In addition to not spoiling in the same way as milk, car seats also do not last forever, so it’s important to know when they expire.
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What causes car seats to expire?
Car seat manufacturers don’t want to inconvenience you, so car seats expire for a few reasons.
1. The effects of wear and tear
Probably only the crib is more frequently used than your car seat as a baby item. On every trip to the supermarket, daycare, or play date, your baby is likely to be buckled and unbuckled multiple times.
The seat will also need to be adjusted as your little one grows, and messes will need to be cleaned up. You will also cringe as your little teether chews on straps and bangs on cup holders.
Your seat may also crack if it is parked in an area with extreme temperatures, as it bakes in the sun and bakes in the sun while your car is parked.
Car seats are designed to keep your child safe, so it should come as no surprise that they won’t last forever. It goes without saying that you want to ensure the safety of your child.
2. Regulating and standardizing
Car seat manufacturers, transportation agencies, and professional medical associations conduct and evaluate safety tests on a regular basis. All parents should be happy about this.
It is also important to remember that technology is constantly evolving. It is not surprising that car seat safety statistics are improving as new materials, features, or technologies are introduced. Why is our two-year-old laptop already outdated?).
The weight guidelines for a rear-facing car seat change after you purchase a rear-facing seat that will hold your child up to a certain weight. You may not be required to replace your seat by law, but your seat may be discontinued by the manufacturer and no longer be available for sale – not to mention, it is no longer the most safe seat.
These changes might be accounted for by the expiration date, making it less likely that you’ll have a faulty seat.
3. Testing by manufacturers is limited
A manufacturer doesn’t assume you’ll still put your 17-year-old in the car seat and drive them to their senior prom when they test a car seat – whether it’s Graco, Britax, Chicco, or any other brand. The car seats aren’t tested after 17 years of use, so it makes sense that they don’t test them.
The use of car seats and boosters generally ends by age 12 (depending on a child’s size), even for all-in-one models that transform from rear-facing to forward-facing to boosters. As a result, car seats are rarely tested beyond their 10–12 year lifespan.
Your car seat should be registered as soon as you buy it so that the manufacturer can inform you if there is a recall. In reality, you’re swamped with newborn-related tasks and sleep-deprived. Your child might be using an older hand-me-down car seat without a registration card (recent and unexpired).
In other words, an expired car seat will be more likely to be free of problems, even if you miss a recall announcement.
When will the expiration date be?
You shouldn’t use an expired car seat. “Replace it immediately,” he advises
Injuries prevention expert Gina P. Duchossois is the chair of Safe Kids Southeastern Pennsylvania and with the Injury Prevention Program at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Parents are advised to cut the straps of expired car seats and discard them in a dark plastic bag in order to prevent them from taking them out of the garbage and using them.
Do you think it’s okay to use an expired car seat?
It is possible for seats to sustain damage we cannot see with our naked eyes,” Dunn says. It may not be possible for some parents or caregivers to go out and buy a brand-new seat as soon as they realize theirs is expired,” Dunn explains. It’s important to ensure that kids are riding in any seat versus not riding at all,” says Dunn. “You can buy a secondhand seat from a source that knows its history.”
Can car seats be used for a long time?
Generally, car seats expire six to eight years after they were manufactured (not when they were purchased). Expiration dates can vary from brand to brand or model depending on how long manufacturers expect their seats to function safely.