If you are wondering how long is a car seat good for or safe for your child to use, you may be surprised to know each seat has an expiry date.
No matter how well your child’s car seat functions, it still has an expiry date provided by the manufacturer.
In this article we will cover this topic and other child safety-related tips regarding car seat safety. You should not use the car seat after it reaches the expiry date and here’s why…
The short answer is – yes they really do! Cars seat materials tend to break down over time resulting in a loss of structural integrity. If you are like me, you would never want to risk the safety of your little one by trying to get another year or two out of an expired car seat.
Here are some reasons why car seats expire:
It all depends on the manufacturer and the design. Still, the average lifespan of a regular car seat never goes under 4 and beyond 10 years. Luckily, the expiry dates are either embossed on the unit or specified in the product manual.
Here are some of the most popular car seat brands and their expiry details:
An expired car seat is tricky to recognize from a visual inspection (unless you can notice visible damage or missing pieces). You should always go by the expiry date on the car seat or in the manual. Once your child’s car seat exceeds the expiry date, it is no longer safe to use.
Google some of the nearest baby stores and retailers to find the ones who partnered with recycling centers. Take the seat to a preferred location or ship it – whatever feels easier.
Some stores will allow you to trade your child’s car seat in for a discount on a new car seat. Check with Target for example, sometimes they offer 20% off if you drop off your used car seat during their promotional offer.
Last but not least option – recycle it. Yet, do this responsibly. Make sure to dismantle the seat, remove the fabric and padding, cut the harness, and place an “expired” mark on it. This way, you are giving a clear warning that the seat it is not safe for use. If possible you can even recycle the plastic and metal pieces.
We know, you have a bunch of baby and toddler items to buy, and budget is always a driving factor. If you want to save some money, you can jump on the used bandwagon for buying many items. However, the used car seat is not one of them (at least if you ask me).
Buying a new car seat is much safer than buying second-hand, especially knowing that all car seats have an expiry date. You don’t have to always go for the pricey seats, the less expensive ones are also safe and comfortable for your child.
On the other hand, if you really want to buy a used car seat, here are some important tips:
There are no laws that prohibit buying an expired car seat and like wise, it’s not illegal to sell an expired car seat. But, many experts advise against using or buying expired car seats obviously because it’s not safe for your child. In addition you may be exposing yourself to potential legal issues if the expired car seat fails to perform during an accident. Our kids safety is not worth taking the chance on a used or expired car seat.
Keeping your child’s age, weight, and height in mind, we will categorize car seats into five categories – baby, toddler, booster car seats (2 stages) and vehicle car seats. The following ages are based on averages, some kids take longer to transition and some kids transition or grow much quicker.
Stage 1: Rear-Facing – 0 – 2+ years old
Stage 2: Forward-Facing 5-Point Harness Seat – 2 – 7 years old
Stages 3 & 4: Belt-Positioning Booster – 4 – 12 years old.
Stage 5: Vehicle Car Seat – 12+ years old.
Car seats are meant to protect your child. Make sure you transition your child through each stage based on their age and most importantly their size. If you notice any malfunctions, harness issues, etc – don’t think twice, change that seat.
Knowing that some baby gear is a bit pricey, especially a car seat, choosing a second-hand car seat is not a wise decision. You don’t want to gamble on your precious child’s safety at any price. It’s important that you know the expiry date for any car seat that you own or are considering to purchase.
We hope this post “How Long Is A Car Seat Good For” answers your questions.