Every car seat comes with an expiry date. Doesn’t make sense does it? You’ve been holding on to that car seat that your teenage daughter used and can hardly wait to use for your little bundle of joy. Could this car seat have expired?
Well, this article will explain why that car seat or booster seat can no longer be used.
Reasons why car seats expire.
1. Materials wear over time.
A good number of car seats have a plastic shell. With time however, plastic degrades and consequently becomes brittle.
This could prove dangerous if for instance there was an accident and an expired car seat is being used.
Due to exposure to the elements over time, it is likely that the plastic shell could break and consequently fail in serving its purpose of safe guarding a child in the event of an accident. Car seats are also made of metal which we all know rusts over time and this is likely to cause it to malfunction.
2. No replacement parts.
Once these car seats are out there in the market, it becomes very difficult or at times next to impossible to find replacement parts if they have a defect. This essentially renders the car useless.
3. Changing technology
The issue of child passenger safety is always an ongoing one and advancements in this field are ongoing. Manufacturers in this field are constantly working towards keeping up with current best recommendations. In addition, most manufacturers run independent crash tests to ensure they keep up with the advancing technology.
How do you know when your car seat is no longer fit for use?
All car seats differ when it comes to their lifespan. Nothing explicitly determines this date, but their lifespan ranges from 4-12 years from year of production.
If you want to know the expiration date of your car seat, you just have to check the seat itself.
The date of manufacture is written on a sticker somewhere on the seat. The date should also be included on the registration card that was delivered with the seat.
In most cases, the seat’s lifespan is written in the manual as well. Other seats have the words “DO NOT USE AFTER (DATE)” on their plastic shell casing. It is also not uncommon to have seats that require you to calculate the expiration date from the manufacture date.
Car seat should be ware of car seats that have no stickers or any indicator of the expiration date. This may be a car seat with no history and therefore unsafe to use.
What should you do with an expired car seat?
Stop using it. Afterwards if you do not choose to dispose it you can donate it to any local CPST for demo and training purposes or you can look for ways to use it around the house, maybe as a rocker for the baby.
If you are going to use the car seat around the house don’t use it as a napping place for the baby and make sure you remove the harness to prevent strangulation.
If you choose to dispose it, do so in a manner that it cannot be used by anybody else by making sure you get rid of the harness straps and the cover, deface it with a sharpie… anything to render it unusable really… and make sure you put it in a black garbage bag.
Finally, make a point of checking your babies’ seats. If any of them is almost expired, do not forget to dispose it.
Happy Parenting! 🙂