What do car seat expiration dates mean?
My car seat has expired !? Is that a real thing? It’s not a gallon of milk!! How do they expire and does it really make a difference?
You’re probably wondering why you need to buy ANOTHER car seat if the one you bought 9 years ago was barely ever used and of course it was never in any sort of accident. Well, here’s the honest answer: SAFETY FIRST!
FIRST THINGS FIRST: Giving car seats an expiration date isn’t about money. It’s about making sure your child’s car seat is as SAFE as possible!
FACT: Car seats DO have an expiration date, just as most foods, medicine and other necessary items. This is beneficial to all parents because it supports the newest findings through research, done by the car seat manufacturers themselves every year. Of course one of the easiest ways to tell if your car seat is still in its prime is to check the date of manufacture hidden somewhere on the car seat. Keep reading below to find out more information on how to find expiration dates on the most popular car seat brands.
MAIN REASONS THAT CAR SEATS EXPIRE:
- Technology advances (Crash data and tests are constantly being used to make changes to car seats so they can do a better job of protecting children in the event of a collision)
- Materials break down over time and the impact protection can deteriorate
- Extreme temperatures cause wear and tear to important fabrics and materials
- Replacement parts are no longer available.
WHAT do you do WHEN YOUR SEAT IS EXPIRED? TWO SIMPLE WORDS: TOSS IT!
Parents, don’t be surprised if you shed a tear when that first seat you purchased reaches expiration: it’s a little sad to see them go! It is always so much fun remembering how small your little was when they took their first ride in that old favorite seat.
If EVER in doubt, bring it to the fire-station or any certified safety technician for a safety check-up. They can help locate the expiration date for you. I myself, am a Child Passenger Safety Tech and I love when parents show me their seats and ask for more information about how they work. if they’re installed correctly and if they’re expired.
GENERAL RULE OF THUMB: IF NO EXPIRATION DATE IS GIVEN ON THE SEAT, THAT CAR SEAT will EXPIRE SIX YEARS FROM THE DATE OF MANUFACTURE.
And lastly, while borrowing or buying a second-hand car seat is not recommended, if you do get a hand-me-down, make sure you can without a doubt, answer these four critical questions:
- Has this car seat ever been in a crash?
- Are all the parts and pieces still attached to the car seat?
- Are all the labels for proper use still affixed to the car seat?
- Has this car seat ever been recalled? Not sure? CLICK HERE to see if your seat is recalled.
READ BELOW TO FIND THE EXPIRATION DATES ON YOUR SEAT:
If you have a BRITAX CAR SEAT manufactured JUNE 2010 OR AFTER:
- Infant car seats will expire 6 years after the date of manufacture.
- Convertible car seats (excluding the Classic line) will expire in 7 years after the date of manufacture.
- ClickTight Convertible car seats will expire 10 years after the date of manufacture.
- Harness-2-Booster seats will expire 9 years after the date of manufacture..
- One4Life All-in-One seats will expire 10 years after the date of manufacture.
If you have a BRITAX CAR SEAT manufactured PRIOR TO JUNE 2010
- The service life for Britax infant car seats (including the base), older infant/child car seats, youth seats, and belt-positioning booster seats prior to June 2010 is 6 years from date of manufacture.
Here are some examples of what the label may look like for BRITAX car seats:
If you have a CHICCO CAR SEAT:
- Convertible Car Seat: 8-year lifespan from the date of manufacture. An expiration date can be found on the white label on the underside of the car seat.
- Infant Car Seat : 6 year expiration means the seat can be passed down through several babies. The expiration date and date of manufacture are printed on a sticker on the top of the base (see picture below). Another identical sticker is on the bottom of the seat itself — note: sometimes the base and the seat itself will have different manufacture dates.
- MyFit Harness + Booster: 8-year lifespan from the date of manufacture. Check the manufacturer’s label on the underside of seat for a “Do Not Use After” date.
- KidFit Belt-Position Booster Seat: 10-year lifespan from the date of manufacture. Check the manufacturer’s label on the underside of seat for a “Do Not Use After” date.
If you have a BABY JOGGER CAR SEAT:
- CityGO Infant Car Seat: Manufacture date can be found on the underside of your child safety seat. The included registration card also specifies “Do not use 7 years after the manufacture date”.
- CityView All-in-One Car Seat: The date of manufacture and “Do not use after” date will be indicated on the attached registration card. The manufacture date (DOM) can also be found on the backside of your seat and your seat will typically expire 10 years after the DOM.
If you have an UPPABABY CAR SEAT:
- Mesa Infant Seat: The car seat will expire 7 years after the date of manufacture. It can be located at the bottom of the carrier and base.
If your car seat brand is NOT MENTIONED above:
Look for the date of manufacture sticker on other parts of your seat. Your car seat manual would be a good place to start – and would should you where to look. Other places could be:
1. Under the seat itself
2. At the back of the seat, behind the headrest
3 Under some fabric
WHERE TO BUY A NEW CAR SEAT WITH THE LONGEST LIFE LEFT BEFORE EXPIRATION:
Make sure you use an AUTHORIZED car seat retailer, and not just look for a good deal online. There are imitation car seats out there (scary, we know), just like anything else, and it is NOT what you want for your child. Many vendors now sell directly to Amazon, which is very convenient if you don’t live near a retailer, or prefer to shop from home.