CAR SEAT EXPIRATION DATES - DECODED!
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 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!
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. See Baby Logic's common car seat brands below for information on how to find expiration dates).
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.
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 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. At Bibs and Binkies, we are an AUTHORIZED car seat dealer for Britax car seats, Chicco car seats, Bob, Baby Jogger, Doona and Uppababy.
What to do when you 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 here at Baby Logic or to the fire-station for a safety check-up. We can help locate the expiration date for you. We have trained Child Passenger Safety Technicians on-hand to help you learn about your seat!
General Rule of Thumb: If no expiration date is given on the seat, that car seats 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?
If you have a Britax car seat:
Car Seats manufactured June 2010 or after
- Infant car seats have a service life of 6 years (see picture C below)
- Convertible car seats (excluding the Classic line) have a service life of 7 years. (see picture A below)
- ClickTight Convertible car seats have a service life of 10 years. (see picture B below)
- Harness-2-Booster seats have a service life of 9 years.
Car Seats 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 have a service life of 6 years from date of manufacture.
Here are some examples of what the label will look like for BRITAX:
If you have a Chicco car seat:
- NextFit Convertible: has an 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.
- Keyfit 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.
Labels will typically be under the seat, near the base, on the base (if an infant seat) or near the headrest. Don't be afraid to look around. We are more than happy to help!!