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What Do Car Seat Expiration Dates Mean - What To Do When It Expires?

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:

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 will look like for BRITAX:


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, 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.  


Rachel Rising

Founder of Baby Logic. Mom Blogger. Child Passenger Safety Technician. Prenatal and Pediatric Chiropractor. Mom of 3 Boys.

 


20 comments

  • Baby Logic

    Frida, it sounds like MM/DD. Is there a year anywhere on there? What seat do you have?

  • Baby Logic

    Kat, unfortunately, Chicco does not have a recycling program. Sadly the best thing to do is cut the straps and toss it. Some cities may have a program but as far as I know, car seat manufacturers do not.

  • Baby Logic

    Courtney, a general rule of thumb is 7 years for a convertible seat manufactured after 2010. This is a US rule and so I’m not clear on Canadian rules.

  • Baby Logic

    Amalia, certain car seats, like all-in-ones will have a longer shelf life since they do cover a longer age range for your child. Every seat and manufacturer is different.

  • Baby Logic

    Nancy, you are correct. Your Clicktight car seat will expire 10 years after the date of manufacture.

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