5 Things to Know About Car Seat Expiration – Just in Time for Child Passenger Safety Week
I usually consider myself to be a pretty informed parent. I’m aware of hot topics, and do my own research to figure out what is best for my son. So, when my sister in law told me my car seat was about to expire, I had a brief moment of wordless, anxiety ridden panic. I didn’t even know car seats could expire! I pulled up the information online, and started researching. Apparently I’ve been living under a car seat safety rock though, because not only do car seats have expiration dates – it’s a pretty hot topic in the world of family consumers and safety experts. Do car seats really expire? Or is it just a corporate scheme to get you to spend more money? I’ve spent a few weeks digging around, talked to our friends at Britax, and I wanted to share what I learned with you. So here are the 5 most important things I found that you should know about car seat expiration.
The development of better technology, more in depth research, and safer seat options is a huge part of car seat expiration. Regulations and requirements for child car seats change all the time. It’s better to have a seat that has been manufactured with the most recent information so that your child is as safe as possible.
Car seat expiration is also due to the materials that a specific car seat is made of. After a certain amount of time, those materials begin to break down. Plastics and foams are not timeless materials. They become more brittle and hairline fractures in the seat can lead to the seat shattering in a crash.
Different car seats have different life spans. The type of material a specific car seat is made with indicates how long of a life that car seat will have. A general rule of thumb is to set the expiration date 6 years after the manufacturing date. Many car seat companies have information online to help you know if your car seat has expired. Our car seat is a Britax, and they have a TON of information online to help me figure out if our seat is still okay.
The manufacture date and the date of purchase are two different things. Just because you find a great deal on a car seat that is brand new at the store, you should still check the manufacture date on the product to determine the expiration date. This is also true when buying a used car seat. You always want to check the manufacture date which is always somewhere on the product.
The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration supports the research and information behind car seat expiration. Paying attention to expiration dates and replacing car seats when recommended is one of the NHTSA’s top tips for car seat safety.
Now that I know I have an expired car seat, I’m starting the process of shopping for a new one. Don’t worry, I’ll be sure to keep you posted on all of that too! I definitely want to make sure my little guy has a seat that will keep him safe and sound.
If you’d like more information on car seat expiration:
· Check out Britax FAQ’s on car seats.
· About.com has a lot of info on car seat expiration.
· More car seat questions answered at Parenting.
Special thanks to Britax for providing information about car seat expiration.
About Ashley (Managing Editor at MomStart): Ashley is a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, and former teacher working to navigate through the mysterious world of Mommyia. Read more about her adventures at Momicles and follow her @Momicles2010 .