Informational

How Long is a Car Seat Good For? [All Manufacturers]

If you choose to purchase a used car seat, or someone provides you with a hand-me-down car seat, you would want to know how long is a Car Seat good for. This is super important because that car seat may have been used for several years. The safety may be lower than before as well so checking these dates is critical. 

Different manufacture has different expiration dates. If you don’t know the expiration date, each manufacture provides a number of years the car seat is good for after the manufacture date.

Let us look at some of the rules about car seat expirations so you can ensure you provide the right safe for your child. Manufactures 

How Long Are Car Seats Good For?

Car seats are good for between six and ten years. The exact expiration date will vary based on who manufactures the car seat. Parents should be able to look on the side of the car seat or you can find it in the owner’s manual.  Some of the different expiration dates to consider based on the car seat you choose include:

  1. Britax: These last six years for infant seats and nine years for booster seats. 
  2. Safety 1st: Depending on which model you choose, these last for six to eight years. 
  3. Recaro: These car seats will last for six years. 
  4. Graco: Depending on which model of Graco you choose, they will last seven to ten years. 
  5. Evenflo: Most Evenflo car seats will last six years, though the Symphony and SafeMax can last longer. 
  6. Cosco: These car seats can last for six years. 
  7. Britax: The infant car seat will last six years and the booster seats for nine. 
  8. Chicco: These last for six years. 

There are models from Evenflo and Safety 1st that can last up to eight years. Many parents like these brands because they can use the car seat safely for more time. Parents are advised to check the expiration date on the car seat to see exactly how long their brand will last. A brand new car seat is good for six years in most models. 

What if the Car Seat is Expired?

Many parents will try to use an older model of a car seat. They may have it left from a previous child or someone else passed it down. 

You need to check with your state to see whether it is allowed. Some states consider it illegal to use an expired car seat. For example, Virginia has a “proper use” clause that means an expired car seat would not meet all the standards. 

Parents should also be cautious about purchasing used car seats. It is not illegal to sell a car seat that is expired, and you could end up with a car seat you can’t use. 

Therefore, most parents are recommended to purchase a new car seat instead of using an older model. All car seats are regulated for safety so even the less expensive options can keep your child safe. 

Why Should You Check Expiration Dates?

It is important to follow the expiration dates on all car seats you use with your children. Most infant car seats are checked in the hospital before you leave with your new baby. 

Even if the hospital does not check for this, parents are responsible for doing the research. Once the child moves out of their infant seat, you can choose a convertible and forward-facing car seat. These must not be past their expiration date as well. 

Car seats are required based on car seat laws in all 50 states. These help you to keep your child safe while driving and provide extra protection by keeping your child in place.Car seats are good for six years before they reach their expiration dates. After this time, many parts will start to break and rust so the car seat is not as safe for your child. 

Why Do Car Seats Expire?

Car seats expire because some of the components on them can get worn down. Since car seats are made up of hard plastic for many parts, these can deteriorate over time. 

Some car seats can look and work just fine even past the expiration date. But it is still a good idea to change to a newer model once that date has passed. It is hard to tell if some of the inner workings of the car seat have started to come apart. Materials can deteriorate due to age, sun, cold, and humidity, which can make the car seat unsafe. 

The car seat may also have some rust on the metal parts. Since many of these are hard to see by glancing at the car seat, this issue will often go unnoticed. 

Many times, car seat models get discontinued. When the production of that type of car seat is discontinued, finding the right replacement parts is difficult. This makes the car seat unsafe. 

Technology will often advance as the years go on and a car seat made ten years ago is different than one made now. This means that the newer car seats are more likely to meet all the current safety standards than older ones. 

Your car seat may also have some missing pieces. Car seats go through quite a bit of wear and tear. You may wash the pad many times to keep it clean. You may switch the belts from rear-facing to front-facing and back again if you use the car seat for more than one child. 

All this change and use can result in parts and pieces getting lost from the car seat. When this happens, it will reduce how effective the car seat can be. 

How Do I Tell If My Car Seat Is Expired?

Each car seat has a way to tell parents when the seat has expired. It is hard to spot one just by looking at it in the picture when someone tries to sell it. However, the best way to check for the expiration date is to look for a small white sticker. This will be located somewhere on the side of the bottom of the car seat. 

This sticker will have a lot of useful information. Parents can find the serial number, manufacture date, the model number, and when the car seat expires. All of this information is useful to have around in case of a product recall or if you need to order replacement parts. Keep this sticker in place until you dispose of the car seat. 

Looking for the sticker is one of the quickest and most effective ways to tell whether a car seat is good to use or not. The manufacturer is responsible for putting this information in a place where the customer can find it. 

Other Places to Look for Expiration Date

If the car seat does not have this sticker, there are a few other ways to look up the information. You can look at the plastic shell on the car seat as this often will have the information imprinted so it won’t come off. 

The owner’s manual should also contain this information to make it easier for parents. If the sticker has come off and the owner’s manual is gone, a quick internet search can help. 

It is important to know when your car seat expires. This will help you to properly use and dispose of the car seat when the time is right. If you ever see a car seat that has missing or broken parts, you should not use it. This is true even if the car seat has not passed its expiration date yet. 

What Should I Do with an Expired Car Seat?

Once your car seat expires, you will need to properly dispose of it. Whether you got it second-hand and it is now expired, or you used it until expiration, properly disposing of the car seat is important. 

Many parents choose to throw the car seat out, though most experts caution against doing this. You should dismantle and dispose of the car seat properly. 

Doing this will prevent someone from salvaging the car seat and using it after its expiration. You can start by removing the foam, the padding, and fabric. Then cut the straps and harness. Parents can also remove all of the metal parts and recycle the plastic pieces. 

There is a lot of work to take apart a car seat. Some communities host an annual car seat recycling program. You can check out some of the options in your area to help you take care of your car seat when it is expired. 

Conclusion

Knowing the expiration date of your car seat is important. It is one of the best ways to make sure your child is safe while on the road. Car seats do have parts that may break, rust, and fall apart as time goes on. Some parts may go missing if you use the car seat for a long time. 

All of these can decrease the effectiveness of the car seat and makes it unsafe for your child. This is why each car seat comes with its own expiration date. While this date will vary based on the type of car seat, it is still important to know and follow these dates. Once the car seat reaches that date, it is time to properly dispose of the car seat. 

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

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