Having infant car seats is essential to ensure the safety of the kids while traveling in a car. The baby car seats will help in holding the babies securely to the seat so that they can be safe throughout the journey. When buying car seats, it is vital to consider many factors like the material, safety features, comfort features, and vehicle compatibility.
However, one underrated factor is the expiration date of the car seats. Not many people are aware of the fact that baby car seats also have a specific expiration date, after which it is recommended not to use them. Make sure to buy infant car seats from reliable baby product manufacturers that offer extensive features and outstanding expiration dates. Wondering if one can use an expired car seat? Then, check out this blog.
What Is An Expired Car Seat
The expiration dates provided by car seat manufacturers typically range from 6 to 8 years from the date of manufacturing. Manufacturers utilize expiration dates to inform consumers about the anticipated lifespan of a car seat. There are different types of car seats, like infant car seats, convertible car seats, booster car seats, etc., and they all seem to have a similar lifespan.
In the United States, there is no specific law mandating car seats to have an expiration date. Nonetheless, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration suggests car seat manufacture dates and expiration dates since the requirements might change over time. Depending on the anticipated lifespan of the car seat model, the manufacturers specify the expiration dates for the car seats.
The plastic shells of the car seats might become fragile after being exposed to extreme temperatures. Due to that, the shell could deteriorate or lose its stability. Metal components may eventually corrode, and synthetic materials used for the seat or straps might begin to deteriorate, reducing the safety of the seats. Most of the time, it might be impossible to notice the wear and tear, which is why sticking to the expiration date is necessary.
Manufacturers of car seats regularly alter their designs to enhance the functionality and safety of the car seats. When utilizing an old car seat and one believes a component is missing, it is best to go through the handbook. Make sure to re-use the car seat only when any deteriorated, or missing components have been substituted. This is another reason why car seats have an expiration date.
The baby car seat safety regulations keep on changing on a regular basis as brands follow various quality testings for better protection. An older car seat might not be compliant with the new regulations if the rules change. When the car seat is affected by a crash, the deterioration from the collision may make it dangerous to use. When properly fixed, the car seat will be safe to use again, but this might not always be the case.
The NHTSA lists all car seat recalls from the last ten years. The usability of the car seats might be impacted by recalls. Normally, if the car seat model is recalled, the manufacturer will deliver replacement parts to the consumers who previously bought that model. In rare cases, some car seats are judged ineffective, so the manufacturer will advise the consumers to stop using them and wreck them.
Excess spilling of foods or drinks or using too many cleaning supplies will damage the car seats. In addition, if too much dust or debris is trapped in the buckles, webbing, adjusters, or any other component, the car seats will eventually lose their ability to hold the babies securely. The car seat components may disappear or loosen up if the seat is fitted and removed more often.
When Do Car Seats Expire
There is no set date or fixed years to explain when the car seats will expire. Generally speaking, the OEM car seat models have an expiration date that varies between 6 to 10 years from the manufacture date. Many people are curious about why car seats have expiration dates. The car seats expire due to various reasons, such as updated regulations, extreme wear, and tear, safety design changes, recalls, etc.
It is to be noted that the lifespan of various car seats ranges from six to 10 years, but some car seat models retain even shorter expiration dates. The baby car seats are generally divided into various groups based on how long they can be used. The group 0+ baby car seats can be used until the baby reaches 15 months. As for the car seats under the group 0+/1, they are safe and ideal to be used until the baby weighs 18kg.
Group 1 car seats are known to be safe and can be used for babies who weigh between 9 kg and 18 kg. As for the group 1/2/3 car seats, they are ideal to be used for babies between 9 kg and 18 kg or up to 135cm in height. For kids that are 135cm or who weigh between 18 kg to 36 kg, group 2/3 car seats are the best.
How To Check If A Car Seat Is Expired
Thinking about how to check if a car seat is expired? Generally speaking, each and every baby car seat is likely to have a sticker with the date of manufacture due to the custom packaging. In order to find the manufacture date label, one might need to look along the back or sides of the seat or even turn the seat over to check the bottom. For some car seats, the expiration date is determined by the purchase date instead of the manufacture date.
The manufacturer’s official website is the safest place to check the car seat expiration date. The majority of car seat brands include instructions on how to locate the expiration date of the car seats. For Britax, one can use the serial number and user guide to determine the date of manufacturing.
For Graco, the expiration dates of the car seats are present at the back or bottom of the seat. For Baby Trend, the expiration date of the booster car seats is six years after manufacture, and the date of manufacture is present at the seat’s bottom or underside. For Chicco, the expiration date is located on the base and car seat.
To obtain safety information, usage instructions, or contact information of the manufacturer, it is best to store each and every car seat’s instructions and manuals in a secure location that is easy to reach. One can typically find the latest expiration dates and other safety information on the manufacturer’s website.
It is also better to check the physical appearance and stability of the car seat to know whether it has expired even before the expiration date. In the event of a crash or excessive usage of the baby car seat, they are likely to lose the overall credibility and might not be able to securely hold the babies.
Is It Illegal To Use An Expired Car Seat
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there is no particular rule that forbids people from utilizing an expired car seat, and some states do not mention the car seat’s expiration laws at all. However, there are several states with car seat regulations that tell people to install and use the car seat in accordance with the instructions in the manual. Thinking about whether is it illegal to use an expired car seat.
It is not illegal to utilize a baby car seat that has expired, but that does not indicate that one should use it. The principal function of car seats is protecting children from impacts that cannot be achieved by car seats that reached their expiration dates. Additionally, the majority of states have tight restrictions related to the use of car seats, even if there are no regulations prohibiting the use of expired car seats.
The main cause of child fatalities in the USA is car accidents. The injury threat in a car crash is decreased for the kids from 82% to 71% when car seats are used properly. People are not utilizing the car seat in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations if the expiration date has passed.
The components and materials that keep kids safe in car seats gradually deteriorate with repeated usage and extreme exposure to high temperatures. Make sure to become familiar with baby car seat state regulations and keep kids safe in the car. To get quick updates related to any recalls or modifications in safety regulations, people must register their car seats and share their contact information with the manufacturer.
What To Do With Expired Car Seats
If the car seat is expired, there is a high chance that it is no longer safe to use. A severely damaged baby car seat that reached the expiration date must be disposed of completely so no one can use it. Make sure to take out the foam and extra padding, cut all the straps, and take out metal pieces from the seat. It is best to acquire car seats from a reliable manufacturer that retains a skilled R&D team.
Make sure to regularly follow car seat trade-in programs at baby shops or big-box stores, or call the neighborhood shop to inquire about the old car seat trading. During these trade-in occasions, one can exchange outdated or ineffective car seats for coupons. Most of these car seats are recycled and are used to make various items such as buckets, pallets, etc.
Contact the neighborhood recycling facility to know if car seats are accepted. Ask them how they exactly take baby car seats. A few centers wish to get the entire frame, while others accept the disassembled frames. It is also better to give expired car seats to baby car seat technicians. These technicians will use those expired car seats that are in decent condition to demonstrate the car seats.
The main purpose of the baby car seats is to protect the child properly during the journey. So, if the car seat has reached the expiration date and some wear and tear are visible, it is better to avoid using it in order not to compromise the child’s safety.
Make sure to buy high-quality car seats for infants and toddlers so that they will stay strong and remain in good condition for a long time. Reach out to River Baby for ordering custom infant, convertible, or booster car seats that help in keeping the babies safe during transportation.