Why Do Car Seats Expire? Is it Safe to Use a Second Hand CarSeat?

Car seat expiration dates and times vary from model to model. It can be very difficult to even figure out when your car seat expires, especially if you aren’t the first person to own the car seat. Therefore, you must always purchase a new, unopened car seat.

Of course, knowing the expiration of your car seat is only the start of the battle. You should also know how to use this date to your advantage and where to take your car seat once it has expired. You shouldn’t put your child’s life into danger – or someone else’s child in danger – by not knowing the car seat’s expiration or how to properly dispose of the car seat when the time comes.

Car Seat Expiration Guidelines

Car seats will eventually expire, regardless of whether or not they still look like they are in working shape. Each car seat that you acquire will (or should) have a date somewhere on it. Each manufacturer has a different date range for expiration, though most will fall somewhere between six to ten years. It is important to check with each seat, even if you know the manufacturer, as seats can change.

It is important to note that if you don’t know the history of a car seat, it really doesn’t matter the expiration date.

Car Seat Expiration Date in Years

There is a wide range of usage in terms of an expiration date in car seats, though a car seat will often only last the lifetime of one child. In general, a car seat will last for six years. However, newer models tend to be reinforced with steel frames and they can last up to ten years. In order to know the dates for your individual car seat, you will have to check the guide. Remember that the date expires from a certain point after manufacturing, not after you buy the seat. You do have to be cognizant of the fact that if something happens to your seat, like you are in an automobile accident, your seat should be replaced.

To discover if your seat is expired, you can go about a few different methods. The easiest is to check on the seat itself. The expiration date should be embossed somewhere on the seat, usually on the back or on the bottom. It will say: “Do not use after MM/YY.” If you can’t find the expiration date on the seat itself, you can check in the owner’s manual, where it should also be listed OR it should give you the directions on how to find out. Of course, if you are missing that as well (because many parents don’t save all of this), you can contact the manufacturer and ask them. To do this, you will need the model number and, if possible, the date of manufacturing.

In today’s world, many manufacturers will now alert you when your seat has expired. You can register your product so that an email, a phone call, or a letter will come to your home once your car seat has expired. This may also be a great way to be alerted of a recall or a problem with your system.

Where to Take an Expired Car Seat

Once your seat has been expired, it could be hazardous to just put it in your trashcan by the curb. You will need to swap the seat for a new one at some point, whether it is because your kid has outgrown it or because you have been in an accident where it has been harmed. Either way, you need to be smart about how to dispose of the seat.

In order to ensure that your seat won’t be reused, you should take some extra steps. Make sure to cut the cover of the seat, cut the straps, and even put them into different bags when you throw them away. Place everything into separate garbage bags – loose garbage is a problem for many anyway. You can also take your car seats to a retail location to dispose of them. Some stores will offer special rebates or coupons if you trade them in at a baby-specific store like Babies R Us.

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