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Expiration Dates on Car Seats: Why?

Expiration Dates on Car Seats: Why?

You have a car seat for your child’s protection, but even the most protective parents can be confused by car seat expiration dates.

Car seats aren’t perishable foodstuffs that go “off” after a set amount of time, but they do have expiration dates for serious reasons.

It is critical to keep these dates in observation to secure your child’s safety.

Check the base or sides of the car seat for a printed expiration date.

If you can only locate the manufacturer’s date, it is generally advisable to only use the seat within six years of its manufacture.

Keep in mind that a car seat’s lifespan begins when it is manufactured, not when it is purchased.

Even if the car seat from last year is still unused, it will have a shorter lifespan than one that was made recently.

Why do Car Seats Come with Expiration Dates?

There is no specific gov regulation that requires car seats to be given an expiration date. 

Manufacturers of car seats decide to include expiration dates, but it isn’t just to sell more products.

Transport Canada recommend that “people should not use children’s car seats and booster seats past their expiry or useful life date.”

The following are five important reasons to keep track of car seat expiration dates:

1. Changes in technology and safety standards. 

While an older car seat may appear to be brand new, it probably doesn’t incorporate the newest technologies.

Even if the old car seat was never used and sat in a closet for the last 10 years, it may be made of outdated materials or lack equipment that is now considered standard.

Before 2002, for example, car seats did not have a Lower Anchor and Tethers for Children (LATCH).

Since then, the LATCH has been considered a vital component of car seats.

2. While the materials used to build car seats are durable, all materials wear down over time. 

Car seats are subjected to extreme temperature fluctuations as well as years of exposure to direct sunlight.

Hairline fractures weaken the plastic, and belts become elasticized, as a result of this type of exposure.

This type of material degradation is invisible to the naked eye but can have devastating consequences in a crash.

3. The best car seat manufacturers test their products extensively, but they only test them to be useful for a certain period.

Outside of the designated time frame, the manufacturer can’t attest to how their products will perform.

4. Car seats, like any other product, may be recalled. You may not know if an older car seat has been recalled.

5. Only replacement parts for current car seats are produced by manufacturers.

So, you could be stuck without replacement parts if you have an older car seat.


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