When you are waiting for your little one, you hunt for the best baby gear. What are the big-ticket items? A crib, stroller, and, surely, the best infant car seat! This sitting is one of the most important things in your registry list. If you don’t have one, labor and delivery units won’t let you go home with your newborn. As caring parents, you want to buy one of the premium-quality seats, it’ll cost a lot, you know! So, you are probably wondering “How long is a car seat good for children? Can we reuse it when a second baby comes?” There is no certain answer because baby car seats, as well as a car seat protector, do expire! Let’s take a closer look at the reasons for the car seat expiration.
Why Does Car Seat Have Expiration Date?
You’ll be surprised but the USA government doesn’t regulate this issue. However, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) highly recommends paying attention to the car seat expiration date. So, when manufacturers determine the date, it’s not just about their wish to sell more sittings – it’s about children’s safety. There are several crucial safety reasons, and you, as a parent, must be aware of them. Here is a list of these reasons.
Improving Technology And Standards
American Academy of Pediatrics, transportation agencies, and car seat
manufacturers are regularly conducting crash tests and evaluate the safety of sittings. Technologies are changing and evolving, and that’s great because safety standards are being enhanced with new materials and features.
Of course, no one can force you to replace your old gear to a newer one, but it won’t be the safest, lifesaving seat for your little one anymore. Plus, the manufacturer might stop making replacement details.
So, when a car seat expires, it’s not a good idea to use it for your #2 children or give it to your friends or relatives.
Materials Get Worse
Even the best gear is not supposed to last forever! How many years are car seats good for children? About 6 – 10 years, but most likely, even less! Why? Because of material tear and wear.
A car seat is one of the most-used items for a baby, so the quality is getting worse day by day. However, you might not see it with the naked eye. For instance, tiny cracks may appear in the plastic; hairline fractures in a seat base; belts become slightly elastic after years of use and so on. Lots of people don’t notice these changes, but crash test videos provide examples of how these material issues cause dreadful consequences.
Safety-tested Is Limited
You are not supposed to use the gear for too long. In other words, you won’t drive your kid in the same sitting up to, let’s say, the age of 13. That’s the reason why even the best manufacturers, like Britax, Chicco, Grago, etc., don’t test a car seat lifespan over 10-12 years of use. Plus, all sittings, no matter if it is a regular one or the best convertible car seat, have their age, weight and height limits, and mostly they are not used for children above 12. If needed they can use the best booster car seat.
Replacement Parts Are Not Available With Time
When manufacturers create new models, they don’t want to produce or maintain replacement parts for older models. Obviously, you won’t be able to find the needed parts behind the expiration date, or it’ll be rather challenging. So, before making a purchase, always check the car seat expiration.
Where To Find The Expiration Date On Car Seat?
If you would like to know the date when your car seat expires, visit the manufacturer’s official website. On the page dedicated to safety information, they tell where to look for the expiration date on a sitting. Mostly, you can find the date on the sides, back or bottom of the car seat.
Lifespan Of The Most Popular Car Seat Brands
So, how long do car seats last? Generally, they expire in 6 years from the date of manufacture; but you can find the models, which will last longer. It depends on the baby car seat brand.
Britax – the expiration date of models from Britax ranges from 6 to 10 years. Here are examples of some items:
- Infant car seats and belt-positioning booster seat – 6 years
- Convertible models – 7 years
- Harness-2-Booster – 9 years
- ClickTight Convertible car seat – 10 years
Graco – most Graco models expire in 7 years. However, 4Ever 4-in-1 car seats lasts for 10 years – a good investment for expanding family.
Safety 1st – sittings by this manufacturer expire in 6 – 10 years. Here are examples of some models:
- Light & Comfy infant car seat expiration is 8 years
- Grow & Go 3-in1, convertible model – 10 years
- Store & Go car booster – 10 years
Chicco – models made by Chicco expire in 6-8 years
Now when you know for how long car seats are good for children, you probably wonder what to do with used car seats. Keep reading!
What Do I Have To Do With An Expired Car Seat?
Nobody must use an expired car seat. The problem is that lots of people don’t know what to do with old car seats. Here’s your guide!
Check if there are recycling plants or stores which can take the item in your city. Some sellers offer a discount for a new purchase if you bring them your old model for recycling.
If you can’t find a recycling center, break the seat, cut the straps, write on the seat “Expired – Do Not Use”. This way, you’ll ensure that nobody will use the unsafe item.
Your little one’s safety is the most important thing for you, so do find out the expiry date on your sitting, then you can rest assured knowing that your kid is protected and secured in case of the car crash.
It doesn’t mean that you can’t reuse a car seat for your next child! If the seat condition is fine and it doesn’t expire, then why not?
We, here at top-mom.com, wish you to have clear rides!