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Heather Corley

Reader Question: Do Car Seats Expire?

By July 12, 2006

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Q: I have a used car seat that is in great condition. The cover even looks new. I listed this car seat on my local Freecycle group, and now I'm getting emails from people who say that the car seat is expired and is dangerous and should be destroyed. I bought the car seat in 1999. I wouldn't sell it if it was obviously dangerous, but I don't see how a car seat in perfectly good condition should be thrown away.


A: To answer your first question, yes, car seats do expire. In fact, most car seats have an expiration date on one of the manufacturer labels that can be found on the sides or bottom of the car seat. To find out if a car seat is expired, you should look for that expiration date label first. If there's no expiration date listed, use the date of manufacture and consult the car seat owners' manual. Many manufacturers give a maximum car seat life in the manual. If not, call the manufacturer and ask.


The rule of thumb, if no expiration date is given on the seat, is that car seats expire six years from the date of manufacture. Assuming that your car seat was manufactured in 1999, when you purchased it, yes, it is expired. A few car seat manufacturers allow up to 10 years of life for their car seats, but unless you have specific directions from the manufacturer, the car seat label or the manual that state otherwise, you should stop using a car seat after 6 years. Expired car seats should be destroyed so that no one picks the seat up thinking that it is still safe to use. Good ways to destroy car seats include cutting up the cover, cutting the harness straps, and using a saw or large hammer to break the shell. If you can actually watch the car seat go into a garbage truck and watch it be crushed, this is a good option, too.


One very good reason to stick to manufacturer's car seat expiration dates is that crash data and tests are constantly being used to make changes to car seats so they can do a better job of protecting children in crashes. Using a car seat that is many years old could mean your baby's car seat isn't utilizing newer technologies that could be lifesaving in a crash, or it could be out of date in terms of safety standards. Older car seats are also more likely to have been involved in a recall that was missed, which could mean there's a dangerous problem with the seat. Giving car seats an expiration date isn't about money. It's about making sure your child's car seat is as safe as possible.


While I can understand the frustration of throwing away something that still looks good, it's important to understand that the breakdown of a car seat is not something that can always be seen with the naked eye. Car seats are made of plastics. Consider what happens to a plastic toy if it is left outside for some time. The plastic becomes brittle and can develop cracks when stressed. Car seats are subjected to extreme heat and extreme cold while sitting in your vehicle, so the plastics eventually react just like that toy left in the sun.


You may not be able to see that the plastic is breaking down, or is more brittle, but that change could be dangerous in a crash when the car seat shell is stressed. You can see this problem in action by watching this crash test video of an expired car seat. In the video, the car seat harness breaks through the shell of the seat upon impact. This car seat would not have adequately protected a child in a crash. It's far safer for parents to buy a new car seat than to take a chance on a car seat that may be too old to function properly in a crash.


Heather Corley is a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.

Comments
May 20, 2007 at 8:33 pm
(1) Heather Porteous says:

Dear Heather
Thank you for the lifesaving advice. I was ready to put my 1 year old in her big brother’s carseat and read the date the seat was made and it said 1996!!! We are going out and buying a new one tonight!!!
Sincerely,
Heather Porteous

May 20, 2007 at 8:33 pm
(2) Heather Porteous says:

Dear Heather
Thank you for the lifesaving advice. I was ready to put my 1 year old in her big brother’s carseat and read the date the seat was made and it said 1996!!! We are going out and buying a new one tonight!!!
Sincerely,
Heather Porteous

July 6, 2007 at 4:01 pm
(3) Barbara says:

Thank you for the advice. I did not know that carseats expired. I have a friend that was telling me about it and I was shocked. Atleast I know I am safe with our carseat for about another year.

July 8, 2007 at 9:47 pm
(4) Chad says:
July 9, 2007 at 12:59 pm
(5) Heather says:

Well, it’s your child and your car seat, so you can make whichever decisions you wish. However, since there’s a great deal of agreement on this particular issue among people who are trained on car seat issues, and among the groups that do car seat crash testing, I’d rather be safe than sorry. I’ve seen the crash test footage of old seats, where the harness straps (and baby crash test dummy) come flying out because the shell is weakened. My child won’t ride in an expired seat – ever.

July 11, 2007 at 9:48 pm
(6) Kelley says:

Hey Chad, you’re an idiot. You’re going to let one article influence the safety of your child? I’m going to guess you’ve never kept a car longer than 10 years. Because if you had, you would see the plastic does start to get brittle and crack. Guess what? If it happens to your car, it happens to a carseat. But hey, it’s your kid, not mine.

July 12, 2007 at 4:17 pm
(7) Barbara CPST says:

What an idiot (Chad). I would assume that everyone thinks their child is worth the $40+ for a new seat. Even the most expensive Britax cost only .12 cents a day with a six year life. And if his child is injured who do you think pays the bills? We do, either through higher insurance premiums or gov. subsidy. Listen to the experts, not some troll or reporter that has no expertise. The article quoted even states that seats do break down and gives the reasons for an experation date.

August 2, 2007 at 6:09 am
(8) Paul says:

I read the article linked by Chad. I contacted manufacturers concerning this issue. Each manufacturer I contacted basically said the same thing–that the plastic does not decay at all until a minimum of ten (10) years. Also, the plastic in a car’s interior and th eplastic in a car seat is not the same. Plastic is not all the same–different formulations of plastic polymers produce different qualities in plastic. As an example, the plastic used in the six pack holders is manufactured to break down in sunlight whereas the plastic in car seats is manufactured to withstand the elements. This is one reason why the plastic six pack holder plastic costs far less thean the plastic in a car seat. All plastic is not created equal. If you doubt, contact the NHTSA and ask about this. Be informed and don’t simply take someone’s (even mine) word as Gospel truth. trust the data that are out there. If the manufacturers are saying that a seat is good for at least ten years (and they would stand to make more money with a 5-6 year expiration date) that is a good indicator that a car seat is OK to use pst six years. I would never use a used car seat because I would have to trust the word of a total stranger regarding the histroy of accidents regarding the car seat in question.

August 2, 2007 at 11:57 am
(9) Heather, CPST says:

NHTSA has a national, standardized certification course for child passenger safety technicians, and in that course they teach that car seats expire either after 6 years or on the date that the manufacturer has stamped on the car seat shell. If someone from NHTSA or a car seat manufacturer has told you to ignore that advice, they are not doing their job very well.

August 9, 2007 at 11:49 am
(10) Melissa, CPST says:

Car seat manufacturer put an expiration stamp on each and every one of their seats for a reason. Do you drink milk past the expiration date? Do you let your kids play with a toy that is brittle and breaking down due to damage? NO. Then why would you EVER WANT to go against the manufacturer’s expiration guidelines when THEY are the ones who make the seats?

Car seat manufacturers are the ones that are testing each individual car seat…not NHTSA. NHTSA does do SOME independent testing, but the majority of the testing falls on the manufacturer. Plastic begins to weaken from the moment it is made. Some car seat manufacturers have gone above the standard safety grade of plastic to use the same plastic that athlete’s prosthetics are made from. While no one will EVER agree on this and it has always seemed that the majority of negatives come from the male population…You are talking about the SAFETY OF A CHILD…why risk that??? Why take a chance of keeping a car seat past the expiration date just b/c you don’t want to spend an extra $50 or $100 on a new seat for your child. Isn’t he or she the most precious cargo you have riding in your vehicle?

August 21, 2007 at 8:47 am
(11) Sherry says:

My kids are worth more than I could ever pay for a car seat!!! I don’t have to read anything……the expiration date is when the seat gets thrown out!! Do you love your child???? I have two in car seats and I don’t care if I had to beg, borrow or steal to buy new car seats, these are my babies…..they mean the world to me.!!

September 7, 2007 at 10:15 am
(12) Carla - CPST says:

Because all car seat manufacturers give an expiration date on their car seats (either stamped on the seat or in the instructions), and because the federal authority on car seat matters, NHTSA, also states that car seats expire, there is very little room for anyone to argue that this is a false notion. Car seats do expire.

What purpose do any of you serve by arguing against this? Have you seen the crash test footage of expired seats? The ones where the babies fly right out of the seat because the brittle plastic can’t hold the harness straps? And yet you promote the idea that others should not buy new, safe car seats for their kids. That’s disgusting, in my opinion.

It’s one thing to decide that you don’t want to spend the money to buy your own child a new car seat every six years, but to attempt to put other people’s children in danger by spreading misinformation is cruel.

November 14, 2007 at 5:11 pm
(13) Michelle says:

I think that the “expert” they used is just trying to cover his own butt anyway. Google ‘David Galambos Graco witness’ and then google ‘Graco recall’ if he’s in charge of safety… he’s not doing a very good job anyway. It’s like learning gun safety from Dick Cheney.

January 18, 2008 at 11:33 pm
(14) jackie says:

you should see how many people are selling expired car seats on ebay!! sometimes i send messages to people letting them know.

January 19, 2008 at 12:31 am
(15) tim says:

…the reasons given to avoid used seats are good ones and yet here we are filling landfills. i mean, let’s recognize that these things are built to degrade. they are built to be thrown out with no thought for the consequence. if a plastic carseat can only last 6 years even if it’s never used, perhaps we should be making carseats out of something else.

also, taking a certification course does not make anyone an expert on anything except knowing the regs.

March 9, 2008 at 7:17 pm
(16) Tracy says:

I have read all of these commments and I have got to admit I am a little baffled. I am the mother of a one year old (and one on the way). I have a convertible carseat made in 2001. I will say that whether or not i get a new carseat for my son is not a question of how much I love him. That rationalization can be used in many areas. For instance, are you replacing your child’s toothbrush every three months AND after every time they get sick (and yes, that means a simple cold or even the “crud”). A manufacturer (or any representative of) is not going to be allowed to say anything about the safety of a product without it being valid. Trust me, this world is so lawsuit happy that companies do anything, and everything, to “cover their own butts”. If in their testing they found that decay began at a minimum of tens years, then I have confidence in the fact that a properly maintained carseat from 2001 is safe for my child. The key is going to be whether or not it has been properly cared for. You buy all of the seats in the world to make you feel safe, but you will always find “sides” for or against. Oh yeah. By the way, milk is good up to a week after its expiration if stored properly (I think it has a hard time reading its expiration date). But just like with the carseat you do what makes you feel comfortable. It’s your money.

June 14, 2008 at 8:49 pm
(17) Steve says:

I am so glad that some of you think that your kids are safe in seats that are 7 or 10 years old….*rolls eyes* I am glad it won’t be MY kid who suffered serious injuries after a bad accident beacuse I thought of the wasted landfill space or that milk is good for UP TO 1 week after the sell by date. We are not talking about food here people we are talking about the safety of our CHILDREN. Riding in the car is the most dangerous thing most kids do every day, and injuries from car accidents are the leading cause of death in children- even those in car seats since most car seats in use on any given day are used incorrectly with many mistakes per seat.

And for the poster who is worried about what seats are made of- there are seats out there now that do have longer life spans- they’re called Raidan 65 or 80 and made by Sunshine Kids.

Sure it’s great to be critical of “experts”, but let’s be real. When many experts agree that car seats expire in an average of 6 years than maybe, just maybe, that is the case. I will never put my kids in a seat that is expired- and I am proud to admit that my kids rear faced till at least age 3, and are in harnessed car seats till about age 9. Maybe you all call that over-protective, but whatever. I know they are safe in their seats and have a better chance of walking away from an accident than those of you who are so critical of this factual article.

June 26, 2008 at 2:06 pm
(18) Merlin says:

I am a grandparent and need a question answered. I have an unexpired car seat. Can I sell or donate it to another person?

July 3, 2008 at 6:50 pm
(19) Lucy says:

I’m currently using a used seat -which is more than 6 years old (approx 8 years) – expired according the manufacturer. But they say that the degradation is caused by sun exposurer -my seat has been in storage (in a windowless cupboard inside the house) for 4+ years … so I guess it should be safe…but I’m getting a new one any way…
I would quite happily get a used (but not very old) one from Freecycle -the person giving it has nothing to gain by passing it on and so should be honest about its history.
(I will probably have to get new because only a few models will fit in my car.)
Perhaps if the car seat manufacturers were forced to pay a tax on the disposal of their seats they would be more inclined to reduce landfill. I do think that car seats could be made to last longer and could have some kind of built in indicator of having been in an accident/plastic degradation. Here in the UK one of the major problems is that car seats are not correctly fitted. Isofix goes some way to solving this problem – but we currently have three different types – this should be the responsibility of car manufacturers. Also we have no comprehensive database of which seats should fit in which cars – meaning that you can only buy with confidence from a limited number of suppliers who fit the seat for you but of course charge a premium (and usually don’t stock cheaper seats).
BTW If 10 years is the maximum life for a seat why can you get seats that are suitable from 9 months to 11yr+

July 6, 2008 at 11:59 pm
(20) denise says:

I agree with Chad, I bought my 200$ Britax in 2002, and I never wrecked my car with it, and its in fine condition. I think the “expiration date” was designed to make sure people don’t buy just one seat for several kids. My brother-in law just told me he didn’t was the seat for his new baby because it expired….thats fine! Ill keep it for my next kiddo.

July 9, 2008 at 1:07 pm
(21) Lisa says:

Sorry, I had said much more but, alas email didn’t take… Ugh! Need a new comp. Here it is, go to http://www.ctsafekids.org for the latest on carseat safety and locations of clinics/workshops in your area. You can get FREE new carseats! So, if money is your issue… However most of you wouldn’t hesaitate to buy the latest (fill in the blank) Your children ARE the future! YOU decide there fate! Workshops are very informative even for seasoned parents. I attended myself and received a carseat. I’m a mother of 4 (26mo.- 13yrs.)You can still learn. Think of how quickly technology has changed. And they’re always improving. Could you look at yourself in the mirror if something fatal happened to one of your kids, nieces,nephews, grandkids,siblings, etc. knowing you could have prevented it. Play it safe. Good luck and God Bless!

July 9, 2008 at 9:32 pm
(22) Cindy says:

You can’t compare it to a toy left outside. That toy degrades b/c of its exposure to UV light. Cars windows filter most of the UV light so its not an equal senario. As for the heat and cold, that does degrade plastic but not in 5 years. Think about all the plastic cups/bottles/pitchers you put in your dishwasher (with bleach!). Is it weak after 5 years? i think not. The manufacturers are using our fears to make more money.

August 4, 2008 at 8:56 pm
(23) April says:

Well when I had my daughter two years ago the hospital told me that I wasn’t allowed to leave the hospital with my child unless I had a current carseat. Thank goodness the one that I had used with my son wasn’t expired yet(6 years). Personally I think that it should be illegal to sell used carseats. It is said that if you are in a car accident with the seat then you are supposed to throw it out. How am I supposed to know if the used carseat I buy hasn’t been in an accident? If you buy a carseat and then return it to the store it is illegal for them to sell it. They have to claim it as damaged goods. That is the law. I think people have to use their best judgement but there are things that I think shouldn’t be done like selling used carseats. If it is a law for retail stores to not resale them then maybe there is something to it. IMO

August 18, 2008 at 2:22 am
(24) imickey503 says:

*****Wow, April, That’s harsh! And as far as a sell by date, or expiration date on car seats, Here is the real deal:

1. If you wash your seat at least 5 times a year, the foam no longer can do it’s job of cushioning IMPACTS or COMFORT FOR YOUR KIDS!
If your like me, you wash it around once a month and sometimes more. INSPECT THE DAM THING!

2. The belts loose there elastic properties, become ruff. The lock mechanisms become worn after repeated use. (in as little as 1 year) And Milk is corrosive to the some of the parts used in the lock and fasteners. Also, the acids like from spit up can weaken a belt. HOWEVER! it should still be able to cope with a 20 lb kid for at least 7 years IN THE WORSE POSSIBLE CONDITIONS! (Hence the USE BY DATe)

3. The plastic is not going to wear out on you. IT’S your kid wearing out the plastic anchor points! Some of these points are as little as 2mm think NEW! Why so thin? to act as a “spring” or “cushion” for the impact or sudden deceleration. look for white stressed plastics at anchor points, and bright areas that look new from the uniformed faded areas in the belt. this could mean broken seams or stitches. (Again, not the end of the world, but i would think about replacement)

4. these are the most important. The seat belt Adjusters. The spring in the unit and the teeth (Jaws that clamp to the belt) become loose, worn and nonoperational. they may work okay around town. But when the force of a sudden stop becomes into play, The strap will fail and your kid might (MIGHT like might hit the front seat or roll out entirely after the crash) experience extra injury in the event of a crash. THESE ARE THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT items TO WORRY ABOUT! Why? You can’t tell when one of these are going to fail. (Hence the lawyer inspired use by date)

A car seat WILL last 30 years of operation as long as you follow the PMS card. And so will a 1981 Volvo seat. But even after 1 year of operation in a new car, you can feel the difference between new and old. So it also comes down to a comfort issue.

My kids ass is worth me shelling it out for a new one every year.

I am not good at upholstery’s. So I think I will leave that to some Pro (kid in china!) sewing the thing for my son.

As for used seats in general, We really are forgetting that some crack whore mom only uses the best of the free seats out there. Sad, but true… So without a constant supply of cheap high quality seats, allot if kids would be in danger out there with seats that do not fit them, or have to deal with no seat at all. Yea, the worlds kids are not mine, But it still tugs at my heart strings when there is some kid that sits in a car seat that’s so filthy it makes me want to cry

August 18, 2008 at 4:38 pm
(25) renee says:

Thanks for posting the NHTSA info. I am a certified tech and it is true that you should replace the seats after 6 years and also after a car crash. The structural integrity of the plastic wears down over time.

August 18, 2008 at 4:43 pm
(26) renee says:

Lisa is correct about searching safe kids. I am part of windham safe kids (in ct)so you will see my name in the NHTSA techs. We do offer car seats clinics and have seats available. Only thing is that SO many people think we give the seats free. If there are people that come and have financial issues, we may give them a seat. Most times we ask for donations. It kills me when repeat people come to clinics looking for free seats and not the safety of their kids. NEVER buy a second hand car seat. You never know if it was in a crash and may not be able to tell just by looking.

August 29, 2008 at 12:38 am
(27) Elizabeth says:

Wow. I did not realize that the expiration date of car seats was such a heated debate. Personally, I would rather be safe and will abide by the expiration date. But I do worry about the landfill issue. Is anyone working towards a recycling program for thse materials?

I agree that it is best to keep children rear facing as long as possible (I don’t think that is controversial, is it?) and wish I could do so longer, but we’d have to buy a big gas guzzler to have the room to do so and don’t know what we’re going to do when our second child outgrows her infant seat because of how hard it will be to fit a rear facing convertible in a side position, even for the short time it will be required, much less the additional time we would like to do so. Now there’s an environmental issue! It’s difficult to fit these big car seats into normal (e.g. small sedan) sized cars and most people “have to” have that big SUV or minivan. Of course in this age of excess most people think they “have to” have those ridiculous things anyway … but I digress. :)

One thing that struck me is the reactions I have gotten from car seat techs about my having a Britax seat. Most don’t seem to see the reason for it. I appreciate the additional safety features, including the ease of usability. At first I thought spending $300 was ridiculous, but after using it compared to a Graco, I have no regrets.

Finally, about buying used car seats. I agree that in most cases I would not consider it. I would definitely have to know the seller and have good reason to consider them to be completely trustworthy, but I also realize that we are fortunate that we can afford to be choosey. I would not hesitate to sell or donate an unexpired car seat when we are finished with it knowing it has not been in any accidents. There are people who cannot afford a new one and I would be providing them with a safe one.

August 29, 2008 at 9:49 pm
(28) momof2 says:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvCRz7BRAM0

10 year old car seat crash test. I’d rather KNOW my child is safer rather than assuming something is safe. My kids will never ride in expired seats.

September 16, 2008 at 11:20 am
(29) Delicia says:

When considering a new carseat check out http://www.healthycar.org

I was talking to the fireman (someone I see regularly to check my new car seat instalation) and he said statistics show rear-facing untill they are two … and yes, this will be rediculus for us to have bigger and bigger cars.

September 24, 2008 at 12:35 am
(30) diane says:

I understand the importance of throwing away an expired seat the only issue I have is all of these new seats that are supposed to last your child from rear-facing all the way through booster seat. They should not be advertised as lasting that long since they will expire before you child has outgrown them. So I really don’t see the point of these seats as they will not last and they won’t be the “only” seat you will ever need!

September 24, 2008 at 12:40 am
(31) Heather says:

Diane, you’re right. The car seats that are advertised as the only one you’ll ever need, but only last for 5 or 6 years, are deceptive. Most children will need three seats to get them through age 8 or so with a good fit the whole time, but the absolute minimum is generally two.

October 21, 2008 at 11:07 am
(32) S B says:

I thought it was interesting that car seat techs didn’t understand the purchase of a Britax. All the car seat techs who have helped install our Britax seats have been THRILLED that we have them. They have all said they are the safest out there – not easy to install correctly (which is why we took them to the car seat clinics to have someone help install them!).

This is obviously very volatile. We have spent money on three different Britax seats for our kids. The first was the Roundabout – which went through two kids and we used it the full six years. We have a Marathon and a Regent right now. My ds who is 7 will soon be moving to a booster seat because he will be getting too tall for the Regent.

Please keep in mind that weight and length are very important when determining carseat safety as well. Our Marathon will be sold because it will only be about 3 1/2 years old when we are done with it in a few months. And it is in excellent shape – has been in a van with tinted windows, not to mention that my girl is not harsh on anything. She also rarely spills anything in her carseat – and drinks only water. She will probably need a booster by the time she is 6, since she is so tall and growing rapidly (2 inches in just the last month!). So, that carseat will only be about 3 years old.

I too am concerned about the landfill and hope that we can figure out ways to protect children in vehicles that doesn’t mean creating such waste in our landfills. But, in the meantime – my kids will be in a Britax until they grow out of them! It’s worth the extra $ to know that they exceed US safety standards.

November 18, 2008 at 2:52 pm
(33) Kami says:

I just ran into this same issue with a local frecycle group. I had no idea either. I have 2 kids and I provide home daycare! YIKES! How could I have missed that one in the news??? So I go check the seat I am offering on Freecycle and NO DATE tobe found other than the manufacturer’s date of Sept 2002, so by the 6 yr rule….in the garbage it goes…guess I need to check the rest of the seats I have on hand for when I need to take children in my care with me someplace! Oh!

December 18, 2008 at 11:41 am
(34) amanda says:

I can’t believe some of you are arguing with the fact of CHILD SAFETY!??! It is illegal to sell expired carseats and insurance will not cover accident costs occured by expired carseats so I think Id rather spend $40 on a new seat than $4000 on ER bills. This is way over my head the comments some of you have made about carseats. I don’t know what to think. Are you really that hard for money that you don’t want to protect your child? Why would u even want to put your child in a carseat that is 10 yrs old?! They update and expire for a reason and its not just so they can take your money.

February 6, 2009 at 7:09 am
(35) nelson says:

car seats dont have expiration date given by the manufacturers, what they give is warranty for example that in 6 months to 1yr and the end user encounter any quality problems,the said car seat or other accessory parts will be replaced by the car dealer where the car owner bought the unit,im nelson from philippines

February 6, 2009 at 9:06 am
(36) Heather says:

Actually, Nelson, most U.S. car seats do have expiration dates listed in addition to the warranty time frame. This can be verified by contacting major U.S. manufacturers. Britax, Graco, Evenflo… they all expire. What varies is how that is labeled on the seat or in the manual.

March 2, 2009 at 5:16 pm
(37) Heather says:

It is understandable about the extreme weather changes changing the structual integrity of the plastics, but I dont leave my seat in the car I leave the BASE in the car therefore why cant you just buy a new base when the expiration date rolls in?

March 14, 2009 at 11:23 am
(38) Mary says:

Wow! My husband and I had never heard of expiration dates on carseats! We are so thankful for this information that is new to us! We would have never known. It sounds like a very important factor.

March 25, 2009 at 11:42 am
(39) Bridget says:

Why risk your childs life? Come on people- seriously! There are people out there who know a HECK of a lot more than we do, and they study these things to full extent. If you cant afford $100 to ensure your childs safety in the car, then maybe you shouldnt even have kids. There are even local organizations that give out free, and UNEXPIRED carseats! Call your local highway patrol and find out where you can get one.
I thought it was stupid myself, until a co-worker who is also a carseat tech, explained to me what happens, just like this article has.
But then again, if you ignore the expiration- dont be crying if you’re in an accident and your child is hurt or dies because you were too arrogant to replace the expired carseat. I hope it will haunt you for the rest of your life because you chose to ignore the warnings about expired carseats.
Sorry to sound so crude, but honestly, a new carseat is $50!! I know in this economy money is tight and we’re doing all we can to save money, but cut back on some things, like going out to eat, buying stuff you dont need, and buy your child a new and unexpired carseat.

March 25, 2009 at 12:06 pm
(40) Kim says:

I bought a Britax carseat that sat unopened in a box in a climate controlled house for 5 full years before I had a live baby to sit in it. You can tell me that once this carseat turned 6 years old it suddenly ceased functioning correctly. I continue to use it daily and will do so until my son outgrows it in a few years.

April 3, 2009 at 2:45 am
(41) Joy says:

Well I won’t argue nor debate but I will say if it is expired used or not my child(ren) WILL NOT ride in it nor will another child. I pray that more parents will agree with me that their child is more important than the landfill. Maybe suggest to the companies to start up a meltdown of the plastics in expired seats and have the meltdown molded into a sturdy carseat all over again.

April 5, 2009 at 11:06 pm
(42) Eugene says:

First of all, I never knew there was such a thing as a car seat tech. Are you serious? Okay, maybe for all the idiots out there who can’t read directions, but most of us can put a car seat in correctly. All of you self-righteous “I will never put my child in an expired car seat” people…do you also only let them eat and drink organic foods, keep them indoors on sunny days for fear of melanoma, etc.? Buying a large SUV will do more to protect your child in a crash than making sure a perfectly good seat is not “expired.” So how can all of you who drive Civics and Corollas live with yourselves knowing you are not doing all you can to protect your child?

May 7, 2009 at 6:58 pm
(43) Sarah says:

I agree with Eugene. I’m a frugal mom and I love my three sons more than anything. I’ve researched and worried and always looked for the best deal on the best product available. But when it comes right down to it, and since most of us agree that money is not even a factor when considering the safety of your children, the safest place for your child is in ANY decent carseat in the center of the middle row of a suburban (or something just as big). I love driving my Imapala around because I save on gas, but when the kids are with me, we take the biggest vehicle we can find!

May 8, 2009 at 1:49 pm
(44) April M says:

WOW!!! So many opinions! Car seats DO EXPIRE! I made them at Cosco, now Dorel Group. The plasic does become brittle, however *my opinion as a mother* an infant seat should be an exception as it does not stay in the vehicle, it goes everywhere you carry your infant and is not exposed to the extreme heat and cold that toddler seats are.
And with the mention od landfills… RECYCLE! Or find an organization in your area that will recycle it for you. Be safe and keep our kids safe.

May 16, 2009 at 12:36 pm
(45) Michael Dixon says:

This information may be correct, but it is the dumbest crap that I have heard lately. How can an expiration date have anything to do with a company going out of business unless they know when this is going to happen? If we need to change the straps than why don’t we have to change our regular seat belts every 5-7 years? This is just another way for these companies to get our money and that is all! Now I am hearing that you are not even allowed to take your baby home from the hospital unless you can show them a car seat first. Did I wake up this morning in Russia or North Korea or is this still America? Unbelievable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

June 23, 2009 at 4:09 pm
(46) Jen says:

I was just wondering if everyone who was going out to buy a new car seat was also going out to buy a NEW CAR as well?

July 11, 2009 at 6:54 pm
(47) Chris says:

It’s sad that we live in a society where people are so willing to fill landfills with plastic crap. I have no doubt that companies could build these things to last if they needed to with replaceable parts and some way of indicating when the plastic is getting fatigued.

It’s hard to blame the companies. The expiry dates help them sell more units, avoid legal issues and look like they’re safety-conscious. There’s no downside.

Whether due to peak oil, climate change or something else, the day will come when we simply can’t throw stuff out every few years. Then our children or our grandchildren will be forced to confront the issues we’re able to avoid.

To all of the zealots who USE CAPITAL LETTERS to SCREAM at people raising legitimate concerns about the waste generated by these hunks of plastic, I have a few suggestions:
If you really want your kids to be safer, drive less. Dump the suburban mansion and live closer to your work. Get them to walk to school. When you do drive, don’t speed and drive defensively. Whatever you do, don’t buy a bloodly land yacht. How you drive matters much more than what you drive.

When I look around at the ritalin-riddled, overweight kids, plagued with asthma and allergies, most of whom are driven everywhere, I kind of wonder:
Should expired child seats be at the top of everyone’s concerns?

July 20, 2009 at 9:28 am
(48) Common Sense says:

The discussion on car seat expiration dates makes no sense. Safety is always changing on any item sold – say even a car. They use the same materials as car seats but the mfg don’t put exp dates on the dashboard. Using something that met all safety requirements at the time of mfg should be usable until damaged. Besides, if the mfg were so bent on safety, why haven’t they figured out how to prevent a child’s head from almost killing them when sleeping in the seat. The best they can do is say don’t use the seat as a bed. And why are school buses exempt!

July 23, 2009 at 2:22 pm
(49) lack of common sense seems the norm but says:

but when it comes to our children, why take a chance? Thats what most parents are saying when accusing others of being stupid or what not. The reality is that companies are out to cover their own arses in this lawsuit happy society we live in, and why not, it benefits them and it benefits us. Mostt plastics industry pro’s i have talked to across teh world who supply the plastics admit that the expiry dates are very short for most of these products due to emotion, but they dont mind as they sell more plastic. But again, its just a bit more landfill right?

What we all should be doing instead of beating eachother up about whether these things expire, is pushing the manufacturers to make better seats out of materials that last longer and/or do not need to end up in the landfill nearly as much.

As for barely expired carseats, I’d rather a kid without one get to use it for awhile than it go to waste while the kid didnt have one at all. The videos are of some pretty old and more extreme cases of failure and pretty convincing though huh? Yet go live in a developig country for awhile and we will realise how lucky we are.

August 25, 2009 at 2:24 am
(50) mommyofmaddie says:

sorry Eugene, but you are way wrong. Statistics say that 90% of carseats are installed incorrectly, so obviously many people have a hard time getting a good install in their car.

Expired car seats are dangerous. There are a variety of carseats out there that can fit into any budget.

September 6, 2009 at 8:00 pm
(51) Jared says:

I’m not going to argue about car seats expiring, because ultimately, people assume they are right, everyone else is wrong, and therefore, debate on the internet is useless. People will still choose what they want to do, and find a way to justify it.

Ironically, I still wanted to point out that Eugene’s and Sarah’s comment’s about larger car’s being safer made me chuckle, in particular, the one about Civic and Corolla drivers not doing everything they can to protect their children.

First of all, regarding large SUVs. If they are on a traditional body on frame construction found in trucks, they are actually less safe than not only SUVs with car-like uni-body construction, but some passenger vehicles. It all depends on whether the SUV is equipped with side airbags.

As recently as the the 2008 model year, in tests performed by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, two Nissan SUVs, the Pathfinder and the Xterra, posted good ratings — the highest — but only when equipped with optional side airbags. Without the airbags, the vehicles earned marginal scores — the second worst on a four-rating scale: good, acceptable, marginal and poor.

The 4Runner, equipped with standard side airbags received a good rating. The side structure of the 4Runner, Pathfinder, and Xterra allowed less intrusion into the vehicle interior than other SUVs tested.

The Ford Explorer scored acceptable but impact intrusion into the vehicle contributed to the possibility of injury, despite standard side airbags that protect the torso and head.

Chrysler’s Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Chevrolet TrailBlazer, posted marginal scores. The two are equipped with standard side airbags for head protection but do not include similar technology for the torso. The Grand Cherokee scored the worst of all of the vehicles tested for resisting forces of the barrier.

This in addition to the higher incidence of rollover (as high as 25% for all side collisions and avoidance manuvers for the Trailblazer).

The Corolla had similar results (a side air bag improved side collision saftey…marginal w/o, good with).

The Civic gained a good in every category, with or without the side airbags.

None of these cars are bad. Driver behavior will always ultimately dictate the safety of the passengers. But there is a slight difference with an edge to mid size cars and small cars with all conditions being equal.

September 9, 2009 at 12:21 pm
(52) Vicki says:

Please recycle those old seats instead of throwing them in dumpsters. Check your local craigslist, safe kids organizations, or childrens hospitals for recycling information. I am a car seat tech but also recycle old seats here in Omaha. We’ve torn apart over 400 seats in the last year and recycled nearly 85% of the materials. If it’s not available, start your own! It’s SO rewarding to see hundreds of plastic shells lined up to be recycled vs just thrown in a landfill. Save our children, save our earth! You can email me at carseatmom@cox.net for further information.

September 14, 2009 at 5:26 pm
(53) Jane says:

Hey, maybe if you all stopped talking on your mobile phone and stopped texting while driving we wouldn’t need super duper car seats for safety.

October 11, 2009 at 1:47 pm
(54) momof boys says:

and yet people wonder why motor vehicle accidents are the number one KILLER of children in the US. Ignorance at its best! Go on, worry about landfills, your pocket books, and ritalin-riddled over weight kids, because yeah that’s NOT the big killer here people. Wake up, car seats are misused over 80% of the time and kids are dying from it because their parents are more worried about big companies bullying them into buying $$$$ seats every 6 years! booooohoooo maybe you shouldn’t have had kids in the first place if money is grater than their safety? What new car seats? nahhh I’m going to sit here and cry about it online on my computer rather than waste my precious time and money on safety.

October 20, 2009 at 11:06 am
(55) Worriedmommy says:

I am still a little confused. My son was born in 2005, I now have a newborn and my uncle who is a former police officer informed me about expiration dates. Okay now I have read car seats are good for six years from the year it was manufactured and then I have read to follow expiration date which would make my car seat 8 years old since it was made in 2001, but the expiration date says 2011….so what should I go by???

November 6, 2009 at 8:30 pm
(56) Ladyg says:

Go by the exp date on the car seat.

And frankly, I am saddened by the judgemental people’s comments. Virtually ANY car seat is safer than NO car seat, used or not.

Not everyone has the money to treat car seats as disposable.

Most manufacturer’s offer parts so that you can refurbish the ones you have for quite some time. Including seat padding, covers, belts, buckles, etc. So you can get a state of the art car seat from 6 years ago and essentially make it new.

I would not recommend one from 10 years ago really, but if its all you’ve got its still better than no car seat.

December 10, 2009 at 1:20 pm
(57) Sheeple says:

Typical fearmongering. Never mind the facts, just say “think about the children!!!” over and over.

Even though the proof shows that the imaginary arbitrary 5-6 year date is bunk, if you yell enough that you must hate your children to not chuck seats out like mad then you can drown out any reasonable disagreements by portraying your opponents as monsters.

Hey, if you REALLY loved your kids, why take chances? Switch seats once a month just to make sure and give these “bad” ones to people without your extreme disposable income?

December 10, 2009 at 1:31 pm
(58) Heather says:

How do you explain the crash test footage of the 10-year-old car seat that essentially falls apart upon impact, if this concept is largely imaginary?

December 22, 2009 at 2:18 pm
(59) newdaddy says:

babyproducts…

Is there any data out there using the same tests with a new car seat? You can make a test to break anything, but you always need a control. I’d like to see the same test done on a new seat and see how it holds up.

December 23, 2009 at 3:26 pm
(60) Heather says:

Yes, you’re correct, you can make perfectly good seats fail if you crash them hard enough. However, I believe this video was a crash test at the same speed as those used to test new car seats. So, the comparable testing would be the tests that are required to pass any car seat for sale in the U.S.

January 3, 2010 at 7:46 am
(61) Dee says:

Come on people! Other than keeping your little one in place instead of rolling around the car while you’re driving, a carseat is little protection, when you come right down to it. A SAFE DRIVER is Better! How are you doing in that area???

So get over yourself and put down your cell phone, butt out those smelly cigarettes (and you say you love your child…like being in a burning car with no way out), turn off or down the distracting and loud music (probably inappropriate anyway), and become a SAFE driver for your loved ones. Now there is your best protection for your loved ones. And, IT’S FREE and DOES NOT EXPIRE.

January 13, 2010 at 1:23 am
(62) Concerned says:

Is there any data of how many injuries/deaths have occurred from using expired car seats?

January 26, 2010 at 12:39 pm
(63) Ann says:

PLEASE people! Carseats expire? That is absurd – it’s just for the manufacturer to cover their butts. And right on, Dee – people should be safer drivers. Only about 30 years ago did people even USE carseats and sometimes we sat on the tops of tape cases so we could look out the window better. If my carseat is working well and doesn’t have any visible problems, then I will go on and use it. I also believe that some of these “rules” are for companies to MAKE more money. Think about it, folks.

February 5, 2010 at 10:28 pm
(64) beth says:

I have three daughter’s 29, 26, and 19. Now, does anyone remember what the safety measure were back then. My youngest daughter was in fifth grade when they decided children had to be in car seats until they reach 85 pounds. In sixth grade she was 75 pounds. She didn’t suffer any harm by not being in a car seat. As a matter of fact, car manufacturers said she was allowed in the fron seat with an air bag at age 12. Remember the shole decapitation thing with the airbags. Of course, I had car seats for my children, but there was never all this controversy about an expiration of car seats. Since I had no baby things when my third daughter was born almost everything I had for her came from garage sales including cribs. My daughters never suffered any injuries et cetera from any baby gear or products I had. Look at what they’re saying about BPA in plastics. They’re saying that causes some kind damage. I don’t believe the crap they’re saying about expiration although I wouldn’t put a child in a car seat that was unsafe. I babysit my niece n nephew n they’re always safe. I think things like car recalls are more important than this car seat bs. I’m still alive. my daughters are still alive. Do you know that taxis don’t even require you to have a car seat!!! That’s all I have to say. Food for thought.

February 6, 2010 at 11:03 pm
(65) babyproducts says:

Reminder: I appreciate all of you taking the time to add your opinions here, but if your comment includes profanity or resorts to name-calling, it will be deleted.

February 7, 2010 at 10:19 pm
(66) Heather says:

I am a little shocked by those individuals not willing or able to accept the recommendations of professionals who’s goal it is to keep children safe. As a paramedic for the past 10 years, the motor vehicle collision related pediatric fatalities I have encountered have all been due to improperly or inadequately restrained children. In fact, of those fatalities, 4 were determined to be due to car seat failure. Three of those fatalities were in car seats older than 6 years.

I have also been to countless catastrophic crashes where the child survived with very little or no injury due to properly installed car seats. Prior to child restraint laws, children were frequently killed or severely injured in car crashes.

It is very surprising that people believe that because something bad hasn’t happened to them yet, it never will. The people I care for are often shocked that they are in the situation they are in. Ignorance does not improve your child’s chances of survival. Car seats are intended to be used correctly.

February 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm
(67) Mom of 4 and Nana of 2 says:

I just washed the cover of my 3 year olds car seat and felt a rough spot on the bottom of the seat. Looking closely I found that it was the expiration date stamped into the seat. She has been riding in a seat that expired in December 2009 and I didn’t even know there was such a thing!! I got out our extra seat that I purchased at a yard sale last summer and looked for the date on it but didn’t find one so I got online to look it up and found this site. WOW…some of you people are NUTS!! I totally don’t understand why there is any debate about this at all unless you just don’t care about your children at all! I do thank you for your information. The extra seat…which we rarely use…has a date of 6/23/2001. I will never purchase another used seat again after reading some of the links posted here.

March 21, 2010 at 2:33 pm
(68) Mommy of two!! says:

I just got a Peg Perego Car seat and it was made June 2005 do i still have some time until it expires, it dosnt say on the seat and my daughter will only be in it for another 2 to 3 months….should i worry about it??
And OMG to anyone who does not care about their childrens safety, I am a 23 year old mother of two and i have more sense then that. Spend the damn $200.00 on a new carseat and then sell it when your done. if you have two or more years left on the expiry you could get $100 for it. STOP BEING SO DAMN CHEAP.

March 24, 2010 at 9:17 am
(69) C says:

“Life saving advice”? What a joke. This is the dumbest thing ever and simply a way for companies to make more money.

April 6, 2010 at 4:31 pm
(70) Jason D. says:

If this is so, then why the hell are carseats so expensive. You are going to pay for a carseat average $200 each and they are only going to last for 6 years? It should last way longer than that if the price is so rediculous.

April 8, 2010 at 6:56 pm
(71) Shea says:

Everyone seems to have their own opinion on all of this. But, no one ever asks the child. My husband and I are students, so our family doesn’t have a ton of income to waste. We are very conscious with our financial abilities, and are very aware of landfills pollution. We have a budget for everything, from grocery shopping to fuel. When you only have so much to spend, you have to be careful…

We have 1 little girl, whom we love and adore more than any earthly possession. Before we had our daughter, my husband and I both agreed that any child we bring in to this world didn’t ask for us, but they will depend on us to make the best possible decisions for them. Safety, health, academics…in every way. Carseats are a part of that safety. We don’t have extra to waste, but her safety is worth us going without on something else. I don’t care what I have to give up, I would do anything to give her the best possible chance. I would never forgive myself if I decided that something else was more important than a new carseat, and she were injured. When I see her sweet little smile, I just know she was worth every penny. Money is so replaceable. Her life is not.
The landfills in our area sweep through all of the trash, everything. Everything that is plastic goes in to the recycle bins. They separate everything for us, it’s great. If you remove all of the parts of the car seat and take the plastic to a recycler, they will take it to melt down/recycle. It’s plastic. :)
For those of you who are complaining about it being fine… you say that now, but all the rationalizing in the world won’t bring back a child killed in a car accident. I would be ashamed to tell my child that their life wasn’t worth the money to get a safe car seat, especially when the child doesn’t have a choice.
I know that plastic should, and normally does, last longer than 6 years, but is it really worth chancing your child life on it. Recycle the old, and strap in the New.
Just another little note for all of you “BIG CAR” and “Big SUV” people out there… The only reason why you might think you will be safer in those cars is because they are so big, but it’s not any safer if everyone has big cars. It’s actually more dangerous. The bigger the vehicle, the more force it has upon impact. Would you feel good, if that little family you slammed in to with your huge SUV was killed because you thought you were more safe. Not to mention the horrible pollution those bring as well. Talk about landfill waste.
The key to safety is driving safely and being aware of your surroundings. Just because you drive safe doesn’t mean you are safe, because there are always people that aren’t driving safe. Until you don’t drive over the speed limit, stop for 3-5 seconds at stop signs, never talk on the phone or text while driving, and don’t listen to music, you are contributing to unsafe driving.
Get a good, safe carseat for your child… recycle it when it’s “time” is up, and drive safe. For you, for me, and most of all, for our children who are indeed a very bright future. :)

April 8, 2010 at 7:03 pm
(72) Shea says:

Oh, one last little thing to add to my last comment….

For all of you out there that are in your 40′s 50′s 60′s or above, that are saying something along the lines of “We never sat in carseats” or “We used our carseats for 7-10-15 years, and everything was always fine”, back in your day you also didn’t have 8000 pound vehicles that could drive 120 mph or faster, thousands of cars all the time, and cell phones.
Trying to compare the safety of carseats today, even to the 90′s is so completely irrelevant, that it could be likened to comparing the plastic wheel of a hotwheels toy car to the rubber of an tire actual vehicle on the streets today.
Are time goes by, more things are made more efficiantly, better, and with less error than the day before. That’s the beauty of technology. It is constantly improving everything. :)

April 25, 2010 at 2:03 pm
(73) Kate says:

I have two car seats from 2004 that I would like to donate somewhere and find it ifrustrating that they are considered unsafe. Unsafe compared to WHAT? I drive through a very disadvantaged part of a major urban area every day on my commute. The number of young children (1-6 years old) who are NOT in ANY kind of restraint is horrifying – no car seat, no seatbelt, nothing. My 6 year old daughter is still in a Britax five-point harness car seat and will be for a bit – she is still in the weight and height range for her car seat. But why is a 6 year old car seat not better than NO CAR SEAT at all?!? ugh, it drives me nuts!

May 19, 2010 at 6:07 pm
(74) Teane says:

Grandma buys a carseat…uses it 3 times…keeps it in her spareroom at normal temperature.
6 years later another Grandchild comes along…Grandma takes her carseat out puts it in her car and buckles Johnny in it. UH OH… Grandma is not in compliance with the expiration date that someone pointed out to her. NOW, if Grandma doesn’t take Johnny out and buy a new “safer” one she MUST NOT love Johnny. Phoooey!!!
Amazing that we don’t have a law which says all cars expire after 10 years…or… all cars that have been in any kind of accident must go to a wrecking yard. Safety first you know.
This stupidity reminds me of..
Women who are against abortion..but then stand on street corner with HUGE pictures of chopped up babies for backseat riding babies up to 7 years old to see. OR………
Pro choice…that by law..has “no choice” but to wear a seatbelt…”Click it or ticket” you know.
I for one am tired of it all.
There are always going to be those that cross the line….those who can’t afford new…those who are oblivious to cleanliness….those who drug/drink and drive and those…..who like my parents….got all us kids in the front and back seat (without seatbelts and lit cigarettes. Cough Cough…I am surprised I don’t have cancer…yet…from second hand smoke. So why don’t we have a NO SMOKING WHILE DRIVING WITH KIDS IN THE CAR?
I think it’s a money making effort myself.
Is this an actual law? Can someone be taken to court or is it just a guideline by the manufacturer?

May 30, 2010 at 7:50 am
(75) Jim says:

People should not be allowed to drive cars after 6 years. They should all have expiration dates as well. Imagine how dangerous it is to drive a car over 6 years old and place your whole family in danger as well as everyone else on the road.

Only very irresponsible, uncaring parents would ever place their children in a car over 6 years old.

June 5, 2010 at 2:50 am
(76) Cindy says:

If the expiration date meant a car seat was unsafe to use & had to be destroyed, why would car manufacturer’s continue to produce & sell vehicles with built in car seats? Do you think car manufacturer’s are going to monitor the various expiration dates of the seats in each vehicle & then notify not only the current owners, but all future owners of the vehicle, to never use the car seat again? And how would they be able to guarantee that the car seat would never be used again? Do you really think that car manufacturer’s would set themselves up for that type of liability?

I also agree with Jim….would you replace your car if it expired 6 years after being built? Like Jim said, once cars reach that age, they start to deteriorate & they, too, could be unsafe to use.

We all have heard or seen reports of injuries or deaths in auto accidents that were a direct result of the person not wearing a seat belt.

If car seats over 6 years old are soooo dangerous & unsafe, where are the all the reports of the number of injuries or deaths to children that were a direct result of the child riding in an expired car seat? I can’t find any…..wonder why?

Come on people….use some common sense here. Inspect your seats often. & replace them when damaged or if they have been in an accident.

June 5, 2010 at 4:11 am
(77) H says:

If the vehicle manufacturer set an expiration date for a built-in car seat, that information would be found in the vehicle owner’s manual. It’s up to the manufacturer of the car seat to determine the expiration. Since built-in car seats are made differently (usually little or no plastic, just extra harness that is like a seatbelt), they’re not all that comparable to a regular car seat.

Even if they did have an expiration date, it would not be the vehicle manufacturer’s job to track down all future owners, just like it’s not the car seat manufacturer’s job to track down expired car seats. The information is available on the seat or in the owner’s manual, and it’s up to the owner to check that out.

As for whether or not I’d replace my car after 6 years… I generally follow the recommendations of the manufacturer, particularly when it comes to safety items. If the vehicle manufacturers all said that their crash testing showed the vehicle became less safe after 6 years, then yes, I’d be getting a new vehicle, because I know that car crashes are a very real risk.

That’s actually a silly argument, though, since vehicles and car seats are two completely different items, which are manufactured in completely different ways, from different materials. That’s like saying you should throw away your television each week because bananas go bad in that timeframe.

June 14, 2010 at 7:45 pm
(78) Ben, car seat tech says:

A few points:
1. Fellow car seat techs, while well intentioned, can be extremely off putting. Remember your training! It is up to the caregiver to make crucial decisions regarding selection and use of car seats- not up to you! We help them by offering CONSIDERATE guidance -not by preaching and boasting of your own personal choices. An anecdote about catching flies and honey comes to mind.
2. Misuse/ lack of use of car seats is a far bigger issue to ME than an arbitrary date of expiration. What good is a brand new $300 seat if it isn’t properly installed?
3. The car seat tech program includes a handbook with worksheets and also relevant articles and studies in the field. One such study indicates the remarkable safety provided by car seats when reused AFTER a crash! Not the first recommendation they nor I might make but really, who would have thought? The info is out there and watching youtube can only loosely be described as ‘research’. Look elsewhere.
Another related point to #3^^^^^^ It seems the point of publishing the study was to stop people from discontinuing use of a questionable seat without replacing said seat. I fear the confusion around exp. dates may set this effort back a bit.

June 17, 2010 at 12:10 am
(79) Wendy says:

I would never personally put my children in harms way, but do you think it may be just another easy way for these companies to make $$$$$. Yes I believe that everything eventually wears out if not cared for. But what about some of these people driving around in cars that are 10 -15 years old, never really knowing when it is going to die and and break down potentially harming their loved ones as well as others. I believe that it is the responsibility of the parent ( if infact they are truley caring individuals) and make sure their childrens car seats are in good shape. I am all about safety 100%, but think that 10 years is probably more like it. Come on perego – 5 years??? Those italians are smart money makers….If they are supposed to manufacture one of the best products out there for our children, why do they only last for 5 years…you can do better than that. DO their strollers have an expiration date?? They are out in the sun and elements much more and the plastic must wear out in a year or two? wouldn’t ya think…I think they need to go back to making the pasta only if they can’t handle the car seats…BTW, I have lots of perego items. Two single stollers travel systems, and a double travel system. I love them and will continue using my car seats until I think they are no longer safe. I would never put my kids in harms way. BUCKLE UP EVERYONE and take care of your precious cargo

June 17, 2010 at 12:26 am
(80) Wendy says:

I with you Ben…if they can’t properly install a new $300.- carseat. How safe are their children. Not only that, I have seen parents not even know how to properly fasten the dam belt… I have seen babies in seats where the sliding chest latch piece is down around their crotch. I stopped them and showed them what they were doing wrong. Their baby was 7 months old. They had been doing this for so long. If a carseat is properly installed you will never want tp remove it..It is very hard to put back in. That is how tight it should be installed…This is ususaly a two person job….Re check all your manuals and make sure you are correctly adjusting your childs seat..Gob bless all the little children and keep them safe.. Peace

June 25, 2010 at 4:35 pm
(81) Bobina Loblaw says:

There’s a lot of talk about plastics degrading here, but the quote from the Graco rep. clearly states that this is not the primary concern and that the rumours about plastic degrading are, well, just rumours.

One of the concerns the article mentions is the changing safety standards. Unfortunately, to figure out if the car seat you have is still safe, you’ll need to find out what changes have been made to the safety standards since your seat and if those changes apply to your seat.

I think the choice is clear: spend time researching and learning, or take the easy path and replace your seat.

July 16, 2010 at 8:14 pm
(82) Joe Parent says:

Wendy (79) I am with you.

I will not buy something new because safety standards have changed, they change every flippen year, and each study proves the other one incorrectly.

I understand you want the best for your child, but come on. I am not going to go buy a new car because the new one has 10 air bags instead of 9. Give me a break.

Common sense, doing your homework, reading the manual, and yes 10 years I think is a good timeframe. We are planning to have six children, I will not buy three car seats for all of em unless there is a recall.

July 16, 2010 at 8:57 pm
(83) babyproducts says:

Just a friendly reminder that personal attacks aren’t OK in this venue. You’re welcome to your opinions, but you need to state them without profanity.

July 29, 2010 at 9:25 am
(84) Penny says:

I think it is about money. If it was extremely safe in 2004, then it’ll still be extremely safe in 2011. For example: the car seat doesn’t sit in the sun for seven years! And, realistically, the accident itself is what should be avoided. And if a car accident does happen, there is no totally bullet proof protective gear. Accidents happen.

Common sense needs to start prevailing in our country; we don’t need salespeople doing all of our thinking for us.

Sorta like the sunblock strength—-after a certain level of protection, it really doesn’t make a difference and isn’t worth spening extra on. What does make a difference is putting a hat on when it’s sunny and etc.

August 31, 2010 at 2:28 pm
(85) Mr Dad says:

In a hotter climates like arizona they tend to go bad quicker, you should remove the fabric and smell the seat, if it has a wet dog / rancid smell, you should replace it. The recommended method to destroy the old seat is to put it down the garbage disposal. Please, this will ensure, no others will pick the seat up from a landfill and try to utilize it.

Note masking the smell with baby powder, nu car scent or fre-breeze may work but the may cause your car to become infected as well. I recently answered a readers question, who had bought a second hand minivan with a car seat already equipped. Weeks later the smell was unbearable.

The best way to keep a fresh car seat is to place it in the deep freezer when not in use, preferably a large reach in located in the garage. DO NOT keep the seat alongside meat, especially chicken as it may aquire salmonella. Also try wiping the seat down with a mixture of half rice vinegar and half butter (non hydrogenated please!) before storage for the night. This will keep the sheen on the seat as well as help your little one “SLIDE IN” more easily. No more of the kid trying to bounce themselves into the seat, they will just slide in.

For more tips and ideas, visit Startha Merwarts website.
Todays review “Living cactus fences to keep the kids safe, how to grow and install your own”

August 31, 2010 at 2:52 pm
(86) Mr Dad. says:

First, Heather Corley, thank you for the review.

To everyone else, a bit of common sense.
To build a car seat that doesn’t have a expiration date, I’m sure would be much more expensive than the $25 dollars the cheap ones go for at Wal-Mart, and yes I have one of those, for a spare.

With as Lawsuit crazy as many people are, the manufacturers have to put an expiration date, otherwise, I could pick up a 12 year old seat, have a minor accident, show the crack in the seat and sue the company. Again, Common sense.

If you can not afford a new seat, use the old seat till you can afford one. A slightly “expired seat” is better than none at all, but you should try to get an updated seat if funds allow, Tires wear out, brakes, and evidently so do car seats, even if just to ensure lawsuits don’t come back on the manufacturer.

I do miss the days of rolling around in the back of the van on 3 day trips with the family. But we live in a different time now.

August 31, 2010 at 6:39 pm
(87) CL says:

Wow it’s great to see all the self righteous come out to roost. I certainly hope every single one of you parents followed medical advice to the utmost last syllable, had your child without any drugs (completely natural), and only fed your child breastmilk for the full 12 months recommended and then switch them to organic whole foods. Oh yeah–and no toys from China or anything containing lead paint and make sure you have removed all of the asbestos and lead paint from every surface in your home or anywhere you or your child may go.

Really people….

Maybe there should be a little bit more responsibility–like check the car seat for wear….just like you would anything else that you own. Maybe slow down, put down the cell, stop texting, eating, reading, putting on makeup, putting on clothes, and shaving while driving, and pay attention to what the heck you are supposed to be doing.

Seriously…..

September 7, 2010 at 7:59 am
(88) Heather says:

Just a quick comment: My husband works in plastic and says that it would take a very long time (100′s of years) for plastic to disintegrate and become unsafe. Infant seats are carried inside and most of the time are not even left in the car or environment. I truly believe they should not expire and that it is totally a money thing…..

September 14, 2010 at 5:56 pm
(89) cindy says:

one thing i have to add to this…is i had a car seat inspector actually tell me that if the car seat is NEVER used within that 6 years you can actually still use it. but like i said if it’s NEVER BEEN USED.

September 17, 2010 at 6:26 pm
(90) Carol H says:

Loving some of the comments about evil parents not buying brand new seats the minute after they’ve had them 6 years, but the winner is imickey with

“As for used seats in general, We really are forgetting that some crack whore mom only uses the best of the free seats out there”

Sensational stuff!!

September 19, 2010 at 3:39 pm
(91) Dan says:

Whew! What a tempestuous discussion here!

I just got a free car seat at a garage sale, not having any idea about carseat expiry dates. Sure enough, this one expires in three months, but our babe’s not due for six months. Oh well, at least it was free. We have decided to keep it for use around the house and maybe in conjunction with a stroller etc. Then, we will cut the straps and hand it over to a carseat recycler.

Thanks for all your input!

September 28, 2010 at 10:44 pm
(92) mother of 3 says:

i’m a mother of a 2yr old tod and 2 6mth-old twins. My family own a MPV (7 seater). I have always wonder how should i should position the 3 car seats. I am currently resorting to carrying one of the bbs when I’m out with my family. I also have 2 helpers at home.

October 13, 2010 at 2:48 pm
(93) Lori Tucker says:

I can understand all that has been stated here. My thoughts are on the infant car seats that are only used for a couple of months then put away inside a house closet for 6 years and never having been exposed to extreme conditions. Would that car seat not still be good without the plastic breaking down? I think that there should be a way for parents to have their car seats inspected and if they pass inspection, have a new expiration date put on it.

I have a consignment store and many low income parents can’t afford new car seats. I feel terrible when they need one badly and I can not sell one to them because it is expired. I would like to see a way for these low income families and/or second hand stores to have used childrens equipment tested and new expiration dates applied if they pass inspection. That’s just my opinion.

October 16, 2010 at 11:18 am
(94) shannon says:

some of people amaze me, your words you use calling people “idots”, grow up… People can have different opinions and it is not for you to judge, do what you want and what makes you feel safe. There are some of you out there who have made some good solid points on both sides of the spectrum. For those of you out there who are in an up roar beacuse of someone making a different decision, obviously you have too much time on your hands. Relax, what are you going to do when your child arrives.

October 29, 2010 at 4:44 pm
(95) Mom2B says:

Wow, I came to this looking for information that I found but the comments range from sensical on both sides to shocking. I normally agree that if it’s newly expired etc maybe it’s ok, but as someone who has a different situation some of the comments seemed harsh to me. For example in my case I only use public transportation or sometimes ride with family due to visual imparement so for me it’s important to have a newer carseat for the fact that I’m not the one driving I have to count on other people to keep my baby safe. This means i’m going to learn how to put it in any car as securly as possible. To attack people who want to buy a new one especially in the case that the one i bought from someone they never gave me a direct answer on accidents seems like you want to label everyoparrent full of themselves. All we all want to do is our best.

November 1, 2010 at 9:57 pm
(96) Jaclynn says:

ALright, first of all…did anyone notice that this debate has been going on for like 3 years!!??

im a mother of 2 with #3 on the way, and i found out about expired car seats a few months ago. (though ive always bought new ones for my babies)

I guess i just dont really care whos right. Do car seats expire??? – apparently they do, but who really knows.

All i know, is that the staff at the hospital wont discharge me and my newborn unless i have a non-expired car seat in good working order.

i’m certainly not going to put down any parents that choose to put their kids in expired car seats. AND i CErTAINLY am not going to question their love or concern for their children!!

November 9, 2010 at 4:49 pm
(97) Betti says:

Okay, so obviously, I don’t think anyone can debate the fact that car seats expire. They get a little stamp, right? And there’s proof that the plastic gets brittle after ten years. Sure. I do wonder, though, why none of the crash tests seem to be done with five or six year old car seats (as per the expiration) and all of them are done on ten+ year old seats. If the seat expires after six years, there should be a reason behind it. Otherwise the expiration should be ten years instead of five.

As to mothers hating their kids if they don’t immediately go out and get a new seat, that’s ridiculous. I’m about to have my second baby. With my first, we had a brand new travel system. Hundreds of dollars spent on a car seat that we used (in an actual vehicle) about four times. This time around, my fiance has lost his job and we’re strapped for cash, trying to re-get everything we need for a baby because we’d already gotten rid of everything our son outgrew. And lo and behold, we got a used Peg Perego seat. Come to find out it expires just about two months after the baby is due. Peg Perego has an expiration of FIVE years after manufacture date, not six. So, should I waste even more money, plastic, etc, and go out and buy another seat.. or continue to use it probably a whole two months or so past its expiration date, when my baby will be about four months and too big for the thing, when I’ll need to buy ANOTHER car seat?

November 10, 2010 at 11:37 pm
(98) Adam says:

Thank you all. I needed a good laugh.

November 21, 2010 at 2:27 pm
(99) doodlelou says:

I think we can all agree that everyone who commented only wants the best for their children, safety while riding in cars, and otherwise. The manufacturers market these high priced car seats and prey on new parents to pay the money IF they want the best for their child.

I have two $300 car seats for my children that I bought 6 years ago and my older child just went over the weight limit for his. My other child, 5 years old, is still in his as he won’t go over the weight limit anytime soon. Is it really necessary for me to spend another $100 or more on a decent car seat when the one we have is in great shape? I don’t think so.

When I moved my older son to a booster I felt really anxious about it as it just sits on the back seat and the regular seat belt is used. That to me seems so much more unsafe than an outdated car seat.

I agree with other posters that mention our own seatbelts, why aren’t we replacing those after a certain number of years? Or what about airbags? I’ve never been in an accident but I have to wonder if they would deploy in my 7 year old car if I was. And these are safety devices for ourselves, the drivers. What if they failed and we were severly hurt?

I never knew about expiration dates for my car seats either. Funny that the manufacturers forget to tell you that part when you’re shelling out hundreds of dollars for their product. If they did, they might lose alot of business to the cheaper car seat companies.

November 22, 2010 at 7:50 pm
(100) mexifin says:

If a kids car seat is made of plastic and only lasts so long,
99 % of automobiles on the road are unsafe???
Car dash,seats,innerdoors,ect.

November 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm
(101) alfadora says:

Car Seats Expire?????????

We will soon have to buy new cars after they expire, sigh.
In the meantime my old car must be a flaming wreck and not roadworthy. Teeth chattering 0o
~

December 8, 2010 at 2:26 pm
(102) Cindy Van Neste says:

Heather can I have permission to put this in a local insert we do quarterly for Early Childhood?

Thanks,

Cindy

January 2, 2011 at 12:14 am
(103) Mama-2-3 says:

It seems to me that people are so concerned about these infant carseats, and wether or not they expire, and the safety of the babies and so on..
But nobody seems to be going on any rants about toddler carseats or boosters. In fact, i knew that inafant carseats expired, but i had no idea about boosters, so i had to look it up. And in fact, they do.
I know my 5 year old and 2 year old kids are just as important as my 3 week old baby!

January 30, 2011 at 3:29 am
(104) pstofcdrpbox says:

This ought to raise some eyebrows…
http://www.ted.com/talks/steven_levitt_on_child_carseats.html

On that note, what is the mandate of ALL corporations, is it not to maximize profits to meet the eager desires of the shareholders? or am I mistaken…

February 1, 2011 at 6:28 pm
(105) Melissa says:

All the comments posted are valid. I believe it comes down to this: Which would bother you more? Dealing with the outcome of an accident in an expired seat OR spending the money (all be it rather expensive I agree) every 6yrs to make sure my child was as safe as possible. My child didn’t ask to be brought into this world. It is my job has his parent to protect him. I’d rather spend the money & keep him safe then live with a lifetime of regret if I put him in an expired seat & got in an accident.

February 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm
(106) amom says:

My kids were in an accident in 15 year old car seats. The car flipped 6 times. The carseats did their jobs just fine and my kids walked away. Use yiou good sense. This stupid caseat expiration date nonsense is simply a regulation to line the pockets of carseat manufacturers. Period.

February 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm
(107) Ashley says:

So you are saying that I have to buy a new car seat because I could get something better later? So the car seat that my child is sitting in is safe today but not tomorrow because there are new technology out there? What about my car? Is it not safe because there are now safer ones out on the road? Does this sound crazy to anyone else?

February 8, 2011 at 10:33 pm
(108) Kathy says:

If the expiration date on the carseat is 2011 is it not good now or at the end of 2011?

February 21, 2011 at 8:18 pm
(109) Great Dad says:

Here’s a question…if my Graco Snug Ride infant car seat is ‘expired,’ then why didn’t Graco also ‘expire’ the base that the seat fits into? There’s nothing molded on the plastic, and no sticker, to indicate it ever expires.

Now, keep in mind, if I buy a new infant car seat, I have to buy a new stroller, and two new bases as well, as the stroller and bases I bought five years ago aren’t compatible with the new Snug Ride designs…

I did, however, just buy a new SnugRider stroller. It is essentially a metal frame on stroller wheels on which a Snug Ride infant carseat snaps. Lo-and-behold, my 5-year old Snug Ride car seat fits it perfectly! Should this stroller accept ‘expired’ seats?

March 2, 2011 at 9:52 am
(110) Christy says:

Each carseat manufacturer should be required to have a BIG, Bright Orange label on each carseat box stating that this product will expire 5 years from the date it was manufactured (listing the manufacture date clearly) and is deemed worthless at that point!

March 15, 2011 at 7:03 pm
(111) ryan says:

I wonder if the Driver & Passenger seats that came with the car expire? Would that mean the car is not safe after 6 years? Why can’t we just have cars come with fold out car seats, that way they’ll never expire! My 1989 VW still runs great and the seat belts are still safe. My kids ride the bus without seat belts or car seat… the marketing companies have some people hooked.

March 24, 2011 at 7:53 pm
(112) JD says:

There sure seems to be a lot of high and might people out there anxious to criticize the “parenting” of others… Many of them seem to be suckers to the marketing departments of car seat manufacturers. Of course they are going to say a seat expires in 5 years or so… It cuts the chances of liability on their part in half, and it gets suckers out there to buy more car seats. It is a win-win for them. Common sense people, common sense. Dont use a 12 year old car seat, but dont buy one every 4 years to be on the “safe side”…

April 2, 2011 at 6:13 pm
(113) Angelo says:

“Do you drink milk past the expiration date?”

Yes, if it tastes fine. If I can determine the milk is still good, I don’t have to follow the date. The date is just a guideline.

What if I had a car seat in a box for 5 years? I couldn’t turn around and use it for another 5 years? I’m sure if the 6 year limit isn’t just a convenient way to get people to buy new, it’s taking into account usage and wear and tear. As mentioned earlier it seems the plastic is good for at least 10 years.

The car seat I bought was manufactured last year I’m guessing because the date on it is 5 years from now, not 6. So the store can also sit on these car seats for a certain length of time. I had no idea it would “expire” until I brought it home and opened the box. I think the expiration should be on the outside of the box.

As with anything else, use your best judgment and if you are in any doubt whatsoever, err on the side of safety.

May 20, 2011 at 7:54 pm
(114) Momma says:

Wow. It’s an extra $50 dollars every six years. Yes, it could be part of the manufacturer’s ploy to keep you buying carseats, but wow. You could collect $50 in pop cans over a couple months if you don’t have the money in your pocket.

This is obviously a personal choice for each parent. There will always be guidelines offered. It is up to each parent to use their common sense as to whether they need to run out and buy a new car seat the day the old carseat expires.

July 11, 2011 at 3:11 pm
(115) Zach says:

If you think you can’t afford a new car seat, how can you afford to have kids?

July 16, 2011 at 1:34 am
(116) Gerry says:

Interesting comments and perspectives. Not being a chemical engineer I can’t comment with any expertise on plastic breakdown but perhaps the following may relate: Car tires are made of rubber and apparently deteriorate with time even if they are not on the car and may be stored in your garage. There was a news story about a young student who was driving with newly installed tires and went off the road. Test results later strongly suggested the accident was likely caused by a tire failure. Tires now are date stamped and it is advised that everyone ensure they are not buying “new” tires that are more than 4 years old as the garage may be selling aged stock. Visually, you likely wouldn’t be able to tell. Similarly, unused paint ages because the polymers break down. I had used old aged paint once before with unsatisfactory covering results. I was recently advised against using paint I had that was some 10 years old, still in unopened containers, left over from when we built the house as it may not give satisfactory results. Maybe it would have been fine but I didn’t want to put in a lot of work and time and be very unhappy with my end result given the paint is cheaper part of the effort. So, can similar concerns exist with plastics and as they relate to child car seats? Perhaps. I guess I wouldn’t want to find out the hard way here, either. What concerned Moms here are doing by buying replacements by expiration date or whatever is getting peace of mind, similar to buying insurance, though no one has specifically used that term. Its all about risk and some are less willing to take as much as others.

As an aside I have to say I tend to keep cars longer than most but regular maintenance, some of which I do myself, is a high priority. I have had a seatbelt clasp stop working requiring replacement and this likely wouldn’t happen on a newer model but a scary thought that it could have failed for me in an accident!

August 3, 2011 at 10:00 pm
(117) Shelley says:

I find this all interesting. I have a Britax Marathon on it’s 6th year….when it’s supposed to expire. Supposedly it was safe a month ago, but not this month.

I think the argument is funny about how car seats always have newer/safer technology and should be traded up. So do cars, but you don’t see us running out and buying the newest model every year. There are still cars from the 50′s, 60′s, 70′s, 80′s, 90′s being driven on the road today. A friend of mine passed away last year because he was in an old car that didn’t have an air bag.

Should cars expire too?

August 18, 2011 at 5:29 am
(118) charli Hammond says:

I’ve had a car seat for 6 years now used it with my first and second who are 3 years apart. i did think this sounded abit strang that the car seat could go out of date. so ive looked all over the net to find the best explaination.. im now expecting our 3rd baby and as we have other stuff to buy and other bills as most families we cope.. i will be using the same car seat for my next child…

I came to this dection because the car seat has only ever been used by US!!. it was brand new when i brought it, its never been in an accident.

I understand why parents would be concerned about this ‘expiery date’ but as long as u know the history of the car seat i really dont see the point of getting a new one..

I would NEVER buy a second hand car seat!!

August 31, 2011 at 7:36 am
(119) Derrick says:

My seatbelts in my truck have plastic pieces on them. Do they expire? I can buy the whole keeping up with safety technology thing and replacing them after a wreck but plastic breaking down inside the vehicle is just far fetched. Maybe if I left the car seat outside in the rain, ice and snow……maybe then. I really believe the expiration date is a money maker. I could buy a brand new carseat right now and stick it in the air-conditioned closet but try to sell it 6 years from now and oops it expired. Stamp the date of manufacture on it, leave a note in the owners manual if you want to cover your a$$, but don’t put an expiration date on it.

August 31, 2011 at 8:19 am
(120) John says:

I just changed out my carseats cause they “expired” but then I remembered that my car is older than the carseats. So I should probably change out my seatbelts because without the seatbelts the carseat is useless. But then I got to thinking, what about my seats in the car? The car seat is sitting on potentially expired seats that aren’t up to date with technological safety improvements. So every vehicle has a seat with a different shape/contour. So that must mean that the new “up-to-date” carseats are being tested in new “up-to-date” cars. So were my previous carseats tested in my current vehicle? They were safe 6 years ago but there are safer ones today? A safer one may hit the market tomorrow too. If I care about my kids I should buy new carseats every year and a new car every 6 years. (sarcasm intended) My wife is actually the one who just bought new carseats against my will because she got caught up in this BS. Great job manufactures. Stamp an exp date on the carseat and tell the mothers that they don’t care about their kids unless they comply. Great money making scheme. Now time for a bot or paid employee to respond to this explaining how its not about $$$$$ but safety.

September 9, 2011 at 7:13 pm
(121) Paul says:

This really is a joke and a bunch of bull. Its to get you to buy a new car seats, when the old one is perfectly fine.

I ask how old is your car and how much of your car is made out of Plastic?? With the reasons that you use to not use the cars seats, we better throw all our cars away too , The new cars do a better job of protecting children in crashes right so better get rid of the old one, Car seats are made of plastics and alot of your car is too. So better cut up your old car. Now think of all the other things in your house made of plastic too. You going to need to round up all the stuff too and throw that away. Come on People wake up and stop bowing down to Corp. greed.
The pull at your hearts due its your children and they know they got you.

September 13, 2011 at 1:21 pm
(122) Sean says:

No one seem to have mentioned/noticed that not all new car-seats are created equal. The $50 ones and the $300 ones, apart from brand premium, do have different designs and materials. Is a new unit of the lower model safer than a 6-year old unit of the top model (assuming no visible damage)?

September 13, 2011 at 1:56 pm
(123) Rach says:

I agree, this whole money making thing is ridiculous, and also the ones being sold as all in ones should be pulled or seriously lowered in price.

As the mother of a preemie (who made friends with many preemie mothers), this was a huge issue for us. We would buy our new seats, bring them in for the stress test and most likely get rejected. Then, you take this practically brand new in box car seat back and find out that you cannot return it. So what the heck do you do with it ? That is one of the main reasons many people resell them. It is fine to say, oh, you will replace the carseat after it expires etc.. but replacing numerous car seats within days or weeks of having a new baby is a bit crazy. Yes it may seem like “just 200″ for some people, but I have personally seen couples who were rejected with 3 or 4 different car seats ! At that point.. those numbers are adding up pretty fiercely. A friend of ours just went through the same thing, within a week of their son’s birth, almost $2000 was spent on car seats that could not be returned. Lucky for us, we had an older nice nurse who had experience in the issue.. it was not the car seat.. it was the too small baby. A few rolled up recieving blankets helped us pass our test, thank goodness !

Lots of people complain about having to replace the seat, etc.. imagine legally HAVING to buy a car seat, when you don’t own a car, live in the middle of the city and bus it or walk everywhere..esp after having to go through that drama.

September 28, 2011 at 11:26 pm
(124) ACE says:

I can’t believe people are comparing carseats to the car itself.

1. Most of the plastic parts in a car are NOT involved with keeping you in your seat.

2. Compare the width and thickness of a car seat belt to the straps in a carseat. They are both wider AND thicker, and designed to last longer.

3. That seat belt in your car is bolted to the FRAME of the car, not to a plastic shell.

4. Plastic may not deteriorate within 6 years, but it WILL weaken. There will be NO visible evidence of when that line is crossed that it could crack and launch across the car under the stress of an accident.

5. There’s more to it than just the plastic. One poster mentioned other parts that can break down, like the tension belt. That lets loose and it doesn’t matter how well the plastic shell holds up, the straps loosen and baby goes soaring, and could even be “clothes lined” in the process. That poster also mentioned joints… Most car seats shells are one big piece of plastic, no joints other than the kickstand for forward facing.

6. If you seat is installed securely enough, there is CONSTANT stress on the plastic along the belt path that will weaken the plastic, too.

September 28, 2011 at 11:27 pm
(125) ACE says:

Cont…

Some of you have mentioned you will use a seat with no visible damage. What about hidden damage?

There are videos all over YouTube of crash tests with expired seats. Watch a few and decide if you want your child becoming that dummy.

And someone wants to compare strollers to carseats? Seriously? How many times are strollers involved in high speed impacts with a child in it? The biggest danger from strollers is going to be falling out of one.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you are aware that LATCH belts can only be used up to a certain weight per the vehicle and/or seat manufacturer (go by whichever is lower)? You are probably thinking, why not (I did at first)? That’s anchored to the frame! Again, compare the seat belt thickness and width to that of the LATCH belt. The LATCH clip is actually more of a concern, however. The thin little pieces of metal that actually hold it on can bend under severe stress and come right off. Another safety issue that isn’t well known. Radian (which can boast a longer life because of all the METAL they are made with) has come up with a stronger LATCH clip with much thicker metal, but they are the exception, not the rule. Some vehicle manufacturers still stand by their lower rating, because the LATCH anchors can bend, too.

October 19, 2011 at 1:07 pm
(126) Dee says:

I can understand people who have the money to spend on a new car seat every time they have a child. However in today’s economy a lot of people do not have the money to buy a new car seat. I think it would be better for a child to be in an expired car seat than to be in no car seat at all. There are TONS of people in this world who just don’t have the money to spend for a new car set or they don’t care to spend it. If they didn’t have somewhere to buy cheap used car seats from, they might just leave there kids in a car without one. If you have the money to buy the latest car seat that’s wonderful, but don’t judge those that don’t have the money, unless you want to donate some “good” car seats!

October 24, 2011 at 4:48 pm
(127) Tiffany says:

This will be a dispute till the day we all die and our children will have this same arguement. He is a thought. i would say 90% or more of the people writing this are over the age of 20. So you are all alive today to write this comment. YOU DIDNT EVEN RIDE IN CARSEATS!!!! My opinion would be if you as a parent think your child is safe than they probably are, I dont know any parents who would knowingly place their child in danger. My kids ride in booster seats and wear their seat belts. I am more concerned with my car being wrecked and catching on fire and the seat belt jamming or something and not being able to get my child out of a burning car. I guess using an expired carseat might have some wear and tear and “could” possibly not hold up in a terrible car accident and result in a childs death. That being said children die everyday in car accidents, while strapped into their brand new expensive carseat.

November 28, 2011 at 3:22 pm
(128) DANIEL says:

Its seems that this is just big companies trying to make money. Lets take a look at everything around our homes made of plastic. Our computer monitors, key boards the dashes on our cars. if all these things had expire by dates dont you think we would be buying cars on a more regular basis. Its fear mongoring. I agree wear and tear do occure but not the extend that some people on this site are posting. I can belive that a plastc seat that is made of the same plastic tonka truck that i have had since a kid will break down in 6 years. I am 33 years old and still have the same truck made of plastic. How can a car seat that only travles in a car be any worse quality then a toy.

This is just picking on our fears for our kids. Think about it. I can watch all the youtube videos of crash tests with old car seats, but that is not proof that its not a staged test. Rather then attacking the people on here you dont buy a new seat every time they have a kid why not question the manufactures to build better car seats?????

They are the ones ultimatly at fault for the seats being made to breakdown. Why not build seats out of plastic with kevlar fiber? Or carbon fiber car seats with military-spec webbing for the seat staps and military-specs buckles? Army moms and dads can attest to the strength of these materials.

We can build computer cases that will survive drops. And arificial limbs that lasts for years, i am sure that they dont expire after 6 years. and these are limbs that are exposed to heat, sun, water anything and everything that our bodies face on a day to day basis.

Will i buy a new car seat for my second born. No i wont bash me and flame me for it, but unless concrete proof of the material broken down to the point where the webbing and plastic become brittle and worn at the 6 year mark i will not be fooled.

December 5, 2011 at 7:35 pm
(129) Steph says:

I can’t agree are disagree either way. I can say that in most states when u have been in an accident with a car set in the vehicle the law department that takes care of the accident will tell you are take the carset. Some insurance companies also do the same.
Thats not to say that every law department fallows through with this.

December 31, 2011 at 9:19 pm
(130) Ted says:

Just another way for car seat manufactors to make money. They must have some good people lobby congress.

January 5, 2012 at 10:07 am
(131) Kris says:

I cant believe some of the comments on here, oh the humanity of it all!

To the ‘so called paramedic’ I love anectdotal advice, especially since you not only responded at the scene, but followed up with the investigation as well. Bravo!

What this really proves is that common sense is in short supply these days.

January 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm
(132) momof2 says:

Ok this comment is 4 years too late, but this debate only goes to show how many compliant sheep – erm, people – there are that are willing to follow everything the government tells them to do – because it’s for the children. Seriously, do you really believe a car seat you’ve been using all along will suddenly weaken and become dangerous next month just because the expiration date says so? Safety standards change all the time, sometimes in contradiction with each other. People, do your research and then make an educated decision.

Did you know that 80% of child restraints are used incorrectly? “Nearly a third of children ride in the wrong restraints for their age and size. Recent data from the Crash Injury Research & Engineering Network indicate that inappropriately restrained children are nearly three and a half times more likely to be seriously injured than their appropriately restrained counterparts.” National SAFE KIDS Campaign. Folks, it’s not because the car seats were NEW or USED, $50 or $500, it’s because they were not properly installed/used!
http://www.carseatsite.com/statistics.htm

Now a debate on car seats for older children: Out of the dozens of kids that have sat in my minivan (not babies/toddlers) for field trips or whatnot, EVERY SINGLE ONE under 5′ gets perturbed when I insist they sit in a booster seat so that the seat belt rests properly on their chest and lap. When the belt is resting on their neck or tucked behind their chair, this is not all right with me. Not one family realizes that their kid could possibly wind up getting decapitated by the seat belt in a car accident until I point it out to them. So it’s while it’s great that parents are aware of car seat safety, that awareness needs to extend beyond the toddler years. Our state (MI) passed a law that anyone under 4′ 9″ must sit in a booster. This is a good step, but it doesn’t educate on the proper position of the seat belt for effective safety.

February 21, 2012 at 3:29 pm
(133) Cyrano says:

Is there a single study, a SINGLE study, that has a number of car seat files of car seats that are “expired” vs car seat fails of car seats that are not expired? THat’s all I’m asking.

March 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm
(134) Ken says:

People claim that they don’t care what the price of a new carseat is,they aren’t going to jeopardize the safety of their child,then why do they feel it’s ok to transport their precious cargo in a small or midsize vehicle that would fold like an accordian if they hit a chicken on a country road. Is it because they can save money when they buy and save even more money because of the awesome gas milage?

April 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm
(135) Lunasea says:

Expiration dates can be a type of scam. For instance, you know when you pick up a prescription from your local pharmacy and there’s an expiration date of one year stamped on the bottle or tube? Well, guess what? That same medication most likely came from a jar or bottle on your pharmacist’s shelf with its own expiration date of five or more years. (I learned this from my pharmacist.) So why is the consumer’s expiration date shorter than the pharmacist’s expiration date? It’s not hard to figure out. Greed on the part of pharmaceutical companies.

When consumers are scammed over and over again by manufacturers, it’s difficult to know when to believe what they have to say and recommend. Whose best interest are they really promoting?

April 30, 2012 at 3:46 pm
(136) christina says:

It isn’t only about if the material the car seat is made out of expiring; many companies stop announcing recalls for older models. So, your child may me riding around in a malfunctioning car seat!! You DO NOT want that! We purchased a brand new car seat and my daughter was riding around in it for 8 months while malfunctioning and didn’t notice until we turned her around forward facing. I am very thankful we caught it on our own with out being in a wreck!!! If it has ANYTHING to do with my child’s life I refuse to take a chance!!!

May 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm
(137) james says:

Ok, Ok, OK … the question of the day is whether a car seat, that is 6 years old, REALLY safe? The safety belts harnesses used in a child safety seat are the same materials used in safety belt in your automobile. If I am to believe the child harness may be compromised after 6 years, who is checking to ensure the safety belt in my car is equally safe if I purchase the car used? Does milk, formula, juice or water deteriorate or compromise the material in the safety harness, and if so, where is the caution/safety sticker explaining this on the car seat? Am I to believe that heat or cold can compromise the harness with 6 years, if so, why doesn’t the seat or instruction manual enlighten me to this possibility? How am I to believe that the harness will actually remain within safety standards use within the expiration time limit? Let’s move on to the composite plastics that comprise the child seat … if there is an expiration in the plastic, then how am I to know whether the plastic is of proper to begin with? Most of the products we find in our current vehicles, and products we use daily, are the same materials in the child seats. Why we are not alerted to the problematic properties of this material in the first place should be the question. Should I purchase a new car, because my current one is about to reach its 6th year on the road? Should I spend my time perusing my home for products that have like materials so that I can discard them immediately do to safety concerns? Please, don’t tell me technology is the reason, because technology changes every day, and if it is technology, and the technology changes to such an extreme, why then, doesn’t the manufacture of the child seat send me notices on a regular basis? Too be continued …

May 2, 2012 at 3:01 pm
(138) James says:

The People behind Britax child safety seat would like you to believe that there seat could malfunction and possibly will after 6 years of use. Is this a money ploy? Are they exploiting the American consumer? Well, some people would say no way … it’s not possible; they are only concerned about your child’s safety. It couldn’t possibly be the fact that they’ve seen their market share fall (do to people selling or giving away their car seat to a new mother/family) and looked for a way to scare the living sh*t out of people into sending the baby seat to the scrapyard, and purchasing brand new one in its place? I would say, a child safety seat that even has the possibility of failing within the first 6 years of use, isn’t good enough to put my child in to begin with.

June 11, 2012 at 2:11 am
(139) Granof1 says:

Wow! I thought I would never get to the end of reading all the comments left on this page. Going on almost 6 years now!

I want to know where you can buy a car seat for $50 that I would actually allow my grandson to ride in. I can’t find one for less than around $200 that I think would do an adequate job. I don’t see how a car seat that costs $50 and one that cost $200- $300 would/should have the same lifespan. Sure seems like something that cost that much and only used while in the car should certainly last more than 5 years.

I’m going to have to do some more research on the expiration date issue…….

July 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm
(140) anon says:

Wow… these comments show that 99% of people are idiots…

July 23, 2012 at 1:36 pm
(141) CoJackers says:

10 years in the sun however most kids only use the carseat for 2-3 years and they grow out of and move up to others so the carseat isnt even exposed as long as that unless you are mating like bunnies and have kids back to back but if you are like me and only going to have 1 kid wait a few years have annother than the carseat would be inside making your arguements pointless because it will be stored indoors in a cool enviroment closet so. In my Opinions that if you are saying it has to do with the sun exposeure esspecially in the reclined rear facing carseats that you take in with you they seem to get little to no sun exposure during thier lifetime use maybe 20 minutes a trip if that….. and we would take it in the dr office store house etc so really not a legit arguement

August 22, 2012 at 2:45 pm
(142) Heather says:

Wow this conversation has been going on for YEARS!!!

Here’s my input: These years we hear all about GO GREEN! Yet when it comes to things like this no one gives it a second thought. No I’m not too cheap to spend an extra $200 when it comes to the life of my child. But I can not express how much it bothers me that all these child carriers are ending up in the LANDFILL! There are roughly about 76 MILLION families with children in the US alone. Can you see where I’m going with this? My children have each gone through three different child seats, according to their size needed. If I would have listened to the expiry dates I would have needed to purchase and discard SIX different seats… times that by 76 MILLION…that’s 456,000,000 seats in the dump. And this is just one of the MANY recommend items to discard!!!

WE hear about Recycling LOTS. But there’s things our nation is forgetting about called REDUCE and REUSE…because these things don’t make money.

Don’t get me started on ethanol, the recommended buying a new car every 2 years, and go green products!

Oh and by the way my sister called the car seat company herself (Graco) and was told that the date on her seat was just a safety net for the company and that the seats were good for AT LEAST 10 years after they were made.

September 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm
(143) Amanda says:

I believe you should be able to use a carseat for 9 years at the most. Maybe they should really start making car seats out of somthing better and stronger then cheap plastic. 0.O

September 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm
(144) Amanda says:

well 10 years at the most (:

September 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm
(145) Rudy says:

This is so ridiculous. I tried selling my Brittax car seat that’s only 7 years old and was maybe used 5 of the 7. I cant believe a $300+ car seat is just as much garbage as a $50 car seat. Really? All of you gullible parents that listen to this crap are probably the same ones who dont use your brain when your doctor tells you what and when to give/ feed/ whatever to your baby because you cant make any logical decisions on your own. Shampoo companies started putting directions on their labels – Shampoo, rinse – REPEAT. By getting people to do this they were selling more shampoo. Car seat companies are selling more car seats by putting an expiration date. And I agree with the person making the landfill statement. I cant see throwing away all these perfectly good car seats. When I was born my parents didnt even HAVE carseats – it was not a requirement or law. Maybe not safe but a whole generation survived. And no I’m not saying you dont have to use one. I just think this expiration date thing is ridiculous.

September 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm
(146) TOMO says:

I personally think you should stop telling people old car seats are fine when you are clueless as to what you are talking about. Some people may actually take your terrible opinion to heart and children could end up being hurt because of it. Did you every think that it’s not about you? And the whole “when I was a kid” thing does not work anymore. If you would actually think for YOURSELF “Rudy” then you would realize that. When I was a kid my parents smoked in the car and let me ride on the back dash during long road trips. My mom was a nurse and my dad a fireman….go figure that one. Things were different in the past, but we are human, mistakes are made and some people would like to learn from them so stop trying to play the smart politician. Rudy, you should also just speak for yourselft. The “whole generation” did not survive. You survived by not being in a carseat, but there are children who did not. Talk to thier parents, see what they think. Does a car seat manufacturer want to sell more seats? Absolutely. Maybe it’s the reason they make them out of plastic? Who knows but understand this, plastics do break down and become brittle. The plastic WILL gradually weaken. It will not be able to expand and absorb the energy required to hold in the seat belt during force. The seatbelt could rip right out of the car seat. The extent of the malfunction depends on the product, such as it’s checmical composition. The maker of the product knows best so following thier guidlines won’t hurt, will it?

November 9, 2012 at 7:16 am
(147) Cris says:

Thank You so much. Very well written and informative. I am always wary of big companies just trying to make more $ and thought that might have been the reason for expiration dates on car seats..Now I feel good about getting a new car seat.

December 7, 2012 at 9:21 pm
(148) Josh Mouch says:

Sounds like a good way for car seat manufacturers to keep their sales up.

December 8, 2012 at 6:01 pm
(149) Barlow family says:

Glad I came across this site, now realising we been putting our two daughters at risk, not so glad gunna have to fork out loads on new cars eats tomorrow though :-p less Christmas presents but more safety for our kids :-)

December 9, 2012 at 12:32 pm
(150) Marie says:

i wonder why there’s no expiration date on plastic lawn furniture. I know people who have had their plastic lawn furniture well over 10 years and it’s from that crappy plastic and it’s out in the sun all year long.

I worked for a pharmaceutical company and obviously there are expiration dates no drugs BUT did you know that you can donate these meds for use for a year AFTER they have expired?

December 21, 2012 at 7:48 pm
(151) Sheri says:

Lots of interesting discussion material here. I certainly have not read all of it, but I do have concerns about the rather set “6years”. I’m a grandmother. My carseats are rarely used. When not in use, they are stored in my house, not in the car. From a deterioration point of view, I don’t see how they would be deteriorating to the same degree as a carseat that is always in a car. Same for cars that are regularly garaged. I’d think carseats in hot areas would deteriorat much faster. It seems these elements should also be part of the equation we all consider.
I also don’t understand how it is that I don’t have to replace the seatbelts, airbags and other materials on my aging car (not the same car I drive the kids in). Does the government not value my life???
Before someone thinks I don’t care about my grandchildren, I first bought seats because a friend I regularly drove around, got rid of her car seat when her child reached 4 and the seat was no longer legally required. I would not drive a child under 8 around unless they were in at least a booster seat (this was in the late 90′s).
My seats are well cared for, and I’ll probably keep them another 4 years (that will be 10 years of age). By way of note, I have replaced the chest area buckle on all seats at 5 years of age. THAT is the weakest link in my mind.

And, I have passed every “installation inspection” that I have ever gone to. I love those things. Installation is every bit as i;mportant as the whole carseat.

January 2, 2013 at 5:43 pm
(152) Samantha says:

im glad i ran across this website. my question was answered plus a few other questions regarding car seats. i would just like to point out that if you want to compare car seats to cars why not compare them to condoms too. would you use a used condom? would you use an expired condom? just a thought, im not saying anyone is right or wrong but it just seems silly to argue about something that has many points of view and cant really be compared to anything else. personally i would never reuse a condom or use an expired one either, however i would drive a used car as long as its in good condition. as for a car seat i would rather buy a new one then use an expired one unless i knew exactly what kind of conditon it was in because im the only one thats used it.

February 21, 2013 at 5:29 pm
(153) MandyG says:

Comparing a car seat and a car to a condom??? Come on really??? A condom is designed for a ONE TIME use…not for 6 years of every day use. If a couple wants to risk a 6 year old condom that’s been in someone’s wallet. or back pocket..sure hope they have the $200 for an infant seat in about 9 months! To whoever said if you can’t pay $200 for a carseat how can you afford kids??? That’s just ignorant. If it was just $200 that’s one thing…but it’s not.

March 16, 2013 at 8:18 pm
(154) Alan says:

Thanks for this. Honestly never knew car seats had an expiration date. I don’t want to sound cynical but do you think its possible they just want to sell more car seats? I mean, does the safety standards change THAT much in 6 or 10 years? I can’t help but think that if it was safe enough 10 years ago, its just as safe today. My car is a 2001 Toyota Highlander. Does this mean that I have to destroy my car because it expired? Is it not safe to drive my family around? Am I using a car that has old safety standards? I just have a hard time with this, that’s all.

March 17, 2013 at 1:13 pm
(155) Suzanne says:

I can’t believe this arguement is still going on. Go try to pick up your baby from the hospital and see if you are able to.

March 21, 2013 at 8:44 pm
(156) Daddy of 7 says:

This is just a way for the makers to make more money. If you check your car seat like you should and the plastic and belts are in good working order there is no reason to buy a new one.

May 4, 2013 at 9:33 pm
(157) Curious says:

Can anyone provide a link to an official government website that shows that car seats legally expire after 6 years? Best I could find is this statement from NHTSA, which indicates the manufacturer’s expiration date is just a suggestion:
“Manufacturers of newer child seats provide “expiration” dates for their seats that typically range from six to eight years from the date it was manufactured.
Expiration dates are a way for manufacturers to provide consumers with guidance as to the expected “useful” life of their car seat.”
http://www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/childseat.cfm?MfgID=450#mfg_anchor

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(160) Dax says:

When it’s about money, they always throw out “safety”. You’re drinking the indsutry kool-aid if you think it’s about money.

Plastics take decades to decay, not years.

If it was about “new” safety tech- why are you using a seat at all? By that logic. The one manufactured next year will be better.

Bottome line: This is industry propaganda.

July 10, 2013 at 5:07 pm
(161) Becca says:

I don’t understand how people install car seats incorrectly. They aren’t like kids, they come with direction booklets that even have pictures for those of us visual people!

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September 15, 2013 at 9:45 pm
(166) Mona says:

Wow, What a debate and my response here won’t settle this emotional issue. But for those parents who feel that an expired car seat could mean the difference between life and death… give a serious thought to the seat belts and hooks used to secure a car seat in your car. Are they expired too.. i.e. over 6 years old? The weakest link could very well be the car. A standard crash test in a ultra compact car will have a different impact on the child safety seat versus a SUV, for example

On subject of child safety seats….whether purchasing a new one or an expired… workmanship and the quality of materials matter. And then common sense…. always inspect a used or a new car seat for disintegrating or discolored plastic, worn liners and rusty latches and cuts in belts. There is a difference in quality, safety features and comfort at different price points.

The only luxury you have with a new car seat is the feeling that if a crash happens you have recourse. But do you really!! Even new car seats can fail… you can ask any car seat manufacture for their MTTF and MTBF data… if they are willing to share. However, more failures occur due to improper car seat installation than a malfunction related to the age of a seat or because of improper care of a new car seat… (like a dog chewing the safety belts)

Now to the last point…. is there data out there that proves that car seats that are 6 plus years old, but in equivalent functional condition as the new car seats fail more because of age related material degradation. If it were the case, then with improper care of any new car seat… the aging process can be accelerated.

BE Smart!! Inspect!! Age is a relative matter when buying a used car seat/ child safety seat.

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(168) runningeasy says:

Can’t believe I wasted my time reading through this, but it was so funny at times I couldn’t stop myself. I don’t need anyone to legislate common sense for me. Anyone that does will not be helped by the legislation anyway.

Automobiles over 100K miles aren’t safe, right? They should not be allowed to be sold. Car tires that have less then a minimum amount of tread shouldn’t be allowed on the road… This list goes on indefinitely and the rules are pretty arbitrary. Common sense can not be had through laws and legislation.

October 12, 2013 at 5:57 pm
(169) jeff says:

my a$ $ they expire. That is child nanny companies covering their bottom line ad making sure they play on the fears of parents. what a crock of bull.
As a police officer I have NEVER seen a car seat (properly) installed fail. EVER, no matter how old they were.
country is turning into a bunch of nancy hippies

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December 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm
(175) Ellis Jayus says:

While I understand replacing a car seat that has been in constant use, her is a tickler for you all: We purchased a new seat – fancy Graco, no less – in 2007, used it for a year, then stored it when we moved overseas, never to open the bubble wrap until early in 2013.
Do we measure total amount of use for years of service or automatically replacve after 6 years? Can the insurance companies deny claims if the car seat has excpired?

Another factor that no one seems to address is the region in which the seat is used: In extreme climates of alternating jhigh heat and sub-freezing temps, one would agree that the plastic can lose its effectiveness; however, in areas of mid-range, non-fluctuating extremes (i.e., temps always between 45 and 75 degrees), does the plastic wear out the same as in the aforementioned climes?

Send your responses for my edification – opinions are great but if you have reliable sources, please note them.

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