Do Car Seats Really Expire?

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It seems like everything we buy comes with an expiration date these days.  From household cleaners to beauty/hygiene products, consumable goods we previously believed were good for a near indefinite time are now marked with a “use-by” date.  Even car seats now come with an expiration date: this leads many to ask whether car seats truly expire.  

Most car seats have useful lives ranging from six to ten years, depending on the type of seat.  Some folks have suggested that the extreme heat and cold temperatures to which carseats are subjected can weaken their plastic components, rendering them less safe and/or effective.  While this may be true over the course of a very long period of time, it’s unlikely to be the case within a few years of a seat’s manufacture.  Just think about the environmental challenges we face because of how long it actually takes plastic to break down.    

Certainly, it is recommended to discard and replace carseats which been involved in collisions (whether occupied by children at the time of the collision or not).  It is also appropriate to discard and replace carseats which have visible wear and tear or distressed plastic components (evidenced by fading color).  

Part of what prompted the use of expiration dates on carseats is the quickly evolving standards and regulations surrounding child safety restraints.  We can all agree that car seats today are generally much safer and improved from what they were a generation ago and when it comes to your most precious cargo, why would you take any chances?  Check the carseat and/or the user manual from the original packaging for an expiration date.  If in doubt, you can call the manufacturer to check the expiration date of your particular carseat, provided you have the model number and date of manufacture or serial number handy. 

If the unthinkable happens and your child is injured in a crash due to the negligence of another driver, contact the Colorado Springs Injury Attorneys at Rosenbaum & Wootton, P.C. by calling 719.634.0102 or by clicking on this link to schedule your FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.

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