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August 14, 2007

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marilyn

Thank you for this imformation. I was surprised when I first learned car seats have expirations dates but I didn't know why. I thought it was a marketing ploy. So many parents I talk to have never heard of this.

SteveB

No problem Marilyn. It's definitely not a marketing scam. The more parents know their seats expire and how to determine their seats' expiration date the better.

TomD

There's been such hysteria surrounding children's car seats, and I think it's a continued regression of parents into a state of learned helplessness. In the past there were so many problems with installation. People were totally incompetent at following instructions and performing the checks of installation.

Now it's the expiration issue.
Britax says:
After six years, technology has changed, components degrade from the environment (depending on how and where stored), parts get lost or installed incorrectly, or instructions and labels may not be available or not legible.

Expiring because a label is not legible??? Or because you are installing it improperly?? Components degrading is really the only condition a consumer has some difficulty discerning. However,
are you throwing out all the other weak links in the chain? Your car's seat belt, while certainly thicker, but not expirable? How do you now? They are wound up most of the time, can't be good. Is the belt's mechanism being checked too? How about the safety features over-all of the vehicle? You have to use common sense most of all. A thick child seat like the Britax Elite is so sturdy, and when inspections reveal straps are not damaged or frayed, does expiration make sense just because of a manufactured date? Frequent inspections are needed throughout the use of anything safety related.

Something just doesn't seem right about this recommendation.

Brooks

Tom, we've responded to your comment in a new blog post about expiration dates. Thanks for your contributing to the blog, I'm sure there are many parents with the same questions

http://blog.safetysquad.com/safety_squad/2008/06/car-seat-expira.html

Sage

Oh!! Very important information!!

Jennifer

I'm glad I just bought a seat marketed as "the last car seat you'll ever need", only to see that it has an expiration date prior to the date at which my child will legally no longer need any sort of booster seat.

Nick

My wife and I have discussed this at length. She insists that upon the date of expiration...the seat is no longer good...not a day earlier, not a day later. Once the 'magical day' arrives...out with the 'old' car seat!

To me that doesn't make any sense. Have we become a society of black and white where lateral or logical thought is frowned upon?

As a chemical engineer...I have to question the approach and would like to propose that the 6 year limit is intended for those who use the car seats on a daily basis (addressing wear on the belts) or for those who park their vehicles in the sun (where plastics are more likely to break down).

I would like to think that using the car/booster seat every other day, at best, and parking in the garage (climate controlled and out of direct sunlight) has increased the life expectancy of our seat by a minimum of 2-6 years...but I'm going to lose that battle.

What ever happened to logic? Inspect the belts, inspect the plastics, make sure that the seat is rigidly installed...to say that the plastic may have cracks that you can't see is the 'catch-all' and only opens another Pandora's box. Before you know it...the recommendations are going to call for annual replacement of the car seats.

Gotta go...my wife is calling. Time to throw the baby out with the bath water...and get another booster seat. Thanks for the posts.

Sarah

I just purchased a Sunshine Kids Radian 80 carseat and upon reading the manual found that it expires 8 years from manufacture date. Is that because the frame is steel instead of plastic? I am hoping it lasts 8 years as it is marketed as the only carseat you'll need to buy.

Safety Squad

Hi Sarah,

As to the exact composition of the materials and why Sunshine Kids gives their seat an 8 year lifespan we can't be sure of. However, always go by the manufacturer's instructions in this department. If we don't know the manufacturer's assigned expiration date, we assume 6 years from date of manufacture.

I will say that the seat construction of the Radian line seems pretty durable. If you are buying it for a newborn, please be aware that the lowest harness slot setting may not be low enough to properly fit a newborn or small infant. If that is your case, you may want to consider an infant carrier design for your first step.

carseats19

Great information! The info which you provided on this blog about the car seats and its expire date and reasons of expire is very good. We have to buy the car seats which have good long life or durable car seats we need to buy for our children. Before purchasing the car seat we need to see the expire date of that product.

Cars for sale Philippines

Glad I saw this post. Now I am more aware about the car seats expiration date. Thanks. I will check my car seat as well.

-seff-

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Makes sense. These products are made out of material that can lose their quality from inception. They have parts that are not meant to last forever. Great post and one I never had considered before.

GwenR

Liken it to cars of old - remember the old cracked vinyl dashboards and why people in Arizona put carpet on their car interiors....Even today! Plastic degrades and because manufacturers can't limit the sales to certain states - they make the expiration date to the worst case scenario - HOT, HOT weather and lots of sun load from sitting in cars.

I hope that this article makes people more aware and to know that you can't use these forever... or buy used ones! It is cheaper to buy a new car seat then a wheel chair accessible van - considering the worst case scenario!

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Used Bucket Trucks

I think it's good that car seats have expiration dates. Milk does...and we throw that out promptly. Ok...well, I do. My child's safety is of the utmost importance.

The Infant Car Seat Guy

I have to say I'm glad that these things expire. I can only imagine some people trying to drive around with their kids in car seats that are 10 years old. When we had our first child, 8 years ago, the car seats were darn near impossible to install correctly without the help of a professional, and even then they never seemed to stay installed snugly.

The newer car seats are much better. Technology continues to improve and the seats are safer, more attractive and easier to install. There's a lot to be said about the ease of installation that seats today have in terms of safety. You don't have to spend an hour wrestling to get some of the newer seats in the right way.

Expiration dates are a necessity on infant car seats in order to make sure that kids are riding as safely as possible out on the roads.

Donnie Smith/ Collision Repair Instructor

As a collision repair instructor, this is good information to know. This is something that our students need to know more about.

stun gun

No problem Marilyn. It's definitely not a marketing scam. The more parents know their seats expire and how to determine their seats' expiration date the better.

second hand cars

Like @Marilyn I also thought expiration dates were a marketing ploy to get more people to buy/renew their car seats. After reading this article, I will be checking the date on my child's car seat a.s.a.p.

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