Are you planning to use an old car seat for your child?
Why not, right? It seems perfectly fine – the shape is not deformed, there are no tears visible, and it still has plush linings.
Well, dear parents, for car seats, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s safe to use.
Instead, you have to check how old your car seat is to know whether or not it’s safe for your child to use.
Which then leads to our main question, “How long is a car seat good for?”
We’re going to answer that question here. Plus, we’ll also look into where to find a car seat’s expiry date, common signs car seats are no longer safe, how to prolong a car seat, and much more.
You’ll know everything you need to know about car seats here.
So let’s dive right in!
How Long Do Car Seats Last?
On average, car seats last around 6 to 10 years.
Now, the lifespan depends on several factors, such as the brand you’re using, the amount of usage, and the condition of the seat as your child gets older.
To make it easier for you, we’ve listed down the top car seat manufacturers/brands and how long they last:
- Evenflo: 8 to 10 years, depending on the seat selected
- Graco: 7 to 10 years, depending on the seat selected
- Chico: 6 years
- Recaro: 6 years
- Britax: 6 to 10 years, depending on the seat selected
- Nuna: 6 to 7 years, depending on the seat selected
Where Can I Find the Car Seat’s Expiry Date?
Didn’t find the brand of your car seat on the list above?
That’s alright! You can search for the expiry date or manufacturing date yourself.
Most brands have a tag attached to the seat’s plastic shell. You’ll find the expiry date here.
If not, you can try flipping the seat over for any informational markings on the base.
Still can’t find the expiry date on the seat?
You can go to the brand’s website or call their customer support.
Now, some brands place both the manufacturing and expiry dates, complete with the year, month, and day. Others just indicate the number of years you can use them.
How Do You Know If Your Car Seat is No Longer Safe to Use?
Expiry dates are not the only information telling us parents that we need to replace our car seats.
Here are 4 common signs to watch out for:
- Small cracks appear on the seat base
- Signs of rust
- The harness, straps, and seatbelt are more elastic
- Other parts of the car seat appear weaker and beginning to break
A loose strap means it can’t keep your child securely in place. Cracks on the base mean it is not sturdy enough to bear your child’s weight.
Once you see any of these things, your car seat is no longer in the best condition to keep your child safe.
You may try to call customer support to ask for a replacement of the part already breaking. Or, you can replace the entire seat altogether.
Is There a Way to Prolong the Use of My Car Seat?
It’s advisable to follow the expiry date of your car seat. But, if you can extend your car seat’s life to, let’s say, 7 years rather than 6 years, that would be great!
Here are some ways to keep your car seat in good condition:
- Try to minimize the car seat’s exposure to the sun. If you can consistently park in your garage or covered areas, that would be better!
- Clean your car seat regularly. If there are food and drink spills, don’t wait for days before you clean them up.
- Store it properly. Make sure the seat is planted on its base, and no other heavy items are on top of it.
Why Do Car Seats Have Expiry Dates?
There are several factors why car seats have expiry dates. These are:
- Wear and tear
- Innovations and new standards
- Replacement parts
Let’s look at them one by one.
Wear and Tear
A car seat is one of the most used baby equipment. And naturally, the more you use something, the more it’ll be worn out.
Aside from the frequency of usage, car seats get exposed to different conditions that affect the quality. It can get more brittle and softer if it’s always exposed to the sun. This is true especially from late mornings to lunchtime, when it is the hottest.
Innovations and New Standards
As time progresses, manufacturers find better materials and add more features that can guarantee better safety. If your car seat is old, it is most likely missing these new developments.
Plus, some states have regulations or policies on car seats for children. If these change, then your seat might no longer fit their qualifications.
Over time, brands release new models. In turn, they stop manufacturing old car seats and its parts.
If you see damage on your old car seat, it will be harder to find replacement parts for it. It can cost you both time and money to bring your seat back to good condition.
And these are just some of the reasons why car seats have expiry dates. As you can see, it isn’t just a ploy to make you spend more on car seats.
So how long is a car seat good for?
Depending on the manufacturer, it can still take a good 6 to 10 years before it expires. Plus, you may be able to extend its lifespan if you take good care of it.
However, never cling on to a car seat for too long. If you do, you may be putting your child in danger — no parent ever wants that.
All that said, always make sure that you are aware of your car seat’s expiration date.
Don’t know the expiry date?
You can look for it in the car seat itself, check the brand’s website, or call customer service.