After days of gathering information from car seat professionals (yes they exist) we got some valuable information.
In this parent to parent talk we will discuss things like:
How long do car seats last?
The short answer is, it depends.
Gosh,I hate those people that everything you ask them their reply is “it depends”.
Anyway, most car seats expire between 6 to 10 years.
Here’s a list with a couple of brands and their expiration.
- Britax: 6 years for infant car seats, 9 years for booster seats
- Chicco: 6 years for most models
- Cosco: 6 years
- Diono: 8 years for car seat harnesses, 10 years for booster seats
- Evenflo: 6 years for most models (except when otherwise noted)
- Evenflo Symphony: 8 years
- Evenflo SafeMax: 10 years
- Graco: Either 7 or 10 years, depends on the model
- Maxi-Cosi: 10 years for most models
- Recaro: 6 years
- Safety 1st: 6 to 8 years, depends on the model
Why Car Seats Expire?
You are probably not too happy knowing that car seats expire.
As a mom, I understand you. It feels like car seat manufacturers are just trying to rip us off.
But there are some good reasons why they expire.
Wear and Tear
If you think about it, out of all the baby gers, a car seat is one of the most used.
Daycare, grocery, trips, running errands, can’t leave baby alone right?
You’re probably buckling and unbuckling them all the time.
As your little one grows, you keep adjusting the seat.
During family trips, messes and spills happen. With time the car seat starts getting beat up and you won’t even notice.
Especially if you live in a very hot area like Arizona or very cold like Buffalo.
A car seat baking in the sun or being exposed to snow, as you take your kid inside, will start to wear it out.
For example, tiny cracks in the plastic, rust in the metal part, and many other little things you won’t see.
Standards regulations & Recalls
The car seat industry is constantly doing crash tests and trying to up the standard when it comes to safety.
Remember when the iPhone 7 came out? Yeah, that was many years ago in 2016. Technology rapidly evolves in front of our eyes and we don’t realize it.
And the car seat industry isn’t any different, your kids’ safety is always improving with new features, materials, and technology.
But remember car seat brands are run by humans too, and sometimes they messed up, and recalls happen.
With your baby always giving you work there’s barely any time for you to check car seat recalls.
Click here to see if there’s any recall on your car seat model.
How to tell if a car seat is expired?
You can really tell the car seat is expired unless there’s a part missing or broken.
Look for a tag on them with information about serial number, model, and there should be the expiration date. Other brands have a sticker on the plastic part.
If you still can’t find it, most car seat brands have a safety information page.
Here’s are a couple of car seat brands and their expiration location:
Graco: expiration date should be on the bottom or in the back of the car seat.
Britax: It will depend on when and where car seats were made. Locate your serial number, then look in the instruction manual.
Chicco: Expiration date should be on the actual seat or in the base.
Baby Trend: Expiration is always 6 years after the manufacture date. To find this date should be at the bottom of the base or on the side of the car seat.
Evenflo: Expiration date is always 6 years after manufacture date. Unless you have the Symphony line which is 8 years after the manufacture date.
How should I throw away an expired car seat?
Even though it’s tempting not to, if you have an expired car seat you should throw them away.
The struggle is you simply can’t throw them away or donate to Goodwill. Otherwise, people will salvage and use themselves not knowing it’s expired.
Some manufacturers recommend cutting the straps, the seat foam, and removing the metal parts.
The intention is to throw them away looking useless.
So if you want to have your kids smash them with a baseball bat or throw them out of the window to break, go ahead.
Kids will definitely have some fun out of that experiment.
If you feel that’s too much work, just write on them “don’t use expired” and send them through a recycling program.
The Bottom Line
You should be feeling like a car seat expert right now.
I know, I know, maybe having your kids throw an old expired car seat out of the window doesn’t sound a smart thing to do.
But I do let my kids have some fun sometimes.
If you are looking for different ways of fun for your children, check out my post about simple science experiments for your child to try at home.