Car Seats Gone Bad: How Your Car Seat’s Shelf Life Can Be Determined, and Why it Matters
Every few weeks, you probably go through your refrigerator to toss expired yogurt, wilted lettuce, and mushy grapes. Did you know you should be doing almost the same thing with your child’s car seat?
The latest research is only proving why we should keep close tabs on the age of our car seats. While these seats will undoubtedly last longer than that carton of eggs in your fridge, they are also made with an expiration date in mind—in fact, many make it easy to determine by placing a sticker on the seat itself or in the user’s manual.
How can car seats “go bad,” you ask? Just like any material, the plastics and composites used to make car seats as safe as possible deteriorate slowly over time. Exposed to extreme temperature differences and intense UV rays in your vehicle, the plastics used will eventually weaken and fail to offer the intended protection.
The life of these car seats remains impressive—most around six years, some as long as ten—and for many parents, this is as long as they will need the seat. For parents who have used the seat for several children, or for seats that are convertible from rear-facing through booster seat, expiration dates are worth being aware of.
The immense forces that your child could encounter in an accident require that their seat be as strong as possible to protect them from injury or death. If your seat is showing its age, check for the expiration date—if you cannot locate it, you should be able to get answers by contacting the manufacturer.
While you can never fully control how others will drive around you, you can take steps to ensure that your family is protected—take this first step today by seeing if your car seat is fresh as a daisy, or ready for replacement!
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