Why Do Car Seats Expire
A car-seat is very important when it comes to maintaining the safety of your little-child when travelling but surprisingly, all car-seat have an expiry-date and the life-span of a particular car-seat varies depending on it quality, condition and durability from the date of manufacture. In fact, the lifespan for most car-seats ranges between 6-to- 10 years from the date of manufacture and also depends on the brand of car-seat. Likewise, a car-seat date of manufacture and expiry-date is usually placed on a sticker somewhere on the car-seat but it may not be visible until you uninstall the seat for some car-seat brands. Additionally, every car-seat manufacturing company actually sets its own expiration-date and it may not be listed along with the date of manufacturing. This expiration-date is usually put on separate sticker which is placed somewhere under the car-seat or you can even find the expiration-date in the user-manual. On the other hand, there are many valid reasons as to why a parent/guardian needs to stop using a particular car-seat once it reaches/passes the expiration-date and some of these reasons have been listed below:
REASONS WHY MANUFACTURERS APPLY AN EXPIRY-DATE AND WHY YOU NEED TO STOP USING A CAR-SEAT ONCE IT REACHES ITS EXPIRATION-DATE:
- Frequent use of the car-seat: using the car-seat on a daily-basis coupled with numerous installations or constantly driving over rough-terrain with the car-seat inside your vehicle can actually cause deteriorate on its performance over time. In fact, with heavy-duty usage of a car-seat, you may have to replace your child’s car-seat more frequently in order to keep them well-protected while travelling.
- Exposure to sunlight or temperatures: you child’s car-seat will be exposed to excess sunlight overtime and this can actually damage and even weaken the plastic-materials used to build the car-seat hence making it less-effective and this compromises the safety of the little-child using such a car-seat. So, once a car-seat passes its expiration-date then just consider buying a new one for your child in order to him/her safe when travelling.
- Safe-use labels on car-seat fade: after using a car-seat for some good time, the labels on it indicating safe-use tend to fade-up or fall-off and this makes it hard to read them in order to know how to safely use a car-seat in terms of installation and other safety-tips. In fact, by the time a car-seat reaches its expiration-date, most of the important-labels will have faded or disappeared and this means that it won’t be safe for use especially for people buying a second-hand car-seat for their newly-born babies. So, once you notice that a car-seat no-longer has any visible labels on it then just consider purchasing a new car-seat for your little-child for best protection results.
- Loss of the user-manual: by the time you child’s car-seat expires, you may have lost the instructions-manual already and this actually makes the car-seat less functional especially for people who don’t know who to use and install a car-seat. It’s for this reason that you will have to buy a new car-seat with fresh-instructions so that you can be able to perfectly use and install a car-seat for newly-born child.
- Weakened car-seat functional-parts: different functional-parts on a car-seat like the buckles, adjusters and other parts tend to become weak if a car-seat is used for long-period of time and this mainly because drinks, food cleaners and other substances that may have been spilled onto these parts tend to weaken them overtime. It’s for this reason that a car-seat should immediately be replaced once it reaches the expiration-date in case you really wish to keep your little-child well-protected when travelling.
- Technological-improvements: an old and expired car-seat passed-over by friends or family may still look to be in a good-condition but it won’t actually have the new lifesaving technologies that newer car-seat on the market are equipped with. So try to acquire a new car-seat which is up-to-date if really want to provide your little-child with optimum-protection when travelling.
- Change in car-seat safety-standards: as time moves on, the safety-standards of car-seats tend to change so as to provide your little-one with extra-protection. for example, in car-seat that were being used in 2002 were not even equipped with a LATCH-system but now a LATCH-system is a standard-feature in all car-seats and it’s not advisable to use a car-seat without a LATCH-system or you will be fined and punished by road-safety authorities in some countries.
- Car-seat materials wear-down: children car-seats are not made to last forever whereby overtime the seat-base may develop cracks which may shatter if a crush occurs, the belts also tend to become elastic over long-time usage and this can actually compromise the overall safety of your little-on incase a car-crush occurs.
- Car-seats are tested to be used for only a certain period of time: manufacturers actually test car-seats for a certain period of time in order to determine the life-span and this is why they can’t attest or prove how older car-seats will perform in a car-accident. So, it’s best to just buy a newer car-seat that has been recently tested in order to keep your child in safe-condition when travelling. Additionally, avoid buying second-hand car seats because they will no longer be effective and you won’t even get any product safety-recall notices in case a car-seat is found to experience some safety-issues.
- Manufacturers stop monitoring the car-seats after the expiration-date: you should also know that car-seat manufacturers tend to stop monitoring the integrity on a particular car-seat type beyond the expiry-date and this actually makes it unsafe for use by your little-child when travelling.
TIPS TO CONSIDER WHEN CAR-SEAT REACHES ITS EXPIRATION-DATE:
- Always destroy the car-seat once it reaches the expiration-date and never donate it to a friend, relative or charity. In fact, you will be unknowingly compromising the safety of other people’s little-children by letting them use an expired car-seat.
- Don’t be tricked that very expensive car-seats will have a much longer lifespan. In fact, all car-seats manufactured tend to have almost the same lifespan no-matter the price.
- Make sure that the car-seat you’re about to purchase meets the current car-seat standards and it’s not outdated so as to keep you little-child safe when travelling.
- A car-seat should always be discarded or destroyed in case it has ever been involved in a crush even with some minor car-accidents. However, it’s only recommended to re-use a car-seat if the car can be driven away from a very minor accident.