I’ve written about expiration dates on food and drinks, but I bet most parents don’t realize child car seats expire. Many manufacturers now print expiration dates on their car seat labels.
Can’t find mention of it on the label? Look up online to see when your child's car seat was manufactured. You can also check to see if it’s ever been part of a recall.
So why do they expire? Most manufacturers say the sun and everyday use can break down the plastic and the straps. That's another reason to be careful if you buy a used car seat or if a friend or family member offers to let you borrow one.
I’ve seen various recommendations – anywhere between six and ten years is considered the shelf life for a car seat. If your car seat is ever involved in an accident, you should replace it.
Not sure which car seat to use? Go here.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has terrific tools to help you learn all about car seat safety. The agency even has an ease of use rating system to help you find a car seat for any age range that will be easy to install, secures the child the best and has easy to understand labeling. You can search car seats here.
You can always go here to find a car seat inspection station near you. There are several upcoming inspections taking place near Austin but many of them require an appointment.
It’s also important to make sure your car seat has not been part of a recall. You can sign up to register your own child’s car seat so that you can be notified if it is ever part of a recall or use this same site to check.