You may find it hard to believe, but the seats in your car typically expire six years after the date of manufacture. Some recommend changing them every decade, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Only a few car seats can last longer than six years. Of course, car seats don’t just disappear when their supposed expiration date rolls around, but it would be for the better if you got new ones installed in or around that date.
It is but normal to assume that putting an expiration date on car seats is simply a ploy for manufacturers to make more money, but that simply isn’t true. There are plenty of reasons as to why this happens, but it typically boils down to wear and tear, and new technology being introduced to the market. Knowing when your car seats expire is essential for you and your passengers’ safety, especially if you ride with children.
You can find out how old your car seats are based on a tag or sticker attached to them. On most models, you’ll find the manufacturer’s label on the sides or the base of the seat. You could also take a good look at the seats in your car to determine if they’re up to your own safety standards. If you yourself think that your passengers shouldn’t ride on those seats, replace them as soon as possible. You don’t need to wait for the six-year mark to come along.
They may have been top of the line when you first bought them, but innovations such as Click Tight and Britax’s Safe Cell could have already made them old news. Click Tight is a method for easy car seat installation, which still ensures a safe and secure fit. On the other hand, Safe Cell is a safety system that claims to test above and beyond federal standards. It’s unlikely that your dusty old car seats would have such advanced technology integrated into them.
Another reason for the expiration of car seats is the wear and tear of its materials. Car seats are often exposed to extreme temperatures, whether numbingly low or blisteringly hot. This could cause seatbelts to become elastic, meaning they’ll work less in your favor in the unfortunate event of a crash. Constant use also makes the seats susceptible to sinking and hairline fractures, which makes them both uncomfortable and less safe, especially for longer trips.
You don’t know whether the car seat you’re using was part of a major recall, and we’re pretty sure you wouldn’t want to find that out the hard way. Look into the make and model of your car seats as well as when they were manufactured. Even if the recall wasn’t made at the place you bought your seats from, it would still be a good idea to get new ones, even if they’re still quite far from their expiration date.
If you wait too long to get a new car seat, you may have a hard time looking for replacement parts for it. Car seat manufacturers wouldn’t want to keep a hefty inventory of parts for a car seat from years ago. If you’ve been replacing a certain part a couple of times now, but still don’t feel like replacing the seats in your car, you may want to stock up on it as the expiration date rolls around. You’d be hard-pressed to find such a part when you go past a certain date.
Safety testing usually doesn’t go beyond the seat’s intended lifespan either. You can never be certain how a certain seat model would perform in an accident if it’s way past its expiration. Even if car seat manufacturers still carry around older models for sale, it’s unlikely that they still constantly test them against today’s lofty safety standards. If you see that your car seats are expired, get some new ones installed. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
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Now you may be thinking if price actually matters when you’re purchasing a new car seat. You may even think that you can get away with buying a used model. However, buying a car seat used means that it’s already nearing, or in some cases, past its expiration date. This means that you’ll get a lot less use out of it. Used car seats could have already been in a crash, for all you know, making them even more of a hazard. So, don’t just buy a car seat for its bargain price.
By the same token, buying the most expensive car seat doesn’t mean you’ll be getting the best one. Before a car seat can be commercially sold, it has to pass several strict safety standards. Sure, more expensive car seats have the latest technology installed. They may even be more aesthetically pleasing. However, you’ll be getting a good deal just as long as you buy your car seat brand new.
Think of a car seat as an investment, especially if you’re buying one for your kids. If your child is still young, get a new one. They’ll still get a lot of use out of it. The same goes if you have plans to continue expanding your family. The newest additions can still make use of their older brother or sister’s car seat. At least you know the history of that car seat and you didn’t just buy it from someone online or in a garage sale.
So you’ve bought new seats for your car. Now the problem is how you get rid of the old ones. After all, car seats take up a considerable amount of space. While a lot of people simply throw them away in wrecking yards or in landfills, experts suggest dismantling them instead. This prevents people from unwittingly snagging them up and using them in their own vehicles. If you know what parts have value and where to bring them, you might even make a pretty penny.
So, there you have it. You now know how to find out if your car seat is already expired. You’ve also learned a couple of car seat buying tips as well as how to properly dispose of your old ones.
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