Do Child Passenger Seats Actually Expire?

Check out three reasons why you should switch out your child’s car seat every six years
Meredith Terpstra

Have you ever wondered why car seats have expiration dates? Do they need to be recycled after the expiration date? The answer is yes. Even though the U.S. government currently does not oversee the expiration date on car seats, there are very valid reasons to replace them at the expiration date.

Technology Improves

While a hand-me-down seat may look like it is in great condition, it may not be utilizing all the newest lifesaving technology.

Materials Wear Down

Car seats are not meant to last forever. Through repeated use, exposure to smoldering or freezing temperatures, and movement from vehicle to vehicle, the base of the seat may develop small fractures or cracks that can shatter in a car crash. The belts may also stretch and fray.

Car Seats Have Specific Lifespans

Models are only tested to meet the standard of safety for a very specific lifespan, which is why the expiration date is included. Additionally, recalls may have occurred over the course of time, or the manufacturer may have stopped creating and carrying replacement parts. To check your car seat’s expiration date, look for the manufacturer label located on the sides or base of the car seat. If you know the manufacture date, add six years to find the expiration date—very few car seats are still good after six years.

How to Choose and Fit a Car Seat

For more information about choosing, fitting and installing your child's car seat, see our Child Passenger Seat Safety information.

Have a Car Seat You Need to Recycle?

AAA Minneapolis is hosting a Free Car Seat Recycling event on Friday, Sept 20, 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. & Saturday, Sept 21, 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

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