Britax car seats are counted among the most popular. Like most reliable manufacturers of car seats, Britax puts on an expiry date for all their car seats. If you would like to learn more about expiry dates on car seats and their purpose, please read the information below.
Why Do Car Seats Have an Expiry Date?
Parents may not be aware that the United States government does not have an official regulation where expiry dates on car seats are concerned; this means that manufacturers are not obligated to put on an expiry date at all. However, the more reliable and known manufacturers do put such a date on there for safety considerations.
There are many reasons why car seats should have a clear expiry date. One of the first reasons is the fact that the industry is constantly changing, which means there are plenty of improvements in technology and standards. While an older seat may not seem like a problem, however, it can lack some lifesaving advancements some of the newer car seats have.
When it comes to the longevity of your car seat, there are also the materials to take into consideration. Even the strongest materials wear down over time. A car seat needs to be safe, so the expiry date of your car seat must lay within the expiry date of the construction materials used.
In addition to the limited lifespan of the materials, car seats are tested for a particular lifespan as well; this means that the safety of the car seat is only guaranteed for a limited time.
Over time, manufacturers can also recall some of their car seats. If you have an older car seat, it is possible that you will not receive a recall notice. For example, if you have obtained a car seat from a family member, you would not know that this car seat has been recalled due to a manufactural error. Therefore, it is recommended to keep your car seat up-to-date and not purchase any second-hand car seats.
How Long Does A Car Seat Last?
Most car seats have a lifespan between six to ten years. If you cannot find the expiry date stamped on the car seat itself, always look for the manufacturer label; this should have the date on which the car seat was manufactured.
As a general rule, you should think about replacing a car seat six years after the date of manufacturing.
How Do I Test A Car Seat for Faults or Defects?
There are some simple ways to check a car seat for faults or defects. As a general rule, any faults or defects can show up during the use of the car seat. Below, we will provide some examples of how such defects can become apparent.
One of the signs it is time to replace a car seat is if the seat is too loose in the car. If the seat is not tight enough, it could lead a child to bump into the front seat when a collision occurs. Therefore, this is a problem that must be addressed immediately, and the car seat should not be used at all.
The harness is another aspect of the car seat that should be checked regularly. Check the harness for common signs of wear and tear, but also make sure that the harness fits snugly around the child. A loose or worn-down harness could cause your child to be thrown from the seat in case of a collision.
Finally, you should always check if a car seat has been recalled or not. You can easily check your car seat by checking the model name and number against the list of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
How Should I Store A Car Seat to Extend Its Lifespan?
If you do not use your car seat every day, you can extend the lifespan of the car seat by storing it appropriately. If available, always store the seat in the original manufacturer’s box and seal the box. Then, place the box in a safe and dry location.
Parents who do not have the original car seat box can wrap the car seat in a sheet or blanket. Much like you would with a cardboard box, it is essential to store your car seat away from any moisture or extreme temperatures, as these could damage some of the plastic components on the car seat.
Should I Replace A Car Seat After A Collision?
Much like a motorcycle helmet after a collision, it is advised to change a car seat after a collision. If the car seat has been involved in a collision, some of the internal materials could have encountered damage.
While such damage may not be visible by the naked eye, it can still be present and influence the safety and functionality of the car seat. Therefore, always replace a car seat that has been in a collision.
Can I Use A Second-Hand Car Seat?
If a car seat has been stored properly and never been part of a collision, it is not a problem to use a second-hand car seat. That being said, you must make sure that the car seat meets the criteria; this includes that the car seat has been stored properly and that it has not expired.
Parents who buy a second-hand car seat online should always ask for a photograph of the manufacturer’s label; this enables parents to work out the expiry date. Parents should also check the construction of the car seat thoroughly upon arrival. If you believe you see signs of wear and tear, it is best to return the car seat and ask for a refund.
Is It Best to Buy A New Car Seat?
Buying a new car seat is always the best solution, as new car seats could have some safety technologies that older car seats do not have. You also do not have to worry about invisible damage, like you would with a second-hand car seat. Therefore, always buy your car seat new if you have the option.