The Importance of Replacing Car Seats
Did you know that car seats expire? Yes they do and it is very important that you are aware of the expiration date on your child’s car seat. There is a reason that car seats have an expiration date and you should pay attention to them.
Car Seats Do Expire
Each and every car seat has an expiration date which is listed on a sticker somewhere on the car seat. The car seat expiration is based on the date of manufacture not the date of purchase or beginning of use. Most car seats expire in 5 years some in 6.
Car seats can become unsafe when they expire. There is a reason why car seats are given an expiration date and it is not just to get your money. The car seat does become damaged in ways you may not see. The plastic shell degrades and warps due to the changing conditions, the harness begins to wear and the Styrofoam can degrade. All of these things make your child less and less safe. The plastic can even become so brittle that is shatters on impact.
Replace Your Car Seat After an Accident
Minor fender benders do not count but anything remotely damaging to the car could be very damaging and compromising to the car seat. Good news though most insurance companies will pay to replace your car seat when you have been in a crash.
In these tough economic times, a hand me down car seat can seem like a dream come true but be careful. Make sure you check the expiration date and get a full crash history. Saving money is not worth risking your childs life.
Not sure if your car crash warrants replacing the car seat? Here are the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) guidelines for reference: NHTSA recommends that child safety seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. NHTSA recommends that child safety seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash. Minor crashes are those that meet ALL of the following criteria:
- The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site
- The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged
- There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants
- The air bags (if present) did not deploy
- AND There is no visible damage to the safety seat