Car Seat FAQs

Car Seat FAQs

We all assume and trust that car seats keep our kids safe but it’s not always the case. Car seats can fail if they’re not taken care of, have experienced too much use, been in an accident, or reached their expiration date. Any of these factors can cause the car set to not perform at its full potential.

How long can I use my child’s car seat?safe car seat

Since all seats are different, you should always read the user guide to discern the expiration date. Most car seats are good for between five and nine years after they were made.

Why do car seats expire?

As safer technology is developed, safety standards change over time. Therefore expiration dates can let you know that your car seat may possibly be worn out and can alert you to the opportunity to upgrade.

Why does one car seat last longer than another?

It comes down to the materials used to manufacture the car seat and how they will perform over time and in the event of an accident. Other factors include the design, and kind of installation.

Is it ever okay for me to borrow a car seat or buy one used?

It’s probably not a good idea unless you know for certain these four things:

  • Has this car seat ever been in a crash?
  • Are all the parts and pieces still attached to the car seat?
  • Are all the labels for proper use still affixed to the car seat?
  • Has this car seat ever been recalled?

How important is the instruction manual?

Always keep it or upload from the manufacturer’s website. It provides you with the expiration date, the recommended cleaning procedures, proper harness rethreading, correct installation and use as well as proper disposal methods.

If my car seat is involved in an accident, can I still use it?

It is recommended to discontinue use if you’ve been in a moderate to severe accident. You may keep it however, if your situation passes all of the following criteria:

  • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site.
  • The vehicle door nearest the child restraint was undamaged.
  • There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants.
  • The air bags (if present) did not deploy.
  • There is no visible damage to the car seat.

How do I know when to retire my car seat?

Car seats should be destroyed after their expiration date or if it has any missing or broken parts. You will want to destroy it instead of just throwing it out is so that it will not be improperly used by an unknowing third-party who may then put a child’s safety at risk.

How do I dispose of my car seat? 

Before you get rid of your car seat, you should cut off all of the webbing, cut up the cover, remove or blackout the serial number and manufacture date and write “trash, do not use” on the car seat shell.

See also:

Continued Car Safety for Children with Special Needs

Taking Car Seats on Vacation


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