In case you’re thinking about getting a car seat for your baby or have been using one for a while, you’re probably wondering: do car seat bases expire? And it’s good that you are.
Your baby has used her car seat for so long now that you’ve started worrying about her security. You want to keep your little one as safe and protected as possible, and driving in a car brings its own set of challenges and fears for every parent.
Car seats are made to keep your little one safe and protected even in the worst-case scenarios, but do they come with an expiration date? It’s crucial that you know for how long your baby can safely use their current car seat.
I know how expensive car seats can be. In case you plan on having a second kiddo, I assume you want to use the same seat in the future, as well. However, would it be a better idea to get a new one? Your baby’s safety should be your top priority when traveling, so let’s see what’s the right thing to do.
Do car seat bases expire?
I’m sorry to bring bad news, but they absolutely do. When it comes to your bub’s car seat, there are numerous factors to consider.
First of all, you have to pay attention to how it’s been installed, if it meets all the safety regulations, and if it’s the right one considering your baby’s age. Before traveling, you should always make sure the seat is ready to protect your little one properly.
So, yes – car seat bases do have an expiration date. If you bought it together with the seat, they probably share the same expiration date. If you’re unsure when it’s time to replace yours – it usually has an expiration date written on it.
In general, the expiration date is around 6 years after the base has been manufactured, but that could vary depending on the brand. There are some factors that could reduce the time you should use it, so don’t rely solely on the date.
Why do car seat bases expire?
Right now, you’re probably wondering why does it happen? Aren’t car seat bases made to last? At least, that’s what you thought.
You may be tempted to save money by getting a used car seat from a family member. If I were you, I’d think twice before doing so, mama…
It probably looks like it’s in good condition, so why not save a few bucks? Let me get a bit philosophical here – there are some things we won’t notice unless we know what to look for…
Contrary to the popular belief, expiration dates aren’t there just so that manufacturers can sell more products. Although you can take those risks when buying something you’ll use, you must be extra cautious when it comes to your child’s safety.
There are a few reasons why car seat bases expire, so let’s go over some of the most common ones.
1. The material can wear down
Car seat bases are at risk of wear and tear, just like everything we use almost every day. A damaged car seat base is a good indicator you need to replace it, obviously.
You can drop yours, bump it, roll it… There are many ways how a car seat base can be damaged, so make sure you always check for damages if there are any accidents.
Besides the actual damage you can cause, there are often ones we can’t influence. Car seats, together with their bases, often stay inside your car throughout the day, no matter the season or the weather outside. Why would you take it out every time you leave your car, right? It should be perfectly safe inside.
Well, on warm days, your baby’s car seat is exposed to the heat as well. Extreme heat, may I add. When the temperatures drop, it’s exposed to extreme cold. This fluctuation in temperature doesn’t go well with frequent use, and it will probably damage your car seat base after some time.
There are usually tiny fractures that form first, which you can’t see. As time goes on, these damages become worse and worse. If you get into an accident, the plastic could easily break into pieces.
2. There might be some issues with the installation
While trying to figure out why do car seat bases expire, think about the ways to install yours. A base can completely lose its effectiveness if it’s poorly installed, which could put your little one at risk.
Proper installation is probably the most important factor when it comes to baby car seats. Don’t put your bub at risk and do it yourself if you’re not sure how. A professional will do a much better job. Trust me, you’ll feel a lot better knowing your baby is completely safe.
All in all, poor installation is one of the most common reasons why car seat bases expire. Not only are they more prone to damage this way, but they also put your baby in danger in the case of a car accident.
3. It may be damaged
As I’ve already said – damage and deterioration are one of the most common reasons why car seat bases expire. Even if you can’t see it, there’s a high chance your old car seat is cracked or simply damaged in some parts. This highly reduces the chances of it protecting your little one.
This is also the main reason why you should avoid using car seats that are old or second-hand. You never know how the previous owner used it, if it was in any accidents, or even if they dropped it. All these things could put your baby’s safety at risk.
To avoid this, simply replace the car seat base and don’t take any chances. Even if you suspect it’s damaged or worn – change it. This is not the right time to test it or take any risks…
4. Food and drink spills
We all know how messy babies can be, especially when they start eating and drinking on their own. Food and drink spills become something you don’t stress over anymore. If it happens in their car seat, however, it’s a different story.
As your little one begins to snack during your car rides, some crumbs can get into the important parts of her car seat. Although it might seem like nothing serious at first, it could have some serious impact on how the car seat performs.
If your baby spills her drink on the metal part of your car seat base, it could cause it to rust and deteriorate. In case it spills on the actual seat – it could cause it to rot and eventually tear off. All of this reduces the chances of the car seat actually protecting your baby.
Why you should never use expired car seat bases
Am I being dramatic, or is using expired cat seat bases really that big of a deal? Yes, it is. And you should take it seriously, too.
In case you decide to use old infant car seats, there’s a chance you won’t be able to see the labels and therefore won’t know if it’s reached its final days. If you can’t figure out the condition of your car seat base – replace it. It’s the safest way not to put your baby’s life at risk.
Not only can it be dangerous to use in case of an accident, but its cracks can harm your child even on a regular drive. A damaged car seat base could cause skin irritation, cuts, or even allergic reactions.
How to check if your car seat base has expired
Yes, you can always look for a date on your car seat’s base, but is that the only way to find out if it has expired? Talking to a professional might be the best idea, even if the date on your car seat says differently.
Rely on a professional opinion rather than the manufacturing date. Knowing your car seat base will ensure your baby is fully protected and safe is the only thing that matters. If there are any signs of wear and tear, it’s time to replace the base or buy a whole new car seat.
Although it might be a big investment, keeping your baby safe is always a top priority. You can try repairing it, but I wouldn’t recommend that as the best option. If you’d want to ensure your little one is as safe as possible, just get a new car seat base.
It’s easy to purchase one online, but make sure it’s the right fit for the car seat you’re using. Unfortunately, they can be pretty expensive, but you’ll be thankful you got a new one if you ever get in a car accident with your little one driving in the backseat.
Her safety, comfort, and protection come first – which is why you’re here in the first place. As a responsible parent, I know you’ll do what’s best for your little bub!