How to Tell If Your Child’s Car Seat Is Expired
While expiration dates on food like milk or bread can be easy to determine (and make sense), the idea of a child’s car seat expiring might seem a bit strange. Nevertheless, just like many other products, a car seat has a limited lifespan and should only be used for the amount of time it was manufactured for. Understanding how and when a child’s car seat expires is very important for ensuring child safety in vehicles throughout Oklahoma.
The thought of a child’s car seat expiring like a carton of old milk may seem odd at first, but it does make sense. Most car seats are made using plastic, fabric, and similar materials. All of these materials have limited life-spans based on how long they are meant to be used—especially on items that are pulled on and undergo quite a bit of use and abuse. For example, the plastics used to make a car seat can only hold up for a certain amount of daily use, hot summers, and additional wear-and-tear before they begin to break down and no longer provide the protection you rely on.
Where to Look for Expiration Dates
Determining just how long your car seat should be used is not always as easy as looking at the date on a package of cheese or bottle of mustard. Different manufacturers indicate the lifespan of their products in a variety of ways. Many print the expiration date directly on the car seat, or on a sticker attached to the seat. You can typically find these on the underside of the car seat, or on the back. When you get a new car seat, be sure to look it over thoroughly to find out when it was manufactured and any expiration date indicated.
Other car seat makers do not include an expiration date, but instead reveal how long the seat can safely be used. This is usually provided in the manual that comes with the car seat, and the seat itself will be stamped with the manufacturing date. If the manual says the car seat should only be used for up to eight years, and the date on the seat is from 10 years ago, then you know it is unsafe to use. Car seats beyond their expiration date should be discarded. Either donate them to a local agency or take them apart and toss them in with the garbage.
Proper use of a car seat is vital to keeping children safe in a vehicle. If you or someone you know has had a child injured in a car seat that you suspect of improper labeling or construction, call Car Accident Help at (405) 285-4357 to discuss your situation.
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