How do you find out if your car seat has expired?

During the launch of the Children’s Heath and Safety Campaign this winter, by the Government of Canada, I learned that car seats have expiry dates. Being that our infant car seat was purchased roughly 5 years ago, it was important to investigate its safety (along with the safety of all the other car seats in our household). Our priority was to save money by continuing to use our old car seats, provided they were still safe. So, my initial question remains: How do you know if your car seat has expired?

Only our newest car seat had the expiration date inscribed on the back of the seat. The older car seats had no information that indicated when they would expire. Thus, I called the number on the car seat stickers. Two quick phone calls later, I had learned a couple useful things:

1. All car seats expire 6 years after the date of manufacture (that should be easy to find on the car seat sticker, it’s listed by the model number).

2. Calling the toll-free number on the sticker is a great idea if you need any information about your car seat. The people on the phone simply needed the model number and manufacture date of the car seat and were easily able to update me on the car seat expiry date and whether or not there had been any recall. Each phone call took less than 5 minutes.

Remember that the Children’s Health and Safety website is also a valuable source of information. When clicking over there while writing this post, I noticed that the topic this week is “Why Car Seats Matter“. Here’s a great article and checklist to ensure the safety of any car restraints you might own.

kids in car seats

After my investigation, I discovered all of my car seats were still up-to-date with no recalls either. Two expire next year though! I was delighted to save money by simply buying KC a booster seat (he was ready and it would have needed to be purchased anyway), MC was moved into KC’s forward-facing seat (we keep our kids rear-facing until age two -it’s much safer), and Baby Girl will inherit the infant car seat used by both KC and MC, then move to MC’s old (larger) rear-facing seat once she’s outgrown that.

Comments

  1. Tabitha P says

    This had me thinking and wondering about my own car seats and I think I may have a few that are expiring soon! Thanks for the reminder. I have a question though, do you know what we are to do with our expired car seats? I don’t want to just throw it in the garbage, are there locations we can take them too so they can recycle the plastic or properly dispose of it?
    Any help you could provide would be helpful. Thanks!

    • says

      I know that once per year, Toys R Us has a trade in event where you can bring in old car seats and strollers then receive a discount on your new purchase. I’ll look into your question though and see what other options exist!!

  2. Paige says

    Thanks for this. I was wondering about our infant seat as it was a few years old when we bought it. (It was new but had been in a box for a while so it was very cheap compared to the same one with a new date). Now I know I still have at least 16 months left on it if it needs to be used again.

  3. says

    LAME! I knew it was 6 years but hadn’t thought about it. My son’s we bought because it would last him until he no longer needed a car seat. Well no go. It expires next year and he will only be 5.

  4. says

    And I just realized while telling Tobei that ours expires next year that even stupider is that they have a 6 year life span yet here in Ontario they must be in a car seat/booster until minimum age 7.

    • says

      Alaire — Thanks for posting that link.

      The easiest way to know when your seat expires, is that it is either on the sticker with the Model # or it is actually imprinted in the plastic of the seat.

      For anyone who is interested, next week is Child Passenger Safety week and I will be doing a whole week of car seat info on my blog. I’m a Car Seat Tech and car seats are my passion! (http://bit.ly/SKW11_truefit)

      • says

        Wendy -I’ll be sure to check out your blog next week for car seat info. I would love to learn even more about car seat safety! Thank you very much for your input too :)

  5. Tara says

    I would just like to point out that not all car seats expire after 6 years. Car seats expire after 5-10 years depending on the brand and the type of seat. Most infant seats for example are only good for 5 years with some going as far as 7 years. Most forward facing and booster seats are good for up to 10 years. You need to check the expiry date on the seat. If there is no expiry date and only a manufacturing date, then you need to check with the manufacturer.

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