Sarah Mahan
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Do Car Seats Expire?

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When is it time to kick your car seat to the curb?

car seat expire

Car Seats Expire(Photo: drewgstephens)

When you think of expiration dates, you might think of the gallon of milk in your refrigerator, but believe it or not, car seats expire, too. But do car seats expire or is it just a ploy by the manufacturers to get you to buy a new one?

Deterioration of Materials

Over time, the plastics and padding used in car seats can deteriorate over time, which makes the seat less safe. Also, safety standards change, so even if the car seat didn’t have a printed expiration date, there would be better and safer options available to you after a number of years.

The length of time for expiration depends on the manufacturer and is based on the date the car seat was made not from when the seat was purchased, so if the car seat sits on the shelf at the store for any length of time, it won’t last as long as you think.

Think Ahead. But Not too Far Ahead…

Mother of twins, Sacha Standish from Marysville, Ohio, can attest to this. She had purchased a new carseat for her older daughter four years earlier and planned on using it for one of her newborn twins assuming it hadn’t expired yet after only four years.

Unfortunately, at the hospital, the nurses discovered it had, in fact, expired already. My husband and I had to run out and purchase a new one before taking the twins home.

While this may seem like an inconvenience to some, to a parent, even the slightest chance of compromising the safety of their children is certainly worth a run to the store.

Find your Expiration Date

The expiration date or “manufactured on” date should be printed on the back or bottom of the car seat. If only the date it was made is listed, check with the manufacturer to see how long the car seat should last.

Have any questions? Leave us a comment below to join in the conversation.


  • Sarah MahanStaff Writer

    Sarah Mahan currently lives in the Bicycle Capital of the Midwest, Xenia, Ohio, with her band director husband and two darling daughters. She loves all things French and the written word. Sarah writes professionally for the automotive industry. While her forte in cars focuses on new vehicle technology and family-friendly features, she is developing a love for all things fast, maybe in an attempt to get to know her wild side. See more articles by Sarah.