Car Seats Expiration

Updated on May 23, 2014
M.M. asks from Chicago, IL
20 answers

The travel system I bought for my child exactly 4 years ago is going to expire in few months. It's still in good condition and have given it to my friend when she had her baby last year. I hadn't checked the expiration on it , but now she is asking M. if she can discard it since it is expiring soon.

I am wondering if we can atleast use the stroller as a backup for our new baby? I don't want to use the car seat because I am sure it would be unsafe after expiration. So we will be buying new one.

So just curious to know why do the carseats and strollers have an expiration date? If it's something to do with plastic disintegration over time, do all travel systems have a 4-5 year lifetime only?? How long were you able to use yours before you had to discard them due to their expiration date?


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answers from Houston on

I would test it to see if it is worn or easy to crack. I think it's a ploy for selling more seats,...

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You can use the stroller. I bought my travel system 7 years ago, and the carseat expired 2 years ago. I got a new carseat, compatible with the stroller, and have used it since then.

The carseat expires because the standard for it is to be protective in a CRASH, but since the plastic deteriorates a bit over time, it can't pass that test. Strollers aren't designed for crashes.

3 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Grand Forks on

My kids car seats all had 10 year expiry dates. Sounds like the manufacturers want to sell more car seats.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Only the car seat has an expiration. The stroller should be fine.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

The travel system bought for my 8 year old (Graco) is still in use. We use the stroller with my 3 year old and my friend uses the base and the infant seat as a back up for her infant. It is probably expired, although I don't know for sure, but since it is used by the grandmother for picking baby up from daycare when baby runs a temperature and daycare calls, I figure it is safer than not having a carseat right??

It is all CYA and car seats didn't used to have an expiration on them. Personally, I think you look over the car seat and if there is no obvious wear and tear and the straps are all good and you know it was not involved in any car crashes than it is okay to use.

But you are speaking to a mom who still uses a crib that has the side that comes down and I will NOT fix it permanently because it is easier to have that kind of crib. I guess I am a little tired of paying a price for people who are so dumb that they don't inspect their own equipment when cleaning. (Yes, I clean my crib!!! It is a great time to see how well it is holding up.)

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I suggest expiration dates are a combination of product safety and CYA. The plastic will degrade not only over time but also based on conditions to which it's subjected. The manufacturer is going to base the expiration date on the worse case scenerio. I suggest a worse case scenerio might look like this. Seat is kept in car in Phoenix or another high heat city for the four years. It's been knocked around when family throws it from car to car or into the pick up bed. Perhaps it was left sitting on the porch in direct high temperatures.

Another factor to consider when making a decision is how great is the possibility that you will be in a major accident? I suggest it's very low. Minor accidents do not put much, if any; stress to the seat. So, how much driving do you do and in what circumstances? What is your history in accidents?

And in what condition us the seat? Any signs of weakening such as misshapen parts, stress lines, cracks, discolored plastic, a history of accidents?

Manufacturers have to give an expiration date to protect themselves in case of litigation. They are also concerned about safety as related to ways the seat could've been exposed to environments that would hasten degradation.

I would still use the seat. My focus is on a combination of statistical likelihood and common sense. I have never heard of a baby or child hurt because the seat was past it's expiration date. And....I consume foods past expiration dates because I know that factors other than dates indicate safety.

As to the stroller. It has no expiration date. As long as it's mechanically sound it's safe to use. Even if you decide to not use the car seat you can use the stroller and buy just the car seat.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Rochester on

There's no reason (in my opinion) that you can use the car seat in the stroller, but not in the car.

And tell your friend not to dispose of the car seat. Save it for when Toys R Us has their trade in day. You can trade it towards the purchase of another car seat or other baby equipment. You can call the local TRU to find out what date they will be running the program.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Kansas City on

The stroller should be fine.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

The stroller can still be used, but I would get a different bucket/car seat. Many are still compatible with older models. My Keyfit and Keyfit 30 both fit the same Chicco travel stroller. The stroller doesn't have the same limitations as the car seat because it's not going to be the safety device for the baby in the car. We passed our Keyfit 30 to my sister, who will be retiring it this year after it was used for 3 kids over 6 years. She used it on her own stroller of the same brand.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

Stroller is definitely fine. And you could use the car seat in the stroller for the baby to relax in when you are pushing for walks with the newborn and you aren't ready to put her in the real stroller seat yet.

The concern is that the plastic wouldn't stand up to crash force in a car, but it would be fine in the stroller.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Car seats expire because the plastic degrades over time. The heat and cold that it is subjected to in the car makes it less durable.

Strollers don't expire...would I use one from when I was a kid? No. But one that is 4 years old? I would use.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

Congrats on the baby! Your friend should discard the car seat but not the stroller. The stroller is fine as long as it is still in good shape.

Most seats have an expiration of 6 years after the date of manufacture. If the seat you bought was stuck in the warehouse or back of the store for awhile, it could have been 1+ year old when you got it. The sticker on it has the date it was made.

Some seats have a 10 year exp. It is not about selling more seats, there is actual science and product testing behind the weakening of materials when exposed to hot and cold for years.

People mentioned the makers covering their rears, but no one has pointed out that you need to cover yours. State car seat laws require the proper use of a car seat appropriate for the child. Knowingly using one past expiration leaves you open to negligence charges if something should happen.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

only car seats expire( plastic shell and belts …..fabric and hood do not expire ) , it's usually 6 years some 8/9 . Strollers DO NOT expire

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Typically a car seat has an expiration date of around 7 years unless they state if the car seat says it is expiring, I wouldn't use it...they specifically tested it and found it to be unsafe after that amount of time...I, personally, wouldn't risk jeopardizing my baby's safety...

As far as the stroller goes, it is still fine to use, the expiration date only applies to the car seat.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chattanooga on

The stroller will definitely be fine. You can use the car seat with the stroller, but I wouldn't use it in a car. (The plastic deteriorates and becomes more brittle over time, or can wrap due to heat/cold exposure, so it wouldn't stand up to crash forces.)

I like to keep my old car seats. I remove the straps, and let my daughter use them for a chair (she is 4, and likes to sit and rock in her old infant carrier.) or to use with her dolls.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Richland on

They put the expiration dates on them so that people know how old they are. Regulations change, things are found dangerous, stuff like that. I wouldn't risk it with a car seat but strollers and stuff like that just use common sense.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Yes, it has to do with the plastic (and parts). People who live is extreme climates (Phoenix, AZ and no garage) should really follow the guidelines and maybe consider upgrading before the expiration date. Others who live in mild climate and use a garage most of the time could think about keeping it longer (no telling you it is okay).

In a stroller, I do not think it matters as much. They put the expiration date based on collision in a car and the integrity of the carseat is not the same after a certain amount of time.



answers from Chicago on

Depending on area, some states have areas where you can exchange them(but don't expect the same price range as one you purchased), and they also show you how to install them.
I was rather unfortunate in that someone bought M. a boxed carseat from Costco(Costco shipped it to M.), and when it was opened, it was not only NOT the carseat listed, it was expired. Not being a Costco member, they would not even discuss them replacing it.
There had been one of those exchange events, and when I discussed it with the kind officers, in addition to showing M. how to install latchpoints on cars equipped with them(and when to not use them), they contacted Costco and informed them what had happened, and what their responsibilities were (despite M. not being a member, the purchaser was, making Costco responsible for it). Costco ended up donating 40 new carseats to the next event, and told their staff to make sure the merchandise inside was not expired, and had not been switched by a customer(which is probably what had happened). None of my other booster seats ever had more than a three year expiration date on them, and at the time(over seven years ago), I was told they only had three years on them due to testing that heat and normal wear and tear on them degrades the integrity of them, and that the car seats back from when they first came out with them were made of different materials, and why they did not have expiration dates.
My Mother got them the first time they came out with them, and it was a padded metal frame formed into a seat sized to a child with little harness buckles.

To answer your question, I asked the manufacturer the one time I got a new seat with a close date(it had a year left, and my son was three at the time), the manufacturer sent M. a brand new one(and had M. cut off and mail them all the buckles and belts, and remove the tags).



answers from Atlanta on

I used the same infant car seat for all 3 of my boys. There is 4 years between the oldest and youngest and the youngest used it for 1 year so we got 5 years out of it. I remember it was expiring just as the youngest outgrew it so we immediately discarded it. I'm not sure that I fully buy into the expiration dates on these things but car safety for my kids is just not something I'm willing to gamble on so I follow them anyway. I have the same issue with the whole 4'9" height to be out of a booster. My nana was only 4'10" so she technically could have used a booster for most of her life! :) But I still make my children follow the rule. Only my 10 year old is out of the booster and it's only been in the past couple months that he finally reached the required height. I may find it silly but I would never want to have to question whether or not my child was injured because I was breaking a simple rule of car safety.

I would definitely keep the stroller. If you get an updated car seat by the same manufacturer you maybe able to still use it with the stroller and not have to purchase the whole travel system again.



answers from Chicago on

How was the infant carrier used, in and out of the house, Where it resided in the house and was mostly in the car when said baby was? I would think that the integerity of it should still be there.

A convertable car seat that sits in the care 100% of the time would be more at risk in my opnion.

My son was only in the infant carrier for 7 moths, then he was too big for it. Contrasly my daugther was in the carrier for 16 months.

We had to get a new car seat for my daughter only becuase she had reflux and the seat we had was awful.

Yes, the storller is fine.


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