Question About Carseats and Expiration Dates

Updated on February 05, 2010
D.K. asks from Port Saint Lucie, FL
13 answers

I have a Britax Marathon that is going to 'expire' in Oct. of still has all the same safety features as the newer ones and has never been in an accident - always well maintained. Baby #2 is due this summer and I was happy I still had the good, safe (and expensive!) carseat for I feel like I can't use my question is, does anyone out there use a seat that has 'expired' for no reason other than its manufacture date?


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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone. There is pretty much no way I would put my baby in an expired seat now that I am thinking about it, just was upset initially when I realized we have been hanging on to it for years when someone else could have used it all this time before it expired. Oh well, live and learn...

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answers from Minneapolis on

You can resell the cover on eBay. Britax covers go for a pretty penny on there, depending on the cover. That would recoup some of the money, and you could use it towards a new seat for the baby.

I'm glad that everyone who answered knew why they expire, I'm impressed! I was cringing to open this, expecting to see 'oh its fine, they just want to make more money blah blah blah' which is what I usually hear when this question is asked.

Plastic is just plastic, and even though car seat plastic is much higher grade, it still suffers from extreme temps and constant use. Its not safe, destroy the seat, cut the harness ,and sell the cover on eBay. :)

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Boca Raton on

Wow! I have never heard of this. Can you tell me where this expiration date is? i assume that they last the normal time needed for a child? My daughter is still using her carseat. thanks for the info.



answers from Jacksonville on

IF you still have it, take it to Babies R Us and you can get a new one for 25% off. We didn't know much about expiration dates until we took a Pack and Play there and now we're "trading" in everything! Such a good deal!



answers from Nashville on

The only reason I know this is because I work a yearly consignment sale. I'm always having to explain to people why we cannot accept their expired carseats. Most people are not even aware that there is an expriration date on them. The reason is because carseats spend their lives in the car. Because of this, they are in extreme heat in the summer sun and the hot car and they are also in extreme cold in the winter. The plastics break down over time. Therefore, the seats cannot be used after that date. Sure, it may be the cleanest nicest looking seat, BUT that plastic is breaking down on the inside from all the use, etc. Sorry! I know it stinks to have to buy a new one, but the chunk of change is worth keeping your most precious cargo as safe as possible!!! =0)



answers from Tampa on

I think it has something to do with the plastic becoming brittle over time. I would say use your best judgement on that.



answers from Tampa on

The plastic can only last so long - I am sure you've encountered a peice of plastic- lets say a plastic lawn chair- that had been outside for a while - u touch it and it becomes dusty - where you can scratch off the top layer or when you touch it - it simply falls apart. Carseats do the same thing - the heat & cold inside the car - which we know can be more harsh than the actual temp outside, damages the plastic of the carseat just like that of a toy left outside. Ask your local Health Department if they have a Carseat Safety Class, or call your local State Troopers office, the class is really eye opening and very worth it - alot of times when you take the class you get a carseat for free or only $10!!! VERY WORTH IT!



answers from Fayetteville on

As some others here have stated, plastic DOES break down and become brittle over time. This isn't something you can see happen, that's why there is a expiration date. Being in a car, your car seat has been exposed to below freezing temps as well as extremely high temps (a parked car in summer can get up to 300 degrees inside!!) This causes the plastic to break down faster than other plastic products. If a wreck were to happen, the harness straps can literaly break right through the carseat, sending your child hurling across the car. (The dept. that does crash tests has a video of this happening with a crash test dummy that you can watch.) I would defnitly get a new seat with the next child. There are plenty of other ways to save money with used products for babies, but this is one area you should spend the money and buy new.



answers from Minneapolis on

Personally I wouldn't use it. Plastic becomes brittle as it ages not to mention the temperature changes it goes through in the car. The manufacturer puts the expiration on for a reason. They've done the research to know it's no longer as safe as it once was. Now it's not some magic number that today it's good and tomorrow it's not but I would still shop around for a new one. If money is an issue there are cheaper versions that are perfectly safe just shop around and look at reviews. I really liked Target's website since people could go on and rate their product and write a review.



answers from Indianapolis on

Many of the components (especially plastic parts) have a lifetime on them (similar to whether or not it's safe to use shampoo after the expiration date or to eat crackers that expired 2 months ago in an unopened box).

If you choose to use the seat past the expiration date, and God forbid you are in an accident, the seat fails to protect your child, you have no legal rights against the manufacturer.

Personally, I won't use any of ours past that date - for me, taking a chance isn't worth the money to replace them.



answers from Miami on


I asked at a local baby store about this and they referred me to this site:
They briefly told me that a car seat should not be used longer than 10 years or after an accident and told me that those manufacturers that put in the 5-8 year range are taking into consideration temperature extremes of below zero to 100+. Since you live in FL also, according to this baby store in Ft. Lauderdale (and I asked my father-in-law who is an engineer), we would have a bit more shelf life since the temperature extremes down here are not as wide or frequent.

My understanding on on the legality is that the previous poster is right, you can't sue the car seat manufacturer if anything happens to your child while in it and it is expired. Good luck!

How old is too old for a safety seat?

There is some controversy about the "expiration" date for safety seats. All experts agree that a seat should be discarded and destroyed if it is more than 10 years old, even if it looks fine. Most manufacturers suggest replacing a seat 5 to 8 years after the date of manufacture, because current safety seats may have better safety features than older seats, such as a tether or air bag warnings. The date of manufacture may be found on a sticker on the seat (unless it has peeled off) and may be stamped into the plastic shell. However, don’t confuse patent dates, which can also be molded into the plastic, with the date the individual safety seat was manufactured. For more information, go to Expiration date.



answers from Boca Raton on

I never ever realized there was an expiration date on something like a carseat. Initially my thought was go ahead and use it. But after reading everyone's responses, I've been enlightened. Thanks for the info. I guess it's true . . you learn something new every day.



answers from Minneapolis on

ABSOLUTELY NOT. There are expiration dates for a reason. It is not just a marketing ploy to get you to spend more money. Extreme temperatures can and will do things to the plastic that can't be seen by the naked eye. I have a friend that kept a Rubbermaid tote in her garage, next to her car. One day her husband picked the tote up and dropped it, it shattered into a million pieces. This is why I will never use an expired car seat. While he couldn't seen anything physically wrong with the tote, it clearly was not in very good shape.


answers from Detroit on

I have used mine past the expiration date, but not loooong after it. Maybe a year or so. I actually initially didn't even know about the expiration dates. Contact the manufacture though if your really concerned and get their take on it. You might even be able to score some really good rebates or coupons on a new one if they really want to keep you as a customer.

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