Car Safety Seats for Children Have an Expiration Date

Did you know car child safety seats expire?In fact, most car seats have an expiration date posted on their manufacturer label. Information from the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration suggests that there are several reasons why child safety seats should be periodically replaced.
Car seats are made largely of plastic. Consider what happens to a plastic toy, if it is left outside or exposed to the sun too long. The plastic becomes stressed and brittle, which can cause cracks or breaks. Extreme heat and cold can cause contribute to the breakdown of the plastic. You may not be able to see the damage, but it could be very dangerous for your child as the may fail during a car accident, even a minor fender bender.
Another good reason to stick to the manufacturer′s expiration date is that new crash test data for car seats is being collected all the time. This is to better enable manufacturers to design and build better, safer seats. Expired seats have a greater chance of having been recalled by the manufacturer to correct a safety issue. You may have no idea if the repairs were ever made with an older, used seat. Using an older seat may mean your child is not in the safest seat available. This practice is not about making more money by selling more car seats, it is about keeping your child in the safest situation possible.
It may not be obvious is present. Therefore, it is better to be use caution and replace the seat. It can be the difference between injury and fatality when it comes to your child. If you have a car seat that has been in a crash, talk to your insurance company about replacing it. Many insurance companies may replace damaged or expired seats.
As a rule of thumb, if no expiration date is given on the seat, assume that car seats expire six years from the date of manufacture. If your car seat was manufactured in 2005 or earlier, you may assume it life as expired. A few car seat manufacturers allow up to ten years for the life of their car seats, but unless you have specific directions from the manufacturer′s manual or label attached to the seat, you should stop using the seat after six years.
Potentially expired used car seats are easy to find at garage sales or from a friend or neighbor whose child has outgrown the seat. To prevent this mistake, expired safety seats should be destroyed so no one else might mistakenly use it. Good ways to render the seat unusable including cutting off the harness straps or breaking the plastic shell with a heavy hammer. You may also dispose expired seats by bringing them to a certified child safety seat technician, such as your local fire department or at the HELP Committee and Boys & Girls Club of the Hi–Line in Havre at 500 1st Avenue.
″Better safe than sorry″ may be an old saying, but its meaning will never expire. Be sure your child is in the safest car seat available. For information about obtaining and properly installing child safety seats, connect the HELP Committee at 265-6206.
Havre Public Schools and the HELP Committee and Boys & Girls Club of the Hi-Line are committed to promoting safe and healthy lifestyles to become long-lived, responsible citizens. For more information on this or related topics, call 265-6206.