Best before: car seat lifespans

Did you know that most car seats expire? An ‘expiration date’ means that a car seat has a defined lifespan and is intended to be used only over this specified time period. This is because the materials that car seats are made of, in particular plastic and foam, deteriorate over time. In particular, UV light and heat can have an adverse effect on the strength of these materials. If you use your car seat longer than recommended, it is likely that it is weakened and may not perform in a car crash.

How do you check when a car seat expires? Always refer to the user manual. If you can’t find information there, then check for a sticker on the car seat itself which will display the expiration date. We’ve reviewed car seat manufacturers’ statements on their products’ expiration dates. We’ve found that car seats last between 5 and 10 years. You can find a summary below of some of the brands we’ve reviewed.

Car seat lifespans are another reason to never buy a second hand car seat unless you are 100% sure of its history (i.e. family or close friends) and can be absolutely certain how long the car seat was used for.