Parents know that car seats present the best way for children of certain ages and sizes to avoid injury during car accidents.
But car seats don’t last forever. How can you determine when car seats have outlived their purpose? And if you’re in the used car seat market, how can you be sure the seat you have your eye on is sound. Parents and caregivers should focus on two things with car seats – the expiration date and the seat history.
All car seats expire, most when they’re between six and 10 years old. The exact expiration date is sometimes found somewhere on the seat – embedded in the plastic of the seat itself or printed on the sticker that lists the manufacture date and model number. If a car seat doesn’t have that information on it, use six years from the date of manufacture.
If you’re looking for a used car seat, more information is required. Finding a seat that has not yet reached its expiration date is not enough. You should know the seat’s full history before installing it in your car.
If you’re going to use a used seat, you want to make sure it’s from someone you know. That way, you know it hasn’t been in a crash.
Crashes jeopardize the integrity of the car seat, making them potentially unsafe for use. Even I can’t tell if a car seat is safe merely by looking at it. There is no way we can look at a used car seat and know if it’s been in a crash.
Although not obvious to the naked eye, used car seats may also be missing integral pieces. If you’re not purchasing the seat new from a store, you don’t know what came with the seat and whether all of the pieces are there. One little piece missing can change what the seat will do in a crash.
For that reason, I discourage purchases from garage sales and strangers. Instead, look into car seats used by friends and family. If you’re getting it from a family member or friend and know it’s never been in a crash, it’s safe to use. You want to get the car seat from somebody you know and trust, and the same thing holds true if you’re passing it on.
And you can always stop by the Kohl’s Safety Center. Our car seat technicians can answer any questions you have about car seats and even help you make the best selection on a car seat that fits your child best, and also fits your car.
If you would like help making sure your car seat is installed correctly, contact Safe Kids Madison Area at:
- (608) 890-8999
You can also schedule an appointment at our upcoming car seat check events.
(c) Growing Up Healthy – Read entire story here.