Do Car Seat Bases Expire?
Welcome to the Ultimate Guide on Car Seat Bases and Their Expiration.
As a parent to a newborn or young child, your most important concern is your child’s health and safety. Car seat bases are a fantastic invention that ensure the safety of your child while traveling in an infant car seat. But do car seat bases expire?
If you are wondering if car seat bases expire, the answer is Yes. However, in some cases, you might even need to replace your car seat base sooner than its expiration. This article explains what car seat bases are, how long car seats last, and why they expire.
Many car seat units come with a base, while others require you to buy a base separately. And just as infant car seats expire, their bases do not also last forever. But just how long is a car seat base good for?
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How Long is a Car Seat Base Good for?
As I have established earlier, your car seat base also has an expiration date. Just like most car seats, a car seat base expiration date is usually six to eight years after its manufacture.
Some brands of car seat bases also have expiration dates ten years after their manufacture.
Therefore, it’s crucial as a parent to ensure that your car seat base is used within its best-by date. If you purchased a new car seat with a base, the car seat base expires when the car seat expires.
Otherwise, you can find the expiration date inscribed on the base itself. Depending on the manufacturer, you may need to check the shell behind the cushion for the expiration.
Some manufacturers may only include a manufacturing date on the product. Simply add six years to this date to know its expiration date.
If you cannot locate the expiration or manufacture date on the product, you can contact the manufacturers for information.
If you are buying a pre-owned car seat base, it’s all the more crucial for you to ensure that the base is not expired already. Using an expired car seat or car seat base could jeopardize the safety of your child.
What are Car Seat Bases?
A car seat base (or an infant car seat base) is a plastic device that is secured to your car seat to hold your infant car seat in your car. This rectangular device is semi-permanent and sits at the base of your infant car seat, and remains fastened in your car, even when you take out the infant car seat.
This device helps to keep your infant’s car seat stable and upright in the car. Even though car seat bases are not essential to secure your infant car seat, they are a convenient device to have.
With a car seat base, you simply need to place your car seat on top of the base and it snaps into place. Thus, you can avoid the hassle of strapping the car seat whenever you have to place it in the car.
Most car seat bases also have indicators to inform you if the infant seat is safely installed.
Your car seat base attaches to your vehicle either with a seat belt or with some other technology like an ISOFIX attachment that doesn’t require seat belts. Car seat bases are mostly compatible with infant car seats.
Why Do Car Seat Bases Expire?
Given that the car seat and its base ought to ensure the safety and stability of your child during travel, your car seat accessories have to be of high safety standards.
The car seat base is made of plastic components and has movable parts, and thus is prone to wear and tear. Thus, it can constitute a safety hazard after being in use for several years. Here are some reasons your car seat base cannot last forever.
Weather and Temperature Fluctuations
Since your car seat base is a near-permanent fixture in your car, it will remain in your car through different seasons. Low temperatures during the winter might affect the plastic of your car seat base, and hot temperatures can also do a number on them.
Prolonged exposure to heat can cause the plastic of your car seat base to deteriorate and break down over time, thus affecting its integrity.
Evolving Safety Regulations
Safety regulations regarding the use of car seats are frequently evolving to meet higher standards. Thus, manufacturers will need to update the design and other components of the car seat bases to meet new safety standards. This makes older infant car seat bases more likely to be lagging in some aspects, in terms of safety standards.
New technologies are emerging daily, and it is no less true for car seat manufacturers. Technological advancements allow manufacturers to improve the integrity and design of their car seat bases.
Even though older models might still be safe before their expiration dates, you are guaranteed up-to-date safety features if you use a newer model.
Note that you do not have to wait until your car seat base is expired to discontinue use if you notice that its performance has deteriorated. Frequent use can cause your car seat base to deteriorate more quickly.
Also, your child’s toys or food particles can jam the latch system, thereby compromising its integrity. As your child grows bigger, they might become too weighty for the base to hold. Ensure to discontinue the use of the car seat or base when your child exceeds the weight or height limit.
What to Do With Expired Car Seat Bases
The first thing to do with an expired car seat base is to uninstall it and stop using it. However, car seat bases can still be of some use after they expire.
You can trade your expired car seats and car seat bases at some retail stores like Target or Walmart. Some of these stores also offer discounts for purchases of car seat bases if you bring in an expired seat.
Otherwise, you can send them to a local recycling center to dispose of them properly. You can also contact the manufacturer to find out your options after your car seat base expires.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does my car seat really need a car seat base?
While not strictly necessary, car seat bases will make your life as a parent much simpler. They normally only work with child safety seats designed for infants.
Some infant car seats double as a carrier and can be removed from the car. If you have a car seat base, you simply need to put the car seat on top and it will snap securely.
Thus, you will not need to strap your car seat every single time you have to return the car seat. If you don’t have a base, strapping and securing your car seat every time might be time-consuming and even unsafe.
So, even though a car seat base is not a necessity, it’s convenient, safer, and a great time-saver.
How do I know if my car seat base is expired?
Depending on the brand, you can find your car seat base expiration on the device itself. Some brands place the manufacture and expiry date on a sticker on top of the base.
If your infant car seat base comes with a car seat, its expiration is the same as your car seat expiration date.
Can I continue to use an expired car seat base?
After the car seat base’s expiration date has passed, it should no longer be used. There are no specific laws that make using expired car seat bases an offense.
However, it’s in your best interest to discontinue the use of your car seat base after its expiration to ensure the safety of your child in the event of an accident.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) advises that parents should discontinue the use of a car seat base after its expiration or six years after its manufacture.
Are car seat bases universal?
A car seat base from one brand might be compatible with car seats from the same brand. However, advancements in design might change this.
Thus, unless you purchase a car seat and base together, always double-check to know if the base is compatible with the car seat.
Should I replace my car seat base after an accident?
To ensure the safety of your child during travel, it’s best to replace their car seat after a car accident. Even a minor accident may compromise the integrity of the car seat base.
Therefore, ensure to replace the car seat and car seat base after any such incident. You can trade your child’s car seat and base in some retail stores and get a discounted price for a new one.
As I’ve explained here, car seat bases typically expire after about six years from their manufacture. However, some brands might have expiration dates of up to eight years after production.
Also, there are some instances where it might be unsafe to use them even before their expiration. For example, if your child has exceeded the height or weight limit stipulated on the car seat base, change the base immediately.
Also, if your baby’s car seat base has been in the car during an accident or car crash, it’s best to replace it immediately. All in all, always ensure that all accessories your child uses meet the highest safety standards.
Last Updated on March 26, 2023 by Danny Reid