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How Long Are Car Seats Good For? Top Full Guide 2022

If you’re looking for the answer to “how long are car seats good for?” then this blog post is just for you! Focal Upright will be discussing what makes a seat expire, when does it expire, and how to tell if your seat has expired.

It’s important that we all know when our seats have expired because they can become unsafe. Car accidents happen often and we want to make sure that we’re taking care of ourselves and our children in the event of one happening.

So, now let’s look at our article to get in-depth information about car seats.

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What Are the Types of Car Seats?

It’s essential to know the differences between car seat types before we discuss expiration dates. There isn’t one universal code for car seats. There are three types of car seats. Here is the breakdown:

Rear-facing: Car seats that face forward are suitable for infants who are at least two years old.

Front-facing: Car seats that face the front are made for older toddlers. They can expand to fit larger children, depending on their weight and height.

Booster Seats: Booster Seats are for children who are not yet old enough to use a regular car seat. As the front and rear-facing seats in the car, Booster seats are dependent on the child’s height and weight.

On the website of car seat manufacturers, you can find out what weight and height requirements they have.

Types of Car Seats?

How Long Are Car Seats Good For?

Car seats are expected to expire 6 to 10 years from the manufacture date. However, car seat expiration dates can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. The expiration date can be found on most car seats. If it is not printed, refer to the instructions manual or call the manufacturer. This guide will help you determine the expiration dates of car seats for different brands.

To make your job as a parent easier, here are a handful of common car seat manufacturers and how long their car seats are good for.

Britax: 6 years for infant car seats and nine years for the booster seat.

Chicco: 6 years

Cosco: 6 years

Diono: 8 years for car seat harnesses and ten years for booster chairs.

Evenflo: 6 years (except where otherwise noted).

Evenflo Symphony: 8 years

EvenfloSafeMax: 10 Years

Graco: Depending on the model, usually 7-10 years. (There’s likely an expiration date imprinted into the plastic on the bottom of the seat.)

Maxi-Cosi car seats are made for 10-year use, but they don’t expire.

Recaro: 6 years

Safety 1st: 6 to 8 years depending on the model

Let’s say that you are using an older model car seat. It could have been passed down to your child, or it could be a secondhand one you purchased. Depending on how you interpret the law, using a used seat may be illegal in some states. Virginia, for example, has “proper use” clauses. This means that expired car seats could be considered unsafe by the Department of Transportation safety standards.

Nicholas Krukowski is a certified child safety technician and owner of Adiona Safety Seats located in Loudoun County. Anyone found in violation of the law could be fined $50. However, there is currently no law that prohibits the use or repair of an expired seat. Contact your local police station for more information.

You might also be wondering if it is illegal to sell an old car seat. This means that you should be very careful about purchasing used car seats. Experts recommend against buying secondhand car seats. If you want to save money and don’t mind sacrificing some features, a great choice is to buy a lower-priced model like Safety 1st, Evenflo, or Cosco. These models can be found for as low as $100. The good news is that all car seats are safety-regulated, so a more expensive model won’t be as safe as a lower-priced one. A car seat can be added to your baby registry.

Why Do Car Seats Expire? – Car Seat Expiration

Why Do Car Seats Expire? – Car Seat Expiration

There is no government regulation in the United States that requires an expiration date on car seats. Rather, car seat manufacturers decide them based on a set of general guidelines.

Each year, new car seat technology and standards are released. It might seem unnecessary to update your car seat technology every year. However, an older car seat passed down from one child to another could be ten to fifteen years old.

For example, LATCH (Lower Anchor and Tethers) for Children is a safety feature that’s standard today, but you wouldn’t find it in a car seat before 2002.

It is important to remember that car seats can become less comfortable over time regardless of how durable they are. Seat belts can become less elastic over time and can cause hairline fractures in the base of your seat. While you won’t be capable of seeing most of the deterioration with your naked eyes, crash tests have shown that car seats can become brittle in collisions.

You should also be aware of recalls. Manufacturers sometimes recall car seats and specific parts. You might not be notified if your car seat has been part of a recall if it is older.

Past a specific date, manufacturers even stop testing car seats. Manufacturers may stop testing car seats that they no longer sell ten years ago. This means that used seats may not be safe anymore. A used car seat may still be able to protect your child from a crash.

Even though a used car seat may appear in good condition, the expiration date is there because it has to expire. Used seats also have the risk that they are missing parts or that parts are worn out and not in good condition.

Do You Understand the Latest Car Seat Guidelines?

It’s important to be aware of any regulatory changes that govern car seat safety standards. If regulations change, the product you purchased may no longer be in compliance. Expiration dates ensure that the seat you’re using isn’t missing important updates.

How Do You Know if the Car Seat is Expired?

Car Seat is Expired?

It is usually easy to find the expiration date on a car seat. All car seats must have a sticker indicating the date of manufacture. To locate the sticker, you might need to check along the sides or back of the seat, or even flip the seat upside down to see the bottom.

Sometimes, the expiration may be included by a company only. In this situation, a good rule of thumb is to assume that the car seat will be valid for six years from the date it was manufactured. It didn’t matter when the car seat was purchased; the countdown starts after the date of Manufacture.

You can check the owner’s manual for the expiration date or call the car seat manufacturer if you are still uncertain.

Warning Signs That Your Car Seat is No Longer Safe to Continue Using

It is crucial to keep in mind that not all car seats will last as long. Car seats subject to extreme weather conditions or have been in collisions might not last past the expiration date.

It is possible to replace your car seat if it shows signs of wear and tear, regardless of the expiration date. These are some warning signs to look out for:

  • The car seat starts to rust.
  • The harness, straps, and seatbelt are starting to lose their shape and become more elastic.
  • Cracks begin to appear along the seat base.
  • Different parts of your car seat can start to fall apart.

Rarely, the company may recall the car seat or part of the vehicle before it expires. You should send any details or car seats that have been placed back to the company to be replaced with safer versions.

You can expect your car seat to last for many years, but ignoring warning signs could put your child at serious risk.

Reasons Why You Should Replace A Car Seat

Car seats should not be replaced except for accidents or age. These are the top reasons to replace your car seat.

Material deterioration. Heat and cold, sun, humidity, and age can all make plastics brittle and eventually unsafe.

Rust. This can form in unreachable areas on metal parts and impact the performance of the seat in a crash.

No longer available models. It is possible to find replacement parts for a discontinued model.

Technological advances. Manufacturers want to ensure that their products comply with current safety standards and best practices.

A Car Seat

Pro Tips For Determining How Does The Car Seat Last

Parents are also editors at The Drive. They have seen it all. They are familiar with car seats from the side, back, and forward. Here are some tips to help you decide how long your car seat is good for.

While you don’t need to inspect your car seat each time it is used, make sure you check for cracks, breaks, and other damage every year.

Regularly clean your car seats. Food waste and soiled padding can impact the safety and well-being of your child.

Make sure to check the expiration dates for thrift store car seats. This “too good to believe” deal might be too good.


Is It Advisable To Replace A Car Seat After An Accident?

Yes. Car seats are designed to protect and absorb your child’s injuries in an accident. These components absorb the impact and can become damaged or even fail in an accident. Before putting your child in the car again, make sure to replace the seat.

What Should I Do With An Expired Car Seat?

Stop using the expired car seat immediately. It is essential to dispose of an expired seat in a manner that it cannot be used again. It is necessary to take off the seat cover and cut the harness straps. After that, write on the car seat in permanent marker “This car seat is not safe to use, it’s expired” or some other clear indication that it should not be used. The height and weight of your child should be used to determine the size of the replacement car seat.

How Do I Register My Car Seat?

Graco offers three ways to register: 1) Mail in the card that comes on the front of the car seat; 2) call Graco’s consumer service center at 1-800-345-4109, or 3: register your product online. Once your product is registered, your manufacturer can notify you in the event of a recall.

How Do I Find Out When My Car Seat Expires?

Each Graco car seat is marked with its Date of Manufacture (DOM) on one of your car seat’s labels. To identify your car seat’s useful life, check out your manual or look for it stamped into the car seat. Both will say “Do not use this child restraint…” and will reference either a 10-year useful life (for belt-positioning boosters and harnessed seats with steel-reinforced belt paths) or 7-year useful life (for harnessed seats with plastic-reinforced belt paths, such as the Contender™ 65 Convertible Car Seat). You’ll have to do a straightforward calculation to determine the car seat expiration date.

Date of Manufacture + Useful Life = Car Seat Expiration Date


Date of Manufacture (3/15/2020) + Useful Life for a steel-reinforced booster (10 years) = Expiration Date of 3/15/2030


As you can see, there are a few factors to consider when determining the length of time your car seat will be good for. The only way to know for sure is by using it until it expires or is notified by the manufacturer that it has reached its life expectancy. This article should help shed some light on how long and why car seats expire and what you need to do if yours does reach this point in its lifetime.

If we missed anything, don’t hesitate to ask us any questions about our recommendations or specific products below! We hope that this information was helpful; we’re always happy to answer any questions you may have as well as provide more content like this one around other topics such as safety ratings and recalls.

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