All About Car Seat Expiry

We are often asked this question, and it is a good one! Many people are also under the impression that car seat expiry is something relatively new and only some car seats have expiry dates but in reality all car seats in Canada have an expiry date. Most people believe that this is just a marketing technique used by manufactures to sell seats. This is not necessarily the case, below we’ll look at why they expire, how to check if they are expired and what to do with an expired car seat.

Why they expire?

Seats expire for a number of reasons, below are the reasons stated by Transport Canada as to why they expire Manufacturers give an expiry or useful life date because over time:

  • Frequent use and exposure to sunlight can damage and weaken plastic;
  • Safe-use labels on the products fade or become hard to read;
  • Instruction manuals have likely been lost;
  • Food, cleaners, drinks and other materials that have been spilled or used on webbing, buckles, adjusters and other parts may prevent them from working safely;
  • The history or condition of the car seat or booster seat becomes hard to check (was it in a crash, was it stored in a place or in a way that caused damage to parts, etc.?);
  • Safety regulations and standards may have changed, so safer products may now be on the market; and Second or subsequent owners may not get product safety recall notices if problems arise.

How do I know when my car seat expires?

The useful life is set by car seat manufacture and different manufactuers have set different dates. Many people will count from when they purchased the car seat, but rather it is to be counted from the date the car seat was made. This date of manufacture will be on a sticker on the seat. This sticker is not always easy to find and many times it is underneath the car seat, it is best to check the date of manufacture prior to installing the car seat.

Even though all car seat will have a sticker indicating the date of manufacture the expiry date is not always printed on this sticker. We agree that printing the expiry date right on the sticker would make a lot of sense but different manufacturer list expiry dates differently. It may be on a separate sticker on the seat, imprinted onto the plastic somewhere on the seat, or in the manual. If the expiry date can’t be found you may need to calculate the expiry from the date of manufacture to see when the seat good for us until. Here are examples of the sitcker:

Once you have located the sticker use this chart listed by Transport Canada, however since manufactures have the final say for how long a car seat their car seat is good for, different models can go beyond these dates, confirm the date with your manufacture by giving them the date of manufacture and model number found on the sticker. Below if you place your mouse over the manufacture name it will show you their contact number. Understanding Product Type:

I= Infant (A Car seat that rear faces)

C= Child (A Car Seat that Front faces)

B= Booster (A front facing seat where the child uses the vehicles seat belt)

I/C = Infant and Child (A Car Seat that rear faces and Front faces)

C/B = Child and Booster (A Car Seat that Front faces and becomes a booster)

I/C/B = Infant, Child and Booster (A Car Seat that rear faces, Front faces and becomes a booster)

Manufacturer Brand Name(s) Product Type Product Type
 Baby Trend Inc. Baby Trend  I  6 years
 Britax Child Safety, Inc. Britax I,Traveller Plus EL 6 years
Britax I/C, B 7 years
Britax C/B 9 years

What Should I do with an expired seat?

An Expired seat should never be used, not by your child or by any child. So please don’t give it away to a friend, relative, donate it to charity, and since it should never be used there is no purpose of keeping it as a “back-up seat.” Just toss it out.

Check if your municipality has a recycling program you can take it too, these programs are rare, so don’t be surprised if you can’t find one. If you plan to take it out on garbage day you want to make sure someone else doesn’t pick it up from the curb side and use it unintentionally compromise the safety of their child or sell it on local classified pages. If you are taking it to the curb here are some tips that make it evident that it cannot be used:

  • Remove the cover, (if you have an identical seat that is not expired you can use this cover)
  • Destroy the seat so it cannot be used. Cut the harness straps, break some plastic or in permanent marker write “NOT SAFE FOR USE” or Similar.

If your car seat is expired and you’re looking for a replacement? Check out our car seat reviews or our favorite car seats by infant seats, infant/child seats, child/booster seats, and dedicated boosters