Good Question: What is the reason for an expiration date on a child’s car seat?

[anvplayer video=”5028600″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC)— This story covers your car and keeping your family safe on the road. Tanya asked News10NBC’s Brennan Somers: What is the reason for an expiration date on a child’s car seat?

“That’s the question I get quite frequently,” Jean Triest told Somers.

Triest works with the Monroe County Office of Traffic Safety. She’s teaching a course this week on car seats.

Triest says to think of them like your phone or computer. Technology is always getting better so eventually, you’ll have to keep up.

“Car seats generally have anywhere from a 6-10 year expiration date,” Triest added. “It depends on how long it can be used for so for the child’s age, height, or weight so some seats considered all-in-one seats will probably give you a 10-year expiration date because hopefully, you’ll use it for that long.”

You can find good-for dates printed somewhere on the seat itself, in manuals, and online. Some of the latest federal numbers show in 2018, more than a third of kids killed in accidents were unrestrained.

Another alarming trend? More than half of car seats nationwide aren’t used correctly.

In New York, it’s worse. Triest told Somers about 75 percent of families don’t have everything right in the vehicle.

“A lot of times the most frequent thing that people are doing that’s incorrect is their seat is not installed snug enough or their harnesses on the child are not snug enough,” Triest said.

We know car seats can be expensive. If a parent gets in an accident. just a fender bender, do you really need to go out and get a new seat?

“Some manufacturers say no matter how minimal the crash was you need to replace it,” Triest explained.

Other companies do say follow federal guidelines defining a minor crash.

You can check out this message from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

NHTSA recommends that car seats be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers. Car seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash.

A minor crash is one in which ALL of the following apply:

  • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site.
  • The vehicle door nearest the car seat was not damaged.
  • None of the passengers in the vehicle sustained any injuries in the crash.
  • If the vehicle has airbags, the airbags did not deploy during the crash; and There is no visible damage to the car seat.

NEVER use a car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you need help. You don’t have to go far to find it.

Thursday afternoon in Gates from 1-4:30 at 2355 Chili Ave they are running a free car seat check and installation event. You can schedule appointments now by calling 585-753-3018.

You can also find the listing of all car seat installation check events for Monroe and surrounding counties here.


Watch previous Good Question segments here. If you have a question you’d like answered, email