The Complete Guide to Car Seat Expiration Dates

There are a lot of things that parents need to worry about when it comes to a newborn. One of them is whether or not your car seat is expired, and if so, what do you do with it? Car seats expire for a variety of reasons, including safety concerns and manufacturer changes. In this article, we’ll cover where the expiration date on your car seat is located and how long you can use your car seat before it needs replacing.

Why Do Car Seats Expire?

Car seats expire because they are designed to last a certain amount of time. Most car seats can withstand years of use, especially when properly cared for and not exposed to extreme temperatures. However, there are some materials that can become brittle over time or less effective because of environmental factors. There’s also the fact that manufacturers will often update their products with new technology, which means that older models might not have all the latest bells and whistles — like side impact protection.

How Long Do Car Seats Last?

Car seats are designed to last for five years. That means if you have a car seat that’s more than five years old, it could potentially be unsafe to use.

Car seats expire because they can become unsafe over time. They may also expire if they have been in a crash or otherwise damaged—the damage may not be visible on the outside, so always check the manufacturer’s manual before using an expired seat.

The expiration date is typically printed on the seat’s label, and it’s often found in a small circle on the bottom of the seat. If you can’t find it, check your car manual or contact the manufacturer directly to see if they will tell you when their seats expire.

Where Is the Expiration Date on a Car Seat?

There are several places where the expiration date will appear on a car seat. The most obvious place is on the seat itself, but it can also be found in other places as well.

  • On the seat itself: The expiration date is typically located at the top of or near where your child sits when using their car seat. If you have trouble finding this expiration date, check out our post about how to find it!
  • On the box: You’ll also find a sticker with an expiry date at one end of your child’s booster or convertible car seats’ boxes (see below). This sticker will show up on all convertible seats in America regardless of brand and model.
  • In manual: Some manuals come with an expiration date printed right in them! This isn’t always easy to see unless you’re looking for it (as seen above), but if you do see it then rest assured that no matter what happens with your current model, there’s still time left!

Do Car Seat Bases Expire?

Car seat bases are not subject to the same expiry dates as car seats. This means that you can store and/or use a car seat base for years after it’s been purchased, even if your baby is no longer in a rear-facing position. As long as there’s no visible damage to the base, it should be safe to use.

If you have any concerns about whether or not your child’s car seat is expired, check out our previous post on how to tell if a car seat is expired here and our guide on how long do car seats last here.

If you want to keep storing your child’s car seat base, there are a few things you can do. First of all, make sure it’s out of direct sunlight and away from heat sources like radiators or ovens. You should also regularly check for any signs of damage to the plastic bodywork as well as loose or missing screws.

Is it Illegal to Use an Expired Car Seat?

If you’re unsure of how long a car seat is safe to use, check the manufacturer’s instructions. The expiration date on the box is just about as useful as the expiration date on your milk carton.

If at any point you are still feeling unsure about whether or not it’s okay to use an expired car seat, call the manufacturer directly and ask them. If that doesn’t work out for some reason, feel free to give local law enforcement a call; they’re pretty friendly folks who will probably be able to help you out with all kinds of questions related to safety issues in general—and any information they can offer should prove helpful in figuring out if it’s legal or illegal (or perhaps somewhere in between) for you to keep using an expired child restraint system (CRS).

What to Do With Expired Car Seats

If your car seat is out-of-date and you don’t want to donate it, there are two other options. You can take the car seat apart and dispose of the pieces in your regular trash. Similarly, check your local laws on what to do with expired car seats before you decide on how to get rid of them.

The other option is to sell your child’s car seat on Craigslist or eBay. If you do this, make sure that you inform the buyer of the expiration date and that they are responsible for disposing of it properly once they get their hands on it.


As you can see, there are a few factors to consider when deciding whether or not your car seat is expired. It’s important to know what type of car seat you have and where it was made as well as how long ago it was manufactured so that you don’t make any rash decisions in a panic over an expired product! If all else fails, check with your local fire department or police station to see if they have any information on the legal requirements for using an expired seat.

FAQs about car seats

Q: If my car seat is out of date, what should I do with it?

A: If your car seat is out of date, you should contact your local fire department or police station to find out what the laws are in your area. They may be able to direct you to a place where you can dispose of it for free.

Q: What is the best way to store my car seat?

A: If you need to store your car seat for an extended period of time, be sure that it is in a safe place out of direct sunlight so that it won’t overheat or fall apart. You should also check with your local fire department or police station about any laws on how long you can keep one in storage before disposing of it properly.

Q: What is the best way to clean my car seat?

A: There are several ways to clean a car seat. You can use warm water and mild soap or cleaning solution, but make sure that you rinse it well afterward so that there is no residue left over from the soap. If you want something more powerful than just water, try using rubbing alcohol or vinegar instead.

Q: What should I do if my child falls asleep in his/her car seat?

A: The best thing to do if your child falls asleep in the car seat is to place them in their crib or bed. If you cannot do that immediately, make sure that they are properly buckled into their car seat, and then drive somewhere safe and pull over.

Q: What should I do if my child has an accident in his/her car seat?

A: If your child has an accident while using their car seat, make sure that they are properly buckled into their seat and then drive somewhere safe and pull over. If possible, use a towel or blanket to clean up the mess and remove any clothing that may have been saturated with urine or fecal matter.

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