Do Car Seat Bases Expire & Why?

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Written by: Fatima O. Millers, CPST

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Do car seat bases expire? The short answer is YES and here is what you need to know about car seat bases and their expiration dates.

In this Article

Why do car seat bases expire?

Car seat bases, like the car seats themselves, do expire. but why?

Car seat bases expire for several reasons, primarily to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the car seat over time.

These reasons include the natural degradation of materials like plastic, and metal due to factors like weather, sunlight, and use, which can affect performance in a crash.

Regular wear and tear can also make parts less reliable. And as safety standards and technology improve, older bases may not offer the best protection.

Also, used bases might have a history that could affect their safety, so expiration dates encourage replacing older or used bases with new, safer ones.

How long car seat bases are good for?

Car seat bases expire and most brands in the market are good for 6 or 7 years from their manufacturing date.

But if your manufacturer specifies a different time frame you should follow it to ensure your child’s safety.

do car seat bases expire
Graco car seat base

It is important to check the expiration date printed on the underside of the car seat base for an accurate timeline.

Manufacturers are required to include the expiration date so parents and caregivers know when a base needs to be replaced.

How to check the expiration date of a car seat base?

Car seat bases come with an expiration date printed on the bottom or underside of the base.

car seat base expiry date
Car seat bases expiry/manufacture date label

If the expiration date is not visible on the base, you can typically locate the manufacture date instead.

Also, the car seat base comes with a manual that tells you how long you can use it. So, you just need to check the manufacture date and do the math.

Still not sure? contact the manufacturer for more information on their expiration dates.

Is it illegal to use an expired car seat base?

In most states, it’s illegal to transport a child in a motor vehicle without properly securing them in a car seat.

By using an expired car seat or car seat base, you risk putting your child in danger and could be subject to a fine or penalty.

how long a car seat base is good for
Gracobaby car seat base

They may not check the date of expiration on your car seat base, but the safety risk alone is reason enough to replace it as soon as possible.

Some manufacturers if not all may void their warranties if you use their car seat with an expired base.

What to do with an expired car seat base?

It’s important to discard expired car seat bases properly.

Your local municipality should have specific guidelines on how and where to recycle these items. Make sure you check with them before disposing of it.

Companies like Target often organize car seat trade-in programs that give discounts towards the purchase of a new car seat.

Also keep in mind that expired car seat bases should never be given away or sold to another family. By doing so you could put an infant or toddler at risk.

Check my post here for additional information on how to safely get rid of your old or expired car seat

Do insurances replace car seat bases after an accident?

Insurance companies may provide coverage for car seat base replacement following an accident.

Of course, this is not always the case. It’s best to contact your insurer or refer to their policy details for more information.

Some car seat brands may offer discounts or replacement programs for customers whose car seat base have been damaged in an accident. Check that out as well.

Wrapping Up

The takeaway here is that car seat bases expire. So, it’s important to check the expiry date of your car seat base as part of regular maintenance. 

If your base has expired, it’s important to follow the recommended guidelines for disposing of car seats

Also, before you buy a new base, check the manufacturing date on it. This way, you can make sure you’re getting the most use out of the base before it expires and avoid buying a base that has already been sitting on a shelf for a few years.

For more tips and guides about car seat safety, visit our car seat safety section.        

Car Seat Expiration FAQs

Car seat bases come with expiration dates too, just like the car seats themselves. Typically, bases for infant-only car seats last about six years. If you’re thinking of buying extra bases for your car seat, make sure to check the manufacturing date on the base.

Car seat bases have a recommended lifespan of about 6 to 7 years from the manufacture date to the expiration date.

Similar to car seats, booster car seats also have expiration dates.

More readings

Please note: The content provided on Car Seat Parent, including all materials and information, is not intended to serve as medical or health advice. Always consult with ahealthcare professional regarding your specific circumstances, especially when it concerns the safety and well-being of your child in relation to car seat use.

About Fatima O. Millers, CPST

Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Fatima delivers insightful car seat reviews and recommendations. Combining her CPST expertise with an engineering background, her advice is both safe and practical.

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