Car seats - manufacturer sales ploy or fact that they need to be updated every 5 years?

Rosanna - posted on 02/13/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I have a 4 1/2 year old, a 2 year old and a new infant on the way, since my infant & toddler car seats were purchased almost 5 years ago...do you agree with manufacturers that claim the plastic can become brittle so they don't guarantee the car seats safety after 5 years or do you think this might be a ploy to get people to buy car seats every 5 years instead of using hand me downs? What about infant seats that are not even used nearly as much in the 5 year lifetime...both my infants were out of the infant carrier by 6-8 months as they outgrew them and the infant seat was stored in a cool dry place....I would love to hear all personal & any professional opinions out there to debate this case.

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The straps & buckles get worn out. The EPS foam also has a limited lifespan and the shock & absorbing factor could be compromised after the recommended 5 years. Plus, the EPS technology has changed and improved since the last time you purchased an infant seat. The plastic shells/frames of the seats can also becasue unstable after years of not using them. Ever seen a melted car seat frame from leaving it in the attic while waiting for the next baby? It was on a car seat safety video I saw at a car seat safety class. Also, the LATCH technology has also improved. The 5 year expiration date also protects the manufacturer against lawsuits from parents who chose not to listen to their warnings. Please protect your children by providing the basic necessity of a safe car seat.

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Check for the expiration sticker on the side of the carseat, closer to the bottom. If it's not there, then check underneath the car seat. Also, it's a great idea to have your carseats inspected and professionally installed by a certified car seat installer every 6 months. This is usually a free service at your local fire or police department as a division of public safety.

Abbie - posted on 02/13/2010

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I dont care if its a ploy or not, I am not willing to risk my childs life. So if they say replace in 5 years, you bet I will be!!!

Trina - posted on 02/13/2010

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You really should not use a carseat after its expiration. When they are exposed to the extreme temperatures in a car the materials that they are made out of weaken. The plastic becomes brittle and it does not hold up as well in an accident and may not work properly. Carseats.org is a good place to find information. It probably is time for you to buy a new infant seat. After all, you spent nine months growing a healthy baby so why not keep protecting them? After 5 years I would expect the safety of seats to have improved plus there is always new technology being introduced. Look as it as an investment into the health and well being of your child rather than an expense.

Kate CP - posted on 02/13/2010

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No, plastic wears out, parts get worn, new safety standards are issued. It's good to update them every 5 years or so.

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Rosanna - posted on 02/14/2010

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Thanks I looked that up online last night and found a local place that does it near me in NYC. As soon as I get my new carseats I will certainly go there to have them installed properly as well.

Rosanna - posted on 02/13/2010

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Really? It can't be that noticeable because I've never noticed it before on my kid's seats. I'll have to take a closer look now that I'm looking for it but I know for sure that there is definitely no clearly visible expiration date that I see every day when I'm buckling them in...what location on the car seat should I be looking exactly? Underneath the covering, on the side?

Kate CP - posted on 02/13/2010

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Well, it usually IS written on the car seat where it's easily seen. Every car seat or booster convertible I've ever seen has had a big ol' expiration date on it right where everyone can see.

Rosanna - posted on 02/13/2010

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Thanks for all your responses, I feel like this is such an important topic that should be made a primetime news special to make more people aware of it. I think it's one of those things that if you don't ask you wouldn't necessarily be informed, I found out from talking to a recent new mom who has her oldest in my son's pre-K class. She told me all about it and it really got me thinking and wondering why this is not more highly publicized or written in big warnings all over the carseat itself. In case anyone out there is just now realizing that they may need to update or exchange their carseat instead of continuing to use a 5 year or older model as a hand me down, you may be happy to know that Babies R Us is (for the first time that I've ever noticed) offering a special trade in sale for select participating manufacturers this month through Feb. 20th. Bring in your old car seat and get a brand new one for 25% off because of the trade in. It sounds like a great program and one that I will certainly take advantage of now that I am better informed. I never thought of the longterm effects that the interior summer temperatures can have on a car seat, plus it's truly a safety investment that you can at least break down the costs of over 5 years to rationalize the expensive purchase price of these car seats and most important of all, everyone of course wants to know that their children are well protected in the safest carseats available at the time.

Tosha - posted on 02/13/2010

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I would update just because of the new safety standards. Every year they are finding out new information on how to keep children safer.

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