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Why Do Car Seats Expire?



There are a number of reasons why car seats expire, but the most important of which is to keep your child safe!

The main factor in car seat expiration is that materials degrade over time when exposed to extreme temperatures.  Also, evolving government regulations set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and technological advances such as Britax's SafeCell technology can render older seats obsolete over time.

Britax car seats have a service life of anywhere from 6 to 10 years from the date of manufacture (not from when you bought it so make sure to check the serial label and read the instruction manual!).

If you own a Britax car seat, here are some rough guidelines for when your car seat may expire. For specific details about your particular seat, please check your user guide.

  • Britax Car Seats manufactured through June 2010
    • The service life for most Britax infant car seats (including the base), older infant/child car seats, youth seats, and belt-positioning booster seats manufactured through June 2010 have a service life of 6 years. 
    • Frontier Harness-2-Booster seats manufactured from 2008-2010 have a service life of 9 years.
  • To prevent injury due to deterioration or hidden damage, do not use child restraints or booster seats older than their service life or if it has been in a moderate or severe crash. You can find the date of manufacture on the child restraint/booster seat serial label.

When it's time to say so long to your child's trusty travel companion make sure when it's expired, it's retired! Sarah Tilton, Britax's Child Passenger Safety Advocate, suggests the following easy steps:


How to Retire an Expired Car Seat

  1. Cut off all the webbing and cut up the cover.
  2. Remove or blackout the serial number and the date it was manufactured.
  3. Write "EXPIRED DO NOT USE!" on the car seat shell and place on the curb for pickup.

 Follow these steps and your little ones will be safe for years to come!