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hypothetical situation-- expired car seat question - Page 3

post #41 of 75

spoke to Britax

Spoke to Britax this morning and they confirmed that there is no expiration date on their carseats in the UK. If the plastics in carseats really did disintegrate in 5/6/7 years wouldn't that mean regular setbelts in cars would need replaced after this period too?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Equuskia View Post
that's weird, I wonder how recalls are issued then? I assume the seats at least have the serial numbers right?
They have serial numbers, just no dates!

I found this article, maybe this explains why some states reccomend changing them so often. It's not that they are suddenly "unsafe"?
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/11/bu...erland&emc=rss

Quote:
There are federal laws regulating safety standards for car seats, but no expiration dates, according to the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Graco Children's Products, one of the largest manufacturers of child restraint seats, which includes everything from newborn carriers to boosters for 6-year-olds, says it does recommend throwing out a car seat after seven years or so.

That is not because of danger that the plastic is degenerating, said David Galambos, compliance and safety manager for child safety systems with Graco, a unit of Newell Rubbermaid.

"It's not as if you'll hit the expiration date and the plastic will become weak," he said. "The plastic is good for at least 10 years. But regulations and standards are constantly changing."

For example, in both 1999 and 2002, car seats incorporated new methods of buckling in children and attaching the seat to the car. Although parents can still use car seats with older mechanisms, manufacturers can't sell them.

Also, Mr. Galambos said, as the car seat ages, "some of the history gets lost, such as whether it was in an accident or not."

"Replacement parts get harder to find," he said. "Webbing and such start falling apart."

But, he acknowledged, the seven-year date builds in a pretty hefty buffer zone.

"We're not seeing any disintegration until a minimum of 10 years," he said.

In a survey, other major manufacturers, including Cosco, EvenFlo and Safety First, all agreed upon similar expiration dates, Mr. Galambos said.

Despite rumors that float around the playground and the Web, extreme weather has no impact on the life of a car seat, Mr. Galambos said.

One recommendation all experts agree on, however, is that if a car seat is involved in an accident, replace it.
I think I would feel good using a seat as long as it wasn't more than 10 years old, personally. Still think it's funny how the same company has such different recommendations for different countries!
post #42 of 75
Maybe carseats disintegrate faster in the US than the UK because the US actually gets a summer every year, and it's the extra sunshine that wears out the seat? She says only semi jokingly.

And if a family can afford a car (any car), and gas, and insurance, and a license, and maintenance, why can't they afford a car seat? I'm not meaning to sound snarky, I'm genuinely curious.
post #43 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
And if a family can afford a car (any car), and gas, and insurance, and a license, and maintenance, why can't they afford a car seat? I'm not meaning to sound snarky, I'm genuinely curious.
Yes. Carseats don't need to cost $250 to be safe. While it wouldn't meet best practice recommendations, it would be legal and meet minimum standards and be far safer than using an expired seat to use a $70 Safety 1st Avenue from birth until it's outgrown at about age 3.5-4, and then a $50 Graco Turbobooster to seatbelt age. That's about $120 total, or about $1 per month.
post #44 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
Maybe carseats disintegrate faster in the US than the UK because the US actually gets a summer every year, and it's the extra sunshine that wears out the seat? She says only semi jokingly.
It could be true....
Quote:
And if a family can afford a car (any car), and gas, and insurance, and a license, and maintenance, why can't they afford a car seat? I'm not meaning to sound snarky, I'm genuinely curious.
Just going by the op, but say you had a 6 year old Britax carseat, which you knew has never been in an accident and had no faults, why not use it if it still safe? It seems kind of wasteful to buy another one if the one you have is perfectly good yk? Why do Britax tell their UK customers one thing and their US ones another? I don't think we have some speshul plastic here that lasts longer, so why the different recommendations, especially if they are not mandated?
post #45 of 75
I guess the question is whether it's still safe. It's legal -- and okayed by most carseat manufacturers -- to put a child forward-facing at 366 days and 20.1 pounds. It's not safe. It may be legal to use a seven-year-old Britax. I don't think it's safe. I'd rather have a child in a new Graco than a seven-year-old Britax any day.
post #46 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
I guess the question is whether it's still safe. It's legal -- and okayed by most carseat manufacturers -- to put a child forward-facing at 366 days and 20.1 pounds. It's not safe. It may be legal to use a seven-year-old Britax. I don't think it's safe. I'd rather have a child in a new Graco than a seven-year-old Britax any day.
Yeah but it's not mandated in either country so why the different recommendations? From the NYT article I linked earlier, it seems like most carseat manufacturers believe carseats are "safe" for at least 10 years. And reasons to get a new one are to take advantage of new innovations, like side impact protection say, not because the old ones are unsafe. And some new seats don't have side impact protection, so maybe you would be better off with the old one that does?

Is there any data about this? (apart from you tube videos!). I think if it were really unsafe, Britax would be telling ALL their customers the same thing.
post #47 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
And if a family can afford a car (any car), and gas, and insurance, and a license, and maintenance, why can't they afford a car seat? I'm not meaning to sound snarky, I'm genuinely curious.
A lot of the time they CAN'T. More than just a few people drive around with no license, no insurance, and a car that barely runs that was handed down to them by a family member. They scrimp for $5 a week to get enough gas to get to the grocery store. If there was such thing as good public transportation most places in this country, maybe it wouldn't be an issue, but good PT is usually limited to bigger cities.

So, it's not as simple as "Well, you managed to afford the $2000 for your reliable and legal transportation, what's $40 more?". They may have spent their only $150 on a junk car and $40 more IS an issue.

I'm driving my mom's old car that she paid $250 for 6 years ago. It only runs still because my step-dad is a mechanic and he doesn't ask me to pay him. I'm ashamed to say I've even driven with no insurance when I couldn't afford the bill and it lapsed (it's not like they give you a grace period). Thankfully, I've never been in a situation where I didn't have a car seat, but only because I'm *extremely* aware of the importance of a good, non-expired seat. I can barely keep my electric on, let alone go drop $40 on....anything. The only reason I was able to get DD her my ride was because of charity.
post #48 of 75
This isn't necessarily data, but it's all I have to share right now. I have taken >10-year-old seats out of cars. I see the stress marks (not always visible with the cover on). I can *feel* the difference -- seats are stiffer when they're usually a little bendy, or bendy when they're usually stiff.

I will also say that I really don't believe Britax or any other company truly puts our kids' best interests first. They are businesses. If no other UK company puts expiry dates on carseats, no one wants to be the first, because they don't want the perception that their seats are more poorly made.

I don't think that seats go poof at 6 years and 1 day, but I don't think 10-year-old seats are safe (that NYT article is four years old, by the way, and even they acknowledge a 10-year lifespan).
post #49 of 75
"We're not seeing any disintegration until a minimum of 10 years," he said.

Does a seat have to disintegrate to fail? I mean, completely breaking apart, harness ripping out, ect on impact is pretty severe failure. Less severe failure (like the plastic bending too much if not necessarily breaking) would happen earlier wouldn't you think? I wouldn't want my seats to fail at ALL, ya know?
post #50 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilovemyavery View Post
I too am intrigued by the lack of expiry on seats in the UK, that does not make sense to me..

I wanted to note that Medicaid is looking at covering two car seats, a convertible and a booster. There was a study done by CHOP indicating that a car seat program run with Medicaid would be more cost effective than all but two of the vaccines- Hib and MMR. The link is here http://www.chawisconsin.org/Preventi...MACarSeats.pdf

This is great! Now if they put it into effect let's hope the do sceneras and turbos and not comfortsports and cosco travelers.
post #51 of 75
At a net cost of $32 per child, I'll bet it's a backless booster.
post #52 of 75
I donated more than one used seat to my local shelter. Granted, these seats had a far amount of useful life left but the director came right out and said they will take recently expired seats because their need so great. I see it everyday, unrestrained kid in cars. There is no pulbic transportation where I live so options are limited for families living in extreme poverty.
post #53 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by bandgeek View Post
This is great! Now if they put it into effect let's hope the do sceneras and turbos and not comfortsports and cosco travelers.

I know, right? That is great news, though. Considering the number one killer of US children's deaths is car accidents, and the vast majority of those deaths could be prevented by a properly used child restraint, it seems public health has a vested interest in making sure everyone, not just those who can afford it has access to a seat.

It annoys me. We have Graco Turboboosters, (high back and backless), Apexes, and Titans for giveaways. We're pretty liberal about how we hand them out. Basically, if you show up with a kid and a car, and there's something not ideal about your seat (or you don't have one!) we'll give you a new one, no questions asked, no charge. But that is RARE. Most coalitions simply don't have the funds to be that generous.
post #54 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post
I know, right? That is great news, though. Considering the number one killer of US children's deaths is car accidents, and the vast majority of those deaths could be prevented by a properly used child restraint, it seems public health has a vested interest in making sure everyone, not just those who can afford it has access to a seat.

It annoys me. We have Graco Turboboosters, (high back and backless), Apexes, and Titans for giveaways. We're pretty liberal about how we hand them out. Basically, if you show up with a kid and a car, and there's something not ideal about your seat (or you don't have one!) we'll give you a new one, no questions asked, no charge. But that is RARE. Most coalitions simply don't have the funds to be that generous.
At our HD, for a scenera or combo seat you have to take a 2 hour class and learn to install them. They hand out backless boosters without a class. I think it helps weed out the people who really need them from those who don't. I mean, if you don't really *need* one you don't want to be inconvenienced by a class right? And they are really nice up there and will try to work with you to find a class you can fit in your schedule.

Only problem is, they never seem to have enough...there's a waiting list.
post #55 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by chickabiddy View Post
At a net cost of $32 per child, I'll bet it's a backless booster.
Maybe not, if they buy wholesale...
post #56 of 75
I've seen the wholesale price lists available to coalitions, and I still suspect that $32 will likely be convertible plus backless booster. I hope they are able to make provisions for families whose cars don't have adequate head support in back.
post #57 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
And if a family can afford a car (any car), and gas, and insurance, and a license, and maintenance, why can't they afford a car seat? I'm not meaning to sound snarky, I'm genuinely curious.
I have the same query. It costs as much as a Cosco Scenera every time I fill our tank.

And if we've got dirt-poor people living in places where they HAVE TO have personal transportation to meet the necessities of life, then we've got other problems, you know? We've got to do something about the WalMarts beating out the mom-and-pops that people could walk to, about the pillaging of transit funds to fix roadways that *should be* paid for by auto use taxes, and about the mobility issues in general that prevent people from "voting with their feet" and moving when they want to.

People who "have to" drive and can't afford even $40 for a carseat that will last several years are a symptom of a much, much bigger problem.
post #58 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishmommy View Post
Maybe carseats disintegrate faster in the US than the UK because the US actually gets a summer every year, and it's the extra sunshine that wears out the seat? She says only semi jokingly.

And if a family can afford a car (any car), and gas, and insurance, and a license, and maintenance, why can't they afford a car seat? I'm not meaning to sound snarky, I'm genuinely curious.
bandgeek alrady prestented one scenario. anotehr would be people that don't own a car, yet occasionally need a ride from friends. Or they borrow someone's car. They may not have 40 dollars to put towards a seat they will only use occasionally.
post #59 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by vbactivist View Post
bandgeek alrady prestented one scenario. anotehr would be people that don't own a car, yet occasionally need a ride from friends. Or they borrow someone's car. They may not have 40 dollars to put towards a seat they will only use occasionally.
In that case, it seems entirely feasible to avoid taking the baby in a car, since clearly they have transportation alternatives most of the time.

Either you think it's important, or you don't. Doesn't change the physics; it's just how you choose to gamble.
post #60 of 75
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ironica View Post
In that case, it seems entirely feasible to avoid taking the baby in a car, since clearly they have transportation alternatives most of the time.

Either you think it's important, or you don't. Doesn't change the physics; it's just how you choose to gamble.

No - I think for some people, they really cannot afford a car seat. I was replying to someone saying if people can afford a car, then why can't they afford a carseat.

What about a baby that needs to go to the doctor(semi-emergent) but is not in need of an ambulance? I could see someone without a car taking a ride from a friend in that case.
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