spoke to BritaxSpoke 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?
that's weird, I wonder how recalls are issued then? I assume the seats at least have the serial numbers right?
I found this article, maybe this explains why some states reccomend changing them so often. It's not that they are suddenly "unsafe"?
|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.