Britax video - its old, and it shows a seat that is 10+ years old.
Plastic disintegrating - can someone please provide the sceintific evidence? Do you really think they use plastic so cheap its going to distintegrate? The OP likely did not store this seat outside in the elements for the last 5 years so it was in a climate controlled area.
This was from a NY Times article quoting someone at Graco:
"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.
Since some will say the NY Times is not a good enough source, try www.carseat.org
"Expiration date -
In the last few years, CR manufacturers have been putting "expiration dates" on their products. This was begun in response to infant deaths from air bags. The companies realized that they had millions of products in use that said nothing about the danger to a rear-facing child. The concern became one that "best practice" and regulations change over time, so that a child restraint becomes "obsolete" and less effective than a new product, much the same way that medicines may change or become less effective after some time has passed. A current example would be with tethers--older CRs do not have them, and this is potentially a situation where a newer product will be more effective than an older one.
Taken at face value, the expiration interval (ranging from 5 to 8 years, depending on the manufacturer) is from the date of manufacture, which is what governs the labeling, certification, and other rules that apply. Whether to continue to use an "expired" CR is a judgment call, depending on the alternatives. It will work as well as before, but it is important to know what regulations and warnings may have changed and the risks involved. It is also important to take the expiration date into account when purchasing a CR that may have been manufactured several months or even a year or more before. "Please note the absence of any explanation of plastic "going bad" as the reason for expiration dates.
The danger with the seat the OP has more likely to lie with the base it gets connected to and the chance the base could fail. That seems to be the biggest problem that infant only seats face. I would use a 5 year old seat that hardly got any wear to begin with without hesitation.