How to choose a good car seat? For how many years can you use it safely? Is a second hand purchase a good idea? These are the types of questions appearing in the minds of parents when it is time to add it to the layette. On internet forums, you can meet with hugely different opinions, which only makes it more difficult to make a decision. Some say that one seat should not be used even by the other siblings. For others, the purchase of a bargain model used by several children is something to be proud of. In real life, it is good to be guided by common sense and make decisions on the basis of verified information. If you are wondering whether a car seat has an expiry date and for how long it is safe to transport a child in it, be sure to read our article!
The expiry date is something that we associate mainly with food, but it turns out that it can apply to other things as well. The maximum service life is increasingly specified by, for example, car seat manufacturers. While some argue that this is a conspiracy to get as much money as possible from concerned parents, the problem is not so easy. Like all items, car seats are made of materials that lose their properties over time. UV radiation, extremely high and low temperatures, contact with beverages and food leftovers, vibrations generated while driving, repeatedly fastening and unfastening of seat belts – all these factors can weaken parts of the seat and consequently, adversely affect the safety of our children. I don’t think we need to explain that it’s not worth taking the risk in this matter!
It is best to look for the expiry date in the instruction manual or on the website of the manufacturer of a specific car seat. For how many years can you use it safely? It all depends on the quality of the materials used. For example, Avionaut car seats are recommended to be used for no more than 10 years, of course, on the condition that no bumps took place during this time, and the owner followed the instructions in the manual. The date of purchase is not the date of manufacture, so where can you find information about when a particular unit left the factory? Usually, two clocks with arrows are stamped on the lower part of the shell – the first one indicates the year and month, and the second the day. There is also a four-digit format, where the first two digits inform about the month, and the other two about the year of production.
As you can see, the maximum period of use is so long that one seat can easily serve several children. The case is simple with siblings, but is it worth saving by buying a second-hand car seat?? In this case, we advise you to avoid online purchases, even if there is a long time until the expiry date of the seat you are selling. There is never a guarantee that it wasn’t involved in a collision! As a last resort, you can buy a used seat from trusted people – friends or family – provided that it was properly used and kept.
The car seat is responsible for the child’s safety, so it is one of the most important elements of the layette. It is worth checking regularly that all its elements are working properly, even if the expiry date given by the manufacturer has not yet arrived. It is also important to keep the seat clean. Food and drink leftovers and sand or grit like to accumulate in the harness buckle and other moving parts, resulting in slower operation or jamming. Finally, it is worth recalling that the seat must be replaced immediately if it is involved in even a minor collision. Fortunately, many companies do this for free if the bump has occurred within a certain period of time after purchase. For example, for Avionaut car seats, the post-accident replacement period is as long as two years. The safety of the child is the most important thing to us!