Check the expiration dates on car seats

Car seat expiration tag

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – You know to check the expiration dates on milk or eggs, but what about one thing that keeps your child or baby safe? The 22News I-Team reveals the hidden dangers of car seats.

Car seats do have their own expiration date. If your car seat is expired, that plastic may not hold up in an accident, putting your child in danger every time you go for a drive.

When you put your child in a car, you want to make sure he or she stays safe. You put her in a car seat, make sure the seat clicks in, check the straps and make sure she’s buckled in, but do you ever check the small print and see when this car seat expires; or even know that car seats expire?

(Do you know that baby car seats have expiration dates?) “Oh no, I have no idea,” said Pilar Reyes of Springfield. Reyes has six grandchildren. Finding those expiration dates aren’t always easy.

“This one is on the label itself…This car seat has it embossed in the plastic…some of them don’t have it listed on their car seat, but have it listed on the manual,” said Mandi Summers, Safe Kids of Western Massachusetts Coordinator.

(Why do car seats expire?) “It is the plastic, you think about a car seat in New England suffering through the winter months and the summer heat, the plastic expands and contracts several times,” said Summers.

Car seats usually expire six or more years after the date they were made, it varies by car seat. If you were in a car accident, you aren’t supposed to use that car seat again.

For those reasons, Summers doesn’t recommend buying a used car seat. The 22News I-Team went to several children’s 2nd hand stores. Some won’t carry car seats, like Hannah’s Closet in Granby.

(Why don’t you sell car seats here?) “It’s hard to tell the expiration date, I can’t guarantee to my customers that something hasn’t happened like a car accident or it’s been passed down for 2 or 3 children. So I just choose to stay away from it,” said Lindsay Hasaert, owner of Hannah’s Closet.

Others like Hurley’s Children’s Cottage in Wilbraham will. Their owner didn’t want to go on camera, but did say they make an additional label for the expiration date.

Craigslist is another place where you can easily find used car seats. We found four being sold in western Massachusetts during one search. There’s no way to guarantee that those seats haven’t been in an accident and there aren’t any expiration dates aren’t listed on the ad.

“I prefer to buy new ones to be sure about the safety,” said Amro Osman of East Longmeadow.

Even if a car seat has never been used, it doesn’t mean it’s new. We went to Babies R’ Us, and found this car seat that has been sitting on the shelves for more than a year. Which shortens the life span of a car seat. The question is, is this about safety or is it about money.

(Car seats are expensive is this a marketing ploy or are these for safety reasons?) “These are safety issues, it’s not that they’re trying to sell you more items,” said Summers.

When you hit that expiration date, Summers says you should stop using it.

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