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My Infant Car Seat Expired

By Macki West |

And I’m seriously annoyed. I’ve used it with my first two babies and have taken amazing care of it. Washed it, stored it properly, the thing looks brand new and I was looking forward to using it with the new little one come December. Then I had this flash of, ‘oh I should check the expiration date’, but wasn’t too worried, it’s only 6 years old. A few days later I dug it out and checked for the date. 2011. Are you kidding me?!  I’ve takes such great care of all my baby gear that I’ve spent thousands on (as we all have) and now I have to go spend more money on a new seat that will only be used for up to 9 months. This sounds like a middle or upper class problem if you ask me. So I decided to do some research and was shocked by what I discovered…

The plastic deteriorates.

Oh come on, do these manufacturers who are trying to get more money out of me expect me to believe this?! How long does it take plastic to break down in a landfill? 100 years? More? Yet I’m supposed to believe the people who will make more money off of me by forcing me to purchase a new car seat after five years. This seems like a hoax.

Materials wear out.

Ok, so let me buy some replacement straps or pads. Oh, I can’t get any or it’s going to cost me the same as buying a new seat. Smart of you baby gear manufacturers.

Technology changes.

Yep, it does. I’m somehow surviving without siri and our original iPad suits the kids and the husband just fine. I don’t need fancy latest greatest, I need to be able to pass it down…to myself.

Even with all of this seemingly crap they are feeding us, I was STILL nervous about putting my brand new precious cargo into an expired seat.  After getting the infant seat out of storage I decided to thoroughly inspect it for myself, just to see how this infant car seat was holding up.  I started to take it apart.  First I noticed the foam disintegrating. Eww. Then I tried to take the belts off, they would need to be washed anyway. I looked closely and they were fraying. It’s so hard getting the belts off of the seat and as I was pushing them through the hole and pulling from the other end, the plastic cracked and bent and the belt went flying free. OMG, they weren’t lying, this isn’t a marketing scam!  This thing IS deteriorating.

I decided I must toss it, but what’s the deal with getting rid of a car seat. If I stick it on the curb someone will pick it up and it’s BROKEN now. I can’t put other infants lives in danger. I researched what do to to get rid of the seat and found out that my local (Los Angeles) sanitation department recycles them.  I just had to remove and cut the straps, remove the foam and the cover and cut it up, put that into the garbage bin and place the shell of the car seat into the recycle bin. I kept the base for an extra week so someone wouldn’t go through and get both pipettes together and somehow use it. Make sure you take it all apart and call your local sanitation department for their guidelines.

Then I put a call into my insurance company and was informed that if my kids are injured in an expired car seat in an accident, their injuries will not be covered. Another reason to check for expiration dates! Turns out I have less than a year on our extra toddler seat so that one needs to be replaces soon.  If you are unsure when your seat expires, check for a date stamped into the base. If that’ not their look at the manual. If you don’t have a manual get the serial number from the seat and contact the manufacturer. If you remember when you purchased the seat, count the years, if it’s an infant seat, you’ve got 5 years, if it’s a convertible or toddler seat, 6 years.

The best way to ensure your seats expiration and any recalls or other pertinent information is to register it as soon as you buy it.  All you have to do is fill out the card and send it to the company, simple.

Now I need a new infant car seat and a new toddler seat coming up. Anyone have any favorites? It’s been six years so there are tons to choose from and I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Read more from Macki on Being Pregnant or the Family Kitchen

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About Macki West


Macki West

Macki West is a unique and original wild-woman at heart who happens to be wrapped around her three kids fingers. She founded Cool Mom Tips and contributes to Prudent Baby, Cooking With My Kid, Babble’s Family Kitchen, and Babble Pregnancy. Read bio and latest posts → Read Macki's latest posts →

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