Did you know that a car seat that is too old could reduce the effective protection of the seat for your child? But how do you know how old a car seat is? And how can you tell if it’s time to replace it?
The function of a car seat is to keep our children safe in the car. Car seats are often inherited, but it’s important to know that a car seat does have a lifespan – of about 10 years.
The lifespan of a car seat can be both shorter and longer than 10 years, depending on wear and tear and use. The car seat should therefore be checked regularly to ensure that, for example, belts and functions are still working properly.
How do I know how old my car seat is?
Under the car seat you can find two clock symbols stamped in with arrows in the middle pointing to a number. One shows the year of production and the other the month of production. They can be a little hard to find, but the tip is to shine a light to see them more clearly. Once you know when your chair was made, you’ll know how long you can use it. A car seat has a recommended lifespan of 10 years, but it’s important to take wear and tear and other factors into account as well.
In the picture below we see how numbers and arrows should be read. The first clock shows in the middle of the production year – 20 = 2020, if they had been 19 it would be 2019 and so on. Outside these we see 12 numbers = month. In this case, the month is 10 = October. The last clock shows the day and there the arrow is inserted between the numbers. This we would say is produced day 8-9 of the month. So the car seat in the picture is produced October 8th 2020!
What affects the lifetime of a car seat?
The lifetime of car seats can be both longer and shorter than 10 years. How long a car seat lasts depends entirely on the manufacturer, quality, materials, wear and tear and how much it is used. If it has been involved in an accident, even low speed impacts, the car seat should ALWAYS be replaced.
When should I replace my car seat?
Apart from following the recommended lifespan of 10 years and not having been in a crash – there are a few things to keep an eye on that may signal it’s time to replace your car seat.
- That the ISOFIX points no longer latch on fully.
- The harness is visibly stretched to a degree that affects how they sit against the body.
- Belt buckle clicks are dull – it could be dirt or fluid that has penetrated.
- Indicators are showing errors or not working as they should.
- The support leg is warped or broken.
- Buttons, belt clips or other parts have fallen off.
- If you are using an ISOFIX base and it won’t lock/open/is sluggish.
- The tilt/headrest adjustment does not work.
How do I make my car seat last as long as possible?
- Be careful when installing and handling your car seat so that nothing breaks.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight and high temperatures – cover it if it is going to be in direct sunlight for a long time.
Also Read our blogpost about why you should not buy a second hand car seat here »