How Long Are Baby Car Seats Good For? When It's Time to Buy a New One

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
March 4, 2023
Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat | Infant to Toddler Car Seat, with 10 Years of Use, Fairmont

Car seats are expensive but so incredibly necessary for the safety of your child. Once you learn how to install it in your car correctly, you may not want ever to remove it. At that point, you will probably wonder how long are baby car seats good for.

How Long Are Baby Car Seats Good For: It Depends

There is no quick answer to the question about how long are baby car seats good for. It depends on the manufacturer. However, you can expect to get at least six years out of your investment into a car seat, but there are exceptions.

How Long?

Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1 Car Seat | Infant to Toddler Car Seat, with 10 Years of Use, Fairmont
Image source: amazon

Every car seat manufacturer is different, but the typical life of a car seat is 6 to 10 years. That might seem like a wide range, but car seats are designed with different ages in mind and with different materials.

The infant car seats typically serve you for six years. When you get to convertibles or boosters, you can expect 10 years of use.

But why?

All car seats have expiration dates set by the manufacturer. However, this isn't just to get you to buy more car seats. There are legitimate safety reasons behind expiration dates.

They have expiration dates because metal and plastic parts wear down after time due to use. Also, the exposure to cycles of heat and cold contributes to the wear of the materials.

And while the seat may look just as sturdy as the day you bought it, there's a chance it will fail during an accident because of that wear and tear.

Sometimes finding the expiration date on a car seat is a challenge. For more information about car seat expiration dates and how to find the tag indicating the date, check out this video.

That new car seat smell

Babies under the age of one need to be rear-facing in a car seat designated for infants. Eventually, your child grows into convertible car seats and then booster seats.

Shynerk Baby Car Mirror

When you buy that first rear-facing car seat and the handy gear that goes along with it, keep in mind the manufacturer recommendations for how long the car seat is useful. It will help you with planning down the road.

Sometimes new won't do

You may decide a gently used car seat is the best choice for your family.

If you buy second hand, be sure you know the car seat's history. First of all, you want to avoid car seats that have been in a car accident. Those seats have now been placed under the stress of a crash and may not be able to withstand a second incident.

Just like with seats past their expiration date, they could be just fine. But that's not a risk worth taking.

Furthermore, you want to look into recalls, and don't forget to look for that expiration date before committing.

If you are receiving your used car seat from someone you know and trust, and you reviewed the expiration date, a used car seat is both safe and suitable.

Babies are expensive, so it makes sense to look for deals. If you are diligent about checking the car seat's past, used is a great option.

You have to share

If you have more than one child, that's a lot of car seats. You might decide on a car seat designed to last longer than your typical car seat. This way, your child can use it their entire childhood. However, you might also consider having your younger children use their sibling's car seats as they grow.

It makes sense to reuse what you already have. Since you know the history of the car seat, it might feel wasteful to not get every moment of use out of that investment.

Remind yourself of the expiration date on the manufacturer's label, though, so you can calculate how much time you have left.

Once you determine the car seat is in good shape with plenty of life to go around, you are safe to continue to use them with subsequent children.

How Long Are Baby Car Seats Good For: Buckle Up!

If you are a parent, you will use car seats for years. Having a handle on how to get the most life out of your car seat investment is essential.

The decisions you make when you plan on having just one child might be different from those who plan on having a few kids.

The Trailz

There are choices when it comes to car seats. You could buy just one car seat for the entire time your child will use one.  You might also swap and share among siblings until your children grow out of the need for car seats. Buying used is also a viable option.

All of these are potential choices as you come to terms with how long are baby car seats good for.

How much use did you get out of your car seat? Let us know in the comments!

Featured image source: amazon

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