As everyone knows, perishable goods have expirations dates to keep people from eating spoiled products. However, some nonperishable goods, like baby car seats, have expiration dates as well. Expiration dates on car seats protect children who depend on them to save their lives in case of accidents. Learn why car seats have expiration dates in Recaro car seat reviews.
Why Car Seats Have Expiration Dates
When researching car seats for your baby, you may notice that they have expiration dates. While this may seem odd, there are several reasons why car seats expire, and children should not ride in an old one. Most manufacturers of car seats set their expiration dates for six years from the date of manufacture.
If you already have children riding in car seats, or booster seats, then you can check for the seats’ date of expiration by looking on the manufacturers’ labels. The labels are usually on the sides or the base of the car seat and may say expiration or manufacture date. If the car seat’s date has passed, then it needs replacing to protect the child riding in it.
Reasons for Expiration Dates
Some of the reasons for expiration dates on car and booster seats are:
- Car seat recalls
- Normal wear and tear
- Past lifespan for safety testing
- Fewer replacement parts
- Improved tandards
Car Seat Recalls
Sometimes old car seats are part of recalls, and the owners of them may not receive notices about the recall, or they may not know how to find out about past recalls.
Normal Wear and Tear
With a growing child sitting in a car seat, the harness, padding, tethers, and anchors can receive wear, compress, or stretch out of shape. Obtaining this type of wear can make these safety features unreliable and put a child at risk if there is a car accident.
Past Lifespan for Safety Testing
Car seats undergo safety testing for a short time, and then the manufacturers stop the tests. Parents don’t know how well older model car seats will do in car accidents due to the lack of information.
Fewer Replacement Parts
As time passes, replacement parts for older car seats may no longer be available through the manufacturers. If a part needs replacing and it isn’t available, using the car seat would be risky, and parents should replace it.
Changes in technology help improve the safety of equipment like children’s car and booster seats. If someone uses an old car seat from a friend or sibling, it may not have the safety features on it that are on new car seats. Always look on the seat for the expiry date before accepting someone’s old car seat as a gift for an infant or child.
Also, a child should not sit in a car seat with visible damage from an accident. The damage beneath the shell of the seat could be more extensive, making the child vulnerable to injury should another accident occur.
What is the Recaro Car Seat and How does it Work?
Although Recaro makes several car seat models, they can be difficult to find in the United States. If that’s the car seat brand that you’re interested in, then you should look online for a Recaro car seat because they no longer sell them in the US.
The Recaro Start Zero Seven may be the easiest car seat to get because it is sold through a popular online company. It is a convertible car seat that Recaro makes in Japan and import to other countries to sell it. However, the company isn’t Japanese, they are German, so their products should be familiar to many European moms and dads.
The car seat is suitable for infants through children who are about seven years old or children who weight approximately 55 pounds, which is the maximum weight the manufacturer recommends. The minimum weight is 5.51 pounds.
The company protects the head of the infant and child with a large-size head protection feature that prevents or reduces damage from side impacts. The car seat’s headrest adjusts in 13 positions, and the shoulder belt moves with each adjustment, which makes it easy to fit a child into the seat correctly.
A five-point harness system helps hold children in the seat from the time they are newborns. Even though other car seats have older children use the car’s seatbelt for safety, this harness fits kids up to 55 pounds. The padding of the car seat also protects children because it absorbs energy if the vehicle gets hit. Its padding helps protect the head down to the torso.
The inner cushion of the seat is a combination of leather and a hygroscopic material that dries quickly. A 3D mesh fabric is also in the inner cushioning because the material allows air to circulate, keeping the seat cool for the child. This combination of luxurious and practical materials is one reason some reviewers recommend the Recaro car and booster seats.
Recaro has other infant and child car seat models on its website, as well as booster seats for three to 12-year-old children. The Start Zero Seven is available in two colors, black, and orange.
What Makes Recaro Car Seats Unique?
Recaro head protection is probably the unique aspect of their car seats. The company’s design is distinctive in that they use a larger head size to protect the infant or child sitting in the seat. The padding surrounding the child’s head, which goes down to the torso, is energy absorbing, so if there is an accident, it will diminish the impact on the child.
Also, the headrest of the Recaro Start Zero Seven adjusts in 13 positions, and it adjusts the shoulder harness at the same time to ensure the seat fits the child properly. Having a good fit is essential to the child in the seat being safe, and the car seat taking the impact of a hit by another vehicle instead of the baby or toddler within it.
Using leather material in the car seat is unusual because it can be cold in the winter and get hot in the summer. However, with 3D mesh and hygroscopic materials also in the covering, the material doesn’t get as hot as it could because they allow air to circulate through the fabric, which helps cool it. The leather gives the car seats a more luxurious appearance too.
Buyers should be careful when searching for Recaro products since they are not sold in the US anymore. Some sites may sell them, but they could be used. Carefully read the information on the car seat that is available to see if it is new or used. If it isn’t new, then consider another model or another brand. An older car seat could be past its expiration date, which would make it unsafe to use it.
Public Perception (Other Recaro Car Seat Reviews)
The reputation for Recaro car seats took a significant blow when US safety regulators put out a recall on their car seats in 2014. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, NHTSA, found a major safety issue while testing the car seats. They saw that a part securing the top of the car seat could break in crashes, causing it to fly forward during the accident.
This finding leads to a disagreement between the company and US regulators that went on for almost three years. A recall for over 170,000 car seats was issued, and the company decided to stop selling car and booster seats, as well as strollers, in the US.
While feedback from parents who have the car seats is difficult to find, some Recaro car seat reviews give the brand high marks for safety, appearance, and price. However, most of these sites aim their reviews at the non-American market because of the difficulty in finding Recaro’s baby products in the US.
One site has a review of three Recaro car or booster seat models, including the Start Zero Seven. They like the model because of its safety features, though some of their facts are wrong. For instance, they note that there are 10 adjustments for the headrest instead of 13. They also give the maximum weight for children at 65 pounds, instead of 55.
Another review site gives the Recaro Start Zero Seven a five-star rating, which is an A+. They note that the company makes car seats for babies of all ages, along with booster seats for older children. The site also likes its safety features like the head wings that provides extra protection for babies’ heads and necks.
The review also notes the high weight levels for the five-point harness to hold kids in the seat safely. Most other brands have a much lighter weight limit for wearing a harness than Recaro does. Another feature they like is its ease of installation. They also mention the easy way the size adjusts as your child grows as well.
How it Compares
- Extended weight range keeps children safely harnessed longer: 5 to 40 pounds rear facing and 22 to 85 pounds forward...
- The only harnessed convertible car seat rated to 85 pounds (as of November 2016)
- ClipQuik auto magnetic chest clip gets you on your way quickly
- Trusted Quality, Upgraded Design: Looking for Frontier? Grow with you ClickTight is our newest harness to booster car...
- Install Confidently: With ClickTight, you know it's right in just 3 easy steps. Open, thread & buckle, close
- 2 in 1 Booster Seat: Easily transitions from forward facing harness mode to belt positioning booster mode as your child...
The car seat business is a competitive market, and Recaro has several competitors including Britax. One review site notes that Recaro strives to provide quality seating at every price level. They do have higher end seating, but they also have good quality car seats at lower price levels than some of the Britax models.
However, the cost of Recaro car seats is going to be higher due to the need to import them to the US. If they are in the United Kingdom, parents can purchase Recaro infant or convertible car seats from about £99 to £120. The Britax car seat prices range from £88 to £250, depending on the type of seat.
Also, they mention the adjustable safety features on the car seats, as well as their ease of installation in comparison to Britax. However, the review site doesn’t go into detail to compare this aspect of the two brands.
Another site that directly compares Recaro and Britax car seats note that while the Britax seats have wider head wings, the child’s head can roll and bounce around while they are in it. The Recaro seats have narrower head wings, so their head stays put during their ride.
They also note that the Britax car seat cover comes off easier, but the fit is tight, and it is difficult to get it back on the frame. However, the Recaro car seat cover requires more work to get it off the frame, but it fits better going back on and slips on much easier than taking it off. On this site, the Recaro beat out the Britax car seat.
What We Think
The Recaro car seats have a good reputation among reviewers for their safety features, their quality, and comfort levels for children. Although they can be difficult to find in the United States due to the recall issue, Canadians and Europeans can easily find and buy them for their children or as gifts for parents-to-be.
Due to their reputation regarding safety, price, and quality, we recommend the Recaro car seats to parents. Any manufacturer can have models that have bad parts on them. Even Graco car seats, which are arguably the top seller in the US had recalls on some of their models, but they have a good reputation for safety as well.
As Recaro car seat reviews reveal, this brand makes the car seats that parents want and like for a reasonable price.
Featured image source: freepik