When Should I Replace My Car Seat?

Although many Canadian parents are unaware, every child seat sold in Canada will have an expiry / useful life date on them despite not being required by regulation. Manufacturers do this to inform:

  • Current owners
  • Prospective buyers

Of the potential risks associated with using a car seat or booster seat that may be missing parts, labels, or may have an unknown history. All of these may lead to impeded performance when needed.

Other factors that affect Car Seat Lifespan & reduce safety

  • Elongated exposure to sunlight can damage and weaken plastic;
  • Faded labels can become hard to read;
  • Seats that are missing instructions;
  • Materials (food, drink, cleaners) that could affect buckles, adjusters and other parts from working safely;
  • No knowledge of history / condition of the car seat or booster seat;
  • Out of date seats may not pass current safety regulations
  • Notices: Non-original owners may not get product safety recall notices

The generally accepted rules for replacing car seats and booster seats:

When to replace a booster seat

  • Booster seats have expiry dates, so make sure you replace and dispose of yours when it expires.
  • Always replace and dispose of a booster seat that was in a vehicle that was involved in a collision. Even if the booster seat was empty, it may have been damaged.
  • Contact the manufacturer to check whether you should replace the seat if the shell or webbing of the seat are torn or damaged.

When to replace a child seat

  • Car seats have expiry dates, so make sure you replace and dispose of yours when it expires.
  • Always replace and dispose of a car seat that was in a vehicle that was involved in a collision. Even if the car seat was empty, it may have been damaged.
  • Contact the manufacturer to check whether you should replace the seat if the shell or webbing of the seat are torn or damaged

In the end, people should not use car seats and booster seats past their stated expiry or useful life date. At this point, the car seat should be permanently discarded as opposed to being donated or given to friends or relatives.