Car seats are highly regulated safety devices. To properly protect your child, the car seat must be in good shape and all labels and instructions present and readable.
Child restraints are stamped with expiration dates that range between 6 to 10 years, depending on the model. The expiration date of our Maxi-Cosi car seats are molded into the shell. Newer models now have the expiration noted in the user manual as well.
Over time, child restraints can become compromised in ways that are not visible to the naked eye. The components have been subjected to various exposures such as food, drinks, cleaners and other contaminants which may hinder the operation or possibly degrade the product.
An older or second-hand child restraint may not meet current safety standards and would not have the benefit of current technologies that can be lifesaving in the event of a collision.
With second-hand seats, the history is typically unknown. You may not be able to determine whether the seat has been involved in a crash or receive notification should a recall be issued.
In addition, labels on a child restraint can become illegible over time and the instructions will likely be lost so proper use becomes more difficult to determine for the user.
Some restraints may perform longer and some less, depending on many variables, but this is the current guidelines recognized by the manufacturer as well as NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).