Car Seat expiration dates are based on the date of manufacture of your car seat.
The Expiration Dates for the Top Side is established as follows:
Seat Manufacture Date prior and after December 14, 2013 the expiration date is 6 years.
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Child restraints are stamped with expiration dates that range between 6 to 10 years, depending on the model. 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 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.
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.
These are some of the many reasons we are trying to keep older child restraints from becoming garage sale items or being passed on to others as the history (what the restraint has been exposed to both crash-wise and environmentally) will be lost.
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).