With the Road and Transport Department (JPJ) waiting for the official green light to start issuing fines for not using a child car seat, many parents are rushing to purchase a seat to avoid needing to pay the expensive fine. But unfortunately, many are looking to second-hand child seats or hand-me-downs from friends and families. Did you know that these child car seats have an expiry date?
Yes, all child car seats have an expiry date or shelf life as we call it. There are many factors contributing to the expiry of a child seat and it is important to know when to trash the car seat and buy a new one.
And, no, this is not just a ploy for manufacturers to make you spend more money on purchasing a brand-new child car seat every few years or so.
How long is the shelf life of a child car seat?
A typical child car seat usually has a life span of 6 to 10 years from the date of manufacture. Every child car seat is required to come with a serial number sticker that will include manufacture and expiration dates.
To locate the sticker, check along the sides or back of the seat, or even flip the car seat over to check the bottom of the seat.
What are the factors that determine the life span of a child car seat?
As the world progressed, new technology gets invented as well. Car seat manufacturers are constantly updating designs to improve the safety of each product. An older car seat passed down to you might be cheaper or even free, but it will lack the latest life-saving technologies.
Additionally, a used car seat may not have all the original parts when it was first manufactured. It is almost like buying spare parts for your car, would you put parts that are not genuine in your car?
With new technology also comes new safety standards. Regulations to govern child car seat changes over time. If regulations and safety standards change, then your old car seat will not comply. Expiration dates will ensure that you’re using the important updates and not missing out.
Simple wear and tear
And of course, like many products you purchase the quality of the car seats degrades over time. Car seats are generally made from plastic, and no matter the quality of the plastic the manufacturers uses, it will still get damaged over the years.
This especially applies to car seats in Malaysia, as cars are inevitably left out in the sun for long hours. Over time, the plastic in a car seat can become brittle. So, if safety is a priority when you buy a car, why wouldn’t the state of the plastic materials used in your baby’s seat be important to you?
This is where you will find that buying a child car seat is very similar to buying a car. If a car seat was involved in an accident, the materials holding the seat together might be compromised as well.
So, if you’re purchasing a second-hand car seat, be sure you know the seat’s full history. Like a car, even if a seat has been properly repaired, it will not be fully 100 percent perfect.
Still unconvinced? Take a stroll down the child car seat aisle and pay attention to each product you see. Then compare them to one that was 6 years old, there will be visible differences and features that the older seat will not have that newer seats have already made standard.
Or are you still not convinced about child car seats and their importance?
Child car seats have been proven to have significantly reduced the number of children killed in a car crash. According to statistic data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the number of infants killed in a car crash has plummeted 80 percent since 1975.
Think about it, when your baby arrives, you scramble to purchase baby beds, baby strollers, and other essential baby items for the comfort and safety of your child, so why not a child car seat?