Car Seat Expiration

Did you know your car seat expires?
Graco puts an expiration date statement into the bottom or back of each car seat so you know when it is time to replace it. Expiration dates can range anywhere from six to ten years or more depending on the car seat – so it’s important to check your particular car seat. Used or expired car seats can be dangerous, especially if you don’t know the car seat’s history. For more information on how to find the age of your car seat, keep reading.

Q) How many years can I use my car seat?
A) For car seats in general, Six (6) years is the general recommendation, however some car seats, like car seats with steel reinforced frames, have useful lives up to ten (10). years. Each manufacturer determines the specific useful life for its seats. Most Graco car seats have either seven (7) or ten (10) year expiration dates. The reason for these limits involve possible degradation of the plastic shell or other parts, the possible loss/breakage of parts, and the fact that older seats sometimes do not meet current government safety standards (http://www.car-safety.org/) .

Q) How do I find out when my car seat expires?
A) There are multiple ways to find out the useful life of your car seat. Remember, each specific car seat you own will have its own expiration date so be sure to check every car seat you own.

  1. Most car seats will have an expiration date imprinted somewhere on the seat. Graco has an expiration statement located on the bottom or back of every car seat we make, with the statement “DO NOT use this car seat after ‘Month, Year’”. An example of the Graco expiration statement is shown below.
  2. Check the owner's manual. This will provide you the useful life of your seat. You will then need to check your seat’s Date of Manufacturer to determine the Month and Year you should stop use.
  3. When in doubt, the easiest thing to do is to call the manufacturer and ask them. Be sure to have you model number and date of manufacturer on hand, both can be found on the seat bottom or seat back.
  4. Register Your Product. You should do this even if you choose 1-3 above. Each manufacturer places a sticker with the model # and date of manufacture OR serial # on every car seat. This information can then be used to register your car seat. Once your product is registered, your manufacturer can notify you in the event of a recall.

Graco offers three ways to register:
  1. Mail-in card that comes on the front of the car seat
  2. Call Graco’s consumer service center 1-800-345-4109
  3. Register your product online.

Q) Where do I find the expiration date, model # and serial #/manufacture date on my Graco car seat?
A) Look for this sticker on the back or bottom of your seat.

Q) What do I do with an expired car seat?
A) First, if your child is still of height and weight to be in a car seat, you need to replace the seat and discontinue use of the expired car seat immediately. An expired seat should be disposed of in a way that it won’t be re-used by anyone. To help ensure a car seat won’t be used after expiration, it is a good idea to remove the cover, cut or remove the harness straps, write on it with a sharpie, and place it into a black garbage bag before taking it to be recycled or disposed of.You should then purchase a replacement car seat based on your child’s height and weight. Another option for finding a replacement seat is to find a Trade-In event at a local baby retailer. Your local Babies R Us hosts the Great Trade-In Event where you can bring in your expired car seat or trade in other baby gear products and receive coupons to use on your next car seat and/or other baby products.