Is It Illegal to Use an Expired Car Seat? If Yes, Why?

Are you wondering – Is it illegal to use an expired car seat? Read on to learn about the legal implications and safety concerns of using an expired car seat for your child.

With time, our quality of life becomes better! If we look back on our times, most parents or car owners were hardly bothered about car seat expiration. But in today’s time, people have become more aware, and they are keen on keeping up the safety game stronger, not only for themselves but also for their kids!

As we talk about car seat expiration, many of you might be thinking, can you use an expired car seat? Well, you definitely can!

But the actual question is – should you use it? Because car manufacturers are putting up car seat expiration dates, there must be some prominent reasons why they are doing it.

is it illegal to use an expired car seat
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Some of us may still debate that this is a ploy of the car seat manufacturers who want people to buy the seats after using them for a few years to increase their sales. However, using an expired car seat also has some negative side effects that you can certainly not ignore!

In fact, most pediatrics in the US suggest changing your kids’ car seats after it has expired to prevent them from harming your child in any form! Well, that was about whether or not you should use a car seat after expiration.

But is it illegal to use an expired car seat? This is the ultimate question now! We will discuss this and more on the topic throughout this article. So, keep reading to gather more information on car seat expiration.

Why Do Car Seats Expire?

If the car seats actually do expire, there must be some prominent reasons why car seats expire, right? Well, there indeed is! But most of us are unaware of the reasons why the car seats may actually expire or why it has an expiration date! No wonder why people are less bothered about car seat expiration dates because they do not know the reasons in the first place!

But when we are here, you will get every detail about car seat expiration without hassle. So, here are 5 good reasons why do car seats expire. Check them out:

Environmental Factors

If you are not up for using an expired car seat, you must know why they expire in the first place! And environmental factors play a significant role in damaging car seats.

The car seats remain exposed to freezing and scorching temperatures throughout the year. And these changes in the temperatures and the polluted air can damage the car seats with the passing of time, leading to expiration.


No wonder people think about why car seats have an expiration date. The car seats have an expiration date so that the users can remain safe from damage and destruction caused by the expired car seats. However, if your car seats have yet to expire, they may be under a recall.

This is when you need to repair the seats, if any, to avoid the expiration. This can be done by calling the seat manufacturer, and if they confirm that the car is under recall, look for repairs to make it safer for further use.

Changing Regulations

If you often wonder why a car seat have an expiration date, then you must know that the change in the regulations and standards of the professional medical associations or certain transportation agencies lead to making car seats unfit for use after a certain period. That also leads to the expiration of the car seats!

Adjusting with Kids’ Growth

One of the most common questions parents ask is – Why do baby car seats expire? Well, with time, when your kids grow, you need to adjust their seats according to their growth. They might also spill food and water or chew straps off the car seats while using them.

Thus, it is only relevant to think that baby car seats should come with an expiration date to adjust to the baby’s growth.

Aging Materials

Have you ever thought about how important are car seat expiration dates? They are actually very important! Because when they expire, the materials used in the car seats start showing signs of degradation.

The plastic in the car seats starts to get brittle, and the other materials may begin to wear out! That is why the expiration date of the car seat is important, and you must pay attention to it!

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How Long are Car Seats Good For?

When you know that car seats have an expiration date, you would also want to know how long is a car seat good for, isn’t it? Well, depending upon the brand of the seat your car has or the usage of the seat, the vulnerability of damage varies.

If you are using your car seats too roughly, they can damage sooner, while if you seldom take your car out and regularly maintain it, then the longevity of the car seats surely increases.

However, if you ask – how many years are car seats good for?

On average, it can be said that most car seats are designed to last at least a minimum of 6 years and a maximum of 10 years. This number varies depending upon the abovementioned factors, like car use or other external factors like climate, changing regulations, etc.

So, it is advised that when you buy a car seat, you must always check the expiration date to be confirmed how long does a car seat last before it expires! Now comes the question: how often should you be changing your car seat, or do you need to change it as soon as it expires?

car seat expiration date

Well, the frequency of changing car seats depends on their condition. If you figure out that the make or model of the car seat is unaffected even after the expiration date, you may continue using it for a while, but it is suggested you get it checked by a professional.

But if you are using an expired car seat that does not seem fit for use, you must replace or repair it to be safe inside your car!

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Where to Find the Expiration Date on a Car Seat?

As the expiration date concept is young, people may need help to check where is the expiration date on a car seat! While most popular car seat brands mention the expiration dates of tier car seats on their websites, if you still need help finding them there, we will guide you to easily find the expiration date of some popular car seat brands in this section. Just keep reading.


The expiration date of a Graco car seat can usually be found on a white label located on the bottom or back of the car seat. The label may also be located on the side of the seat near the bottom. The expiration date is typically printed in black and white or grey and white and may be labelled as “Do not use after” or “Expiration date.


You can find the car seat safety expiration dates of this brand either on the seat or at the base. In addition, some Chicco car seats may have the expiration date stamped into the plastic shell of the seat, either on the bottom or the back of the seat.


Wondering where to find expiration date on car seat of the brand Britax? This one is a bit different from the above two.

Britax asks their customers to find the expiration dates of the seats on their own by using the serial number and the instruction manual. They provide the dates based on when the seats were made!


To check if your car seat is expired in the Evenflo seats, you need to check the DOM (date of manufacture) label. The details of the expiration date and manufacture are given on this label. The general term of expiration of car seats is 6 to 8 years.

Baby Trend

Still wondering where to find the expiration date on a car seat? If it is a baby trend seat, then you can calculate the expiration date by looking at the date of manufacture.

Most car seats have an expiration date of around 6 years from the date of manufacture. To know the manufacturing date, you need to check the underside of the car seat. You can also check it on the bottom of the base if not found there.

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Is It Illegal to Use an Expired Car Seat?

This is the most significant part of the article that you might have been looking for! Is it illegal to use an expired car seat? This question might have surpassed your mind a hundred times before you finally thought of getting an idea about it by reading the article! If you only worry about being legally binding by using an expired car seat, then you can relax.

Because in most US states, using an expired car seat is not illegal. However, as you might be violating the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) rules by using a car seat after the car seat expiration date is over, some states may still charge you for that!

But needless to say, beyond the legal bindings, one must ask whether you can use a car seat after it expires. You sure can! But it is highly recommended not to! If the expiration date is set on every seat, it means that there are safety reasons associated with its usage beyond the expiration date.

It is not necessarily illegal to use an expired car seat, but it is strongly recommended that you do not use an expired car seat.

Car seats have expiration dates for safety reasons. Over time, the different types of materials used in the car seat can degrade and become less effective in protecting a child in the event of a crash. Additionally, advancements in technology and safety standards may make older car seats outdated and less effective.

While it may not be illegal to use an expired car seat, it is quite essential to prioritize your child’s safety and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for the car seat. Using an expired car seat could put your child at risk for injury or even death in the event of a car crash.

That’s why it is highly recommended that you dispose of an expired car seat and purchase a new one that meets current safety standards.

However, if you continue using an expired car seat, you only willingly call to the damage. The materials worsen after some time, due to which the car seats can become unsafe for children. And changing it timely only brings more sense!

You must know what happens when a car seat expires because if you do not know the consequences of using an expired car seat, you will continue using it! You must not only abide by the legal binding to avoid using an expired car seat.

You must be mindful not to use an expired car seat because it carries enough damage that can degrade your child’s health and your car’s interior as well!

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What to Do with Expired Car Seats?

When the car seats expire, it is no longer useful! But it is not like other unused materials in the house that you can throw out on the dustbin. You must know how to dispose of the expired car seat because they contain some materials that are non-recyclable or cannot be disposed of quickly.

There are also other ways you can utilize the expired car seats and some of the helpful solutions are mentioned here:


The best thing to do when you think of what to do with old car seats is to donate them! There are certain local charities, church organizations, or local CPSTs that accept old car seats and make use of them in various ways.

Exchange in Trade

In events- many trade-in events occur across the US throughout the year, where they allow you to learn what do you do with car seats that have expired!

You can trade them in exchange for coupons or deals of some kind that will allow you discounts on your next seat purchase from that company. This is an ideal solution to make use of an expired car seat.

Recycle Properly

If you are thinking of recycling your old car seat, you must know how to recycle old car seats properly; otherwise, it will all go in vain! Locate a nearby recycling center and check the recycling guidelines.

Then remove the extra stuff from the seat, like the padding, straps, fabric, etc. You must also remove the metal pieces before you finally give the seat for recycling.

Dispose of It Mindfully

If you are still wondering what to do with expired car seats, here is another option that might excite you! Disposing of it entirely! If you do not wish to donate, trade, or recycle the old car seats, you will probably consider disposing of them.

And when you want to dispose of the car seats, you must be mindful. You must cut away the straps, remove the extra foam and padding, mark the seat as “Expired” or “Unsafe”, and remove the metal pieces to make it trash-worthy.

What Happens If You Use an Expired Car Seat?

No wonder if you have read the whole article and reached this section, you already know whether you can use an expired car seat! Although it’s not illegal to use an expired car seat, you know the reasons why you can’t use an expired car seat, mainly for your children! The car seats that come with an expiration date exist for a reason!

The materials used for making car seats have a lasting life of around 7-8 years! Beyond that, if you damage the car seat, not only can it show signs of degradation and damage, but it can also harm the ones using it!

The infant car seat expiration date must be followed wholeheartedly, and kids are more prone to getting affected by damaging car seat materials than adults are!

Though some people still think it is a scam by car seat manufacturers to sell more car seats by providing an expiration date for the old ones, you cannot avoid the fact that the materials used for making the car seats may harm your health over time.

So, I suggest not using an expired car seat even if there is no legal trouble with that! Your and your child’s safety should always be your priority! Happy riding!

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About Jace Cuban

I am an automotive enthusiast who loves to be around cars and pickup trucks. Applying innovative car care products and installing different latest car accessories are my hobbies. Also, I love sharing my adventurous experience with car lovers.

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