Is it illegal to use an expired car seat?

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Regarding babies and young children, nothing matters more to parents than their safety. We will all go to great lengths to protect our little ones. The use of car seats is an essential must-have for all parents with young children. 

However, as soon as a car seat’s expiration date has passed, confusion and questions start to arise. It’s not uncommon for parents to question: whether is it illegal to use an expired car seat or if it’s just a recommendation. Let’s dig into everything you need about using expired car seats. 

Why do car seats have expiration dates?

Car seats are designed to keep children safe in a car accident, and over time, the materials used to make the seats can degrade, making them less effective in protecting your child. Over time, wear and tear weaken the seat’s structure, eventually making the car seat unsafe. Therefore, experts recommend that car seats only be used up to their expiration date. 

Is it illegal to use an expired car seat?

Using an expired car seat is not illegal in most states, but it is not recommended under any circumstances. However, some states have laws that require car seats to be in good condition and up-to-date with the latest safety regulations. Using an expired car seat may not be illegal, but it’s not advisable. 

The Need and the Importance of Car Seats

why should you not use an expired car seat? Car seats are essential for children’s safety in a vehicle, as they protect them from severe injuries and even death. Car seat laws vary by state, so you must check local laws before putting your child in the car. However, these laws are all based on the idea that children should be secured in vehicles with properly-fitted child safety seats whenever they ride.

  • Car seats are designed to protect children by absorbing most of the impact energy from a crash while preventing them from being thrown out of the vehicle if an accident occurs. Most states require that all children up to a certain age (usually 8) be secured in a child safety seat appropriate for their size, weight, and age.
  • The need for car seats is even more important for babies, who have weak neck muscles and cannot control their head movements in the event of an accident. Infant car seats are designed to support the baby’s head, shoulders, and torso to prevent injury from sudden motion. 
  • Another reason you should refrain from using an expired car seat is the loss of warranty. The manufacturer’s warranty is only valid until the expiration date. If an old car seat is involved in an accident outside the expiration date, the manufacturer will not replace or compensate the owner for any damage to the child, the vehicle, or the car seat. 
  • Moreover, using an expired car seat puts your child at risk and increases their chances of injury in the event of an accident. The materials used in the car seat degrade over time, making them less effective in a collision.
  • Properly securing the infant car seat is also necessary according to the manufacturer’s instructions, as improperly installed seats can cause more harm than good.
  • Ensure their children are always adequately secured in new car seats before taking to the roads.
  • A parent must guarantee that the appropriate car seat bases are in place for their child (or children) and that it is appropriately installed in the vehicle. Being aware of your state’s regulations and comprehending how to install and utilize a convertible car seat can assist in ensuring the safety of your family while on the road.

Remember how many lives car seat use has saved over the years and how important it is to use them correctly every time. The car seat expiration dates are in place for a reason – the plastic and other materials used in making them can break down over time from exposure to temperature, sunlight, and stress from daily use. 

This could make the car seat less effective at protecting your child during an accident. So it is best to replace it with a newer model once the expiration date has passed.

When do car seats expire?

Typically, Car seats expires after 6 or 7 years of use. Car seat manufacturers will usually indicate the expiration date on their products, or you can find it by looking at the serial or model number. Make sure to replace your infant car seat before it expires to ensure that your child is adequately protected while in the car. 

Why do car seats expire? Check your car seat’s expiration date, as the materials used in manufacturing can degrade over time and become less effective in protecting a child in an accident. 

Moreover, if you have been involved in a crash, replacing your infant car seat is crucial, even if it has yet to expire. Car seats can be damaged from an accident, even if there is no visible damage to the seat itself. 


Replacing your car seat after an accident can help guarantee that it is still providing adequate safety for your child. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and your state laws when it comes to car seat safety. 

Read Also: Is It OK to Put Baby to Sleep Without Burping?

How to tell if the Graco car seat is expired?

Graco car seats have an expiration date on the bottom or side of the seat. Always check this date before purchasing a used Graco car seat, as expired seats should not be used. 

In addition, Graco recommends that all car seats be replaced after six years of use, regardless of condition. The expiration date can be found by looking for a sticker with a month and year. If the sticker is missing, the Graco car seat should not be used, as it may not meet current safety standards.

Lastly, replace the seat before wearing it if you find any signs of wear or damage. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for safety and use when determining if a Graco car seat expired. 

Following these guidelines helps ensure that your child can travel safely in their car seat every time. Also, contact Graco customer service with questions or concerns about expiration dates or safety standards.

What is the safety first car seat expiration date?

The expiration date of a Safety 1st car seat is typically 5-6 years from the date of manufacture. If you own a safety first car seat, you can also check your car seat’s manual for the car seat’s history and when the car seat expires.

What is the Graco car seat expiration date?  

The expiration date of Graco booster seats is typically 7-10 years from the date of manufacture. Also, check your booster seat’s manual for the exact expiration date. 


Where can you find car seat expiration dates?

Most car seats come with a sticker that indicates the manufacturer’s expiration date for the seat. This can usually be found on the side of the car seat near the base, sometimes underneath it in an area hidden from view, or near the kid-restraint anchors.

The car seat expiration date may also be printed on a label inside the seat, so you may need to remove the cover or fabric to view it. It is essential to check this expiration date before purchasing a new car seat to ensure you buy a safe and reliable product. 

Also, if you have an older car seat model, double-check its expiration, as these dates can sometimes change over time.

Car seat expiration dates of different types of car seats.

Car seats typically expire after a specific date, usually six years from the date of manufacture. 

  • Infant car seats have a shorter lifespan, typically expiring within four years. 
  • Convertible car seats are usually good for about seven to nine years.
  • Booster seats tend to last around eight to ten years.

It is important to note that car seat expiration dates are based on the date of manufacture and not on when it was purchased. It means a car seat expires even if you haven’t had it for six years. 

Where to donate expired car seats?

If you have an expired car seat you no longer need, there are a few places to donate it.

  • One option is your local Goodwill store or donation center. Check with your store for specific instructions on how and when to donate expired car seats. 
  • The Salvation Army and other thrift stores may also accept donations of expired car seats.
  • You can also look for organizations in your area with programs specifically for donating car seats. 
  • Many communities have a branch of the Safe Kids organization, or you can check with local fire departments or police stations to see if they accept donations.
  • Sometimes, you can donate expired car seats directly to a needy family. Seek out local groups working with low-income families, or contact your state’s Department of Human Services to find out if a program for reusing donated car seats exists.
  • Finally, many companies will accept expired car seats and recycle them in an environmentally responsible way. Contact your car seat manufacturer for more information about where to send it for recycling.

It is essential to clean and examine the car seat thoroughly before donating it. If there are any indications of deterioration or impairment, refrain from donating it, as it could be hazardous for usage.

Donating your expired car seat can effectively enhance child safety, and you can be reassured that your donation will have a beneficial effect.

By following some simple procedures, you can ensure that the seat ends up in the possession of those who require it the most.

Is it illegal to sell an expired car seat?

The answer to this question depends on your local laws. In most states, it is not illegal to sell an expired car seat; however, it is essential to check your local laws before you proceed. Depending on the state, it may be illegal to knowingly sell an expired car seat or a car seat that does not meet safety standards.

It is also important to note that expiration dates for car seats are usually listed on the product, so you should always check the expiration date before selling a used car seat. In addition, some states may require child safety restraint system (CSRS) training or certification before legally selling an expired car seat.

Finally, it is essential to note that if you decide to sell an expired car seat, buyers should be informed of the expiration date and provided with all the necessary safety information.

How to Get Rid of Expired Car Seats?

Properly recycling your expired car seat is the optimal course of action. What to do with an expired car seat? Here are a few ways to go about it:

  1. You should contact your nearby recycling center or hazardous waste facility. These facilities often take expired car seats and handle their proper disposal ecologically responsibly.
  2. Many manufacturers have car seat recycling program for expired car seats. Check if they provide a take-back program or if you can send them your expired seat in exchange for a voucher, coupon, or rebate.
  3. Specific merchants provide programs for recycling car seats as well. Therefore it’s worth contacting your nearby store to learn more about this.

Whatever option you choose, follow all the instructions carefully and ensure that the infant car seat is safely disposed of. Recycling your expired car seat will help keep our environment clean and safe. Thank you for doing your part!


In sum, using an expired car seat is not necessarily against the law in numerous states, but parents are strongly advised to refrain from using them. Car seats are an essential tool in providing your child with maximum safety in the event of an accident. Therefore, it is crucial to ensure they are in perfect condition, up-to-date and compliant with all safety regulations. Remember that your child’s safety always comes first. So, if your car seat’s expiration date has passed, it’s time to retire it and invest in a new one.

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