Did you know baby car seats have expiration dates??

by Lisa Parker

You've checked your milk and your eggs, but do you have any idea when your child's car seat expires?

Erin Brewster recently had her fifth child.

Brewster said she frequently checks recall information on her seats, but was surprised to learn they had an expiration date.

"Seven years doesn't seem that long, that's how old the oldest is," said Brewster.

She's a bit skeptical.

"I feel like it's a marketing thing.  I feel like it's trying to get us to buy more."

Car seat safety technician Brooks Watson explained that it's not just a way to sell more car seats.

"These manufacturers are in business to make money, but that's not the reason why there are expiration dates.  Expiration dates are about getting your children into safe seats," Watson explained.

Watson, who runs a car seat safety business, says there are many reasons seats expire, and  all of them are valid.

"The most common reason is wear and tear.  The sun, the activity in the car all take a toll on carseats over time," Watson said.

Brooks also cited technology changes.

"In the last decade, we've also seen dramatic changes in the way that carseats fit into cars."

Expiration dates apply to all ranges of seats.

So how do you know when your seat expires?  That answer varies by manufacturer.

Some list dates on labels under the seat cover; others imprint them onto the seat itself.

The clock here starts ticking when the seat is made, not when it's purchased and put into use.

If a new car seat is on sale at a great price, it could be that it's already 18 months old.

Even though it's never been used, that will cut into how long it's safe to use.

Once you figure out whether your child's seat is good to go, don't forget the most important piece of advice, make sure the seat is installed correctly.