Expired Car Seats: A Real Hazard to Children in Car Accidents

Car safety experts are always looking for new ways to improve vehicle safety for passengers. Standards change and improvements are made to help ensure occupant protection in the event of a serious automobile crash. So, it may not come as a surprise that child safety seats have expiration dates on them.

But, are these expiration dates on child car seats merely recommendations designed to get consumers to spend more money on purchasing new seats, or are there genuine safety concerns with using expired car seats?

Why Do Child Car Seats Expire?
  • Technology improves. This transition is not as simplistic as a change from DVD to Blu-Ray technology. As crash impact standards change, it’s important that car seats adapt to these findings. Child weight limits and height restrictions can play a key part in the effectiveness of a car seat during a serious car accident.
  • Materials wear out. The structural quality of a child safety seat can break down over time. Normal wear and tear can weaken the strength of harnesses, and small cracks in the frame of the seat can form, causing a seat to fail in the event of a high-speed collision (i.e. head-on collisions, t-bone crashes, roll-over crashes).
  • Safety testing eventually stops. Manufacturers continue to test seat performance even after new models are released for sale. However, after a certain number of years, this testing stops. By the time a seat expires, manufacturers don’t know how well that seat will perform in the event of a car crash.

If you are a parent who has a small child riding in a car seat, please be sure to check the expiration date of the seat. This simple act could save your child’s life if you’re ever involved in a serious auto accident on one of metro-D.C.’s busy interstates or congested city streets.

If your child was injured in a car accident because a safety seat failed, we may be able to help you understand your rights. Call our offices today for more information.

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