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Thread: Carseats Expire - your view on this

  1. Darkly Dreaming Dexter
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    #1

    Carseats Expire - your view on this

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    Green Mammy's post in the BR informed me of this and I'm not sure where the original thread is that sparked her post but I was wondering other people's views and didn't want to continue this there.

    Carseats, apparently, expire.
    When they expire you should get rid of them and buy a new one.
    They are given an expiration year based on the idea that after years of use the plastic and other materials will weaken and become more brittle and put your child in more danger.

    Here's an aritcle with some details about carseat expireation and general safety. http://www.celebrity-babies.com/2008...eatsafety.html

    Here's the direct quote:
    Car seats expire. Yes, it's true that car seats expire. Most expire after 6 years. It makes sense when you think about all the use these things get, the extreme hot/cold temps, etc. Just think what a plastic toy would look like if you after 6 years of that much use!
    Another article that goes into far deeper: http://babyproducts.about.com/b/2006...ats-expire.htm

    Ok - so let's debate *why* they really expire.

    1) Do they truly become death traps because of supposed weakness in the materials?
    What about the actual seats and seatbelts in your car the you and your older children use. Do these need to be removed and thrown away as well?

    2) Are these concerns backed up factually with studies and so forth - are children who are securely and properly buckled in an old, expired carseat more suseptable to injury than a child buckled properly in a new one? (Nevermind the studies that showed that a lot of carseats aren't designed safe to begin with - lets presume, for the sake of arguement, that yours is top-notch)

    3) What happens to all these old, thrown away carseats? Are they recycled? Is there a recycling center or other such method to dispose of them or do they end up in a landfill forever?

    4) Liability - do you think that the notion that a seat expires is based more on liability with the carseat company (in an attempt to nullify responsibility in case their seat fails, etc) INSTEAD of true concerns in actual child-safety.

    5) Do you care? If you're learning this "fact" for the first time (like i am, now) and didn't know your carseat expired are you going to buy a new one?

    6) Money - Do you think the companies are more interested in expiring these carseats for financial gain (with your need to buy new ones, etc) than they are in your child's safety?


    I'll reply with my responses and views.
  2. Senior Member
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    #2
    1) Do they truly become death traps because of supposed weakness in the materials?
    What about the actual seats and seatbelts in your car the you and your older children use. Do these need to be removed and thrown away as well?
    Carseats main material is injection molded plastic, usually HDPE, or High density polyethylene. There are polymers that have a UV resistance, but HDPE isn't one of them. It's the nature of the chemical makeup of HDPE to break down after it's been exposed to the sun (like through a car's windows)..

    The actual seats that grown ups sit in are probably/usually a blow molded Polypropylene.. If the resin used has a white tint, it's probably not UV resistant. If it's gray or black, there's probably an additive in it to make it UV resistant..

    It's a different manufacturing process, and the plastic have a different chemical makeup.. I'm currently working as a research and development design engineer for Polaris, work with polymers.
  3. allahu alam
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    #3
    idk. i know nothing about all this nonsense, but i'll probably practice better safe than sorry if/when we have kids.

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    #4
    Why don't they make them out of the same material that Chevy Avalanches and other plastic encrusted vehicles are made out of?
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    #5
    Personally, IMO... there's expiration dates on everything to insure the consumer's safety. There's reason or purpose ... there's testing, experiments, scientific data, crash test dummies etc, etc, etc. It's not a question of money making... it's a question of whether or not you are protecting your child.

    You wouldn't serve your baby expired fish... why risk using expired carseats?
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  6. Darkly Dreaming Dexter
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    #6
    My seat isn't near expiration because after every child we got rid of things of this nature truly expecting to not have more - and then always had to buy a new one of everything.

    But - if a carseat breaks down and gets weak after time then they need to focus on changing that so someone who intends to have multiple children doesn't have to buy a new one every 6 years or whatever.

    Now - 6 years is a pretty good long while, though. But they're also expensive and I can understand how people would reuse them - expired or not.

    Now - the pessimistic side of me also feels that their choice to knowingly make carseats out of materials that are more known to breakdown and get weak is greed. They know if they continue to do this them they will make more money.

    If my car's seats don't breakdown, weaken and need to be replaced every 6 or so years then why can't they use that function and knowledge to build a long-lasting seat that won't be an issue?
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    #7
    Yes, I knew they expired, yes I will replace DD's when it expires. Plastics do break down, but technology and safety standards get better too. 6 years ago the standards were not as high as they are today so today's seats are much safer than 6 years ago. I'm about to buy my DD a Graco Nautilus because I want to keep her in a harness as long as possible (it goes up to 65lbs). This one converts to a high-backed booster and then a backless booster. Once we get to the backless booster (i.e. it's just the cushion thing that she's sitting on) I'm not really so bothered by the expiration because she's only using it for height, the belt does all the work.

    I believe car seats can be recycled. I haven't had to do it with one of ours yet.
  8. Darkly Dreaming Dexter
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    #8
    Yeah, the recycling thing is a big deal for me - I don't like chunking them in the trash but my state is way behind the times.
    I'll have to look into that because soon we'll be getting rid of our infant seats (for really real this time, I've been spayed) and right now they're just sitting around as "just in case" seats in the closet
  9. Senior Member
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    #9
    Quote Originally Posted by goldilockz View Post
    Why don't they make them out of the same material that Chevy Avalanches and other plastic encrusted vehicles are made out of?
    It's a different process.. Injection molding and rotomolding of polymers can guarantee a consistently thick wall all the way around. HDPE has a "give" to it, and doesn't shatter.

    I'd bet that Chevs plastics are probably a type of fiberglass, or have a glass additive. They're produced from a single sheet of a polymer and put in a hot press to form them, kinda like a waffle maker. They shatter when hit hard. The glass does hold up to UV, but it's density is too fragile.
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by cceribit View Post
    Personally, IMO... there's expiration dates on everything to insure the consumer's safety. There's reason or purpose ... there's testing, experiments, scientific data, crash test dummies etc, etc, etc. It's not a question of money making... it's a question of whether or not you are protecting your child.

    You wouldn't serve your baby expired fish... why risk using expired carseats?
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