Do Car Seat Bases Expire? Safety for Your Little One

Baby trend car seat base

Do car seat bases expire? I get this question a lot from parents. It’s a known fact that car seats do expire. Manufacturers are pretty clear on that; they even include the expiration dates on the car seat for you to see. But what about their bases?

Is the car seat’s expiry date the same as the car seat base? What if you’re using a different model from the car seat? No need to speculate. I did some research, made a few calls, and visited some manufacturers’ websites. Whether you’re looking to buy a used car seat base or recently received a preloved one, let me help you make an informed decision.

Why Do I Need a Car Seat Base and How Do I Install It?

One thing you need to know about car seat bases is they’re extremely convenient. They make it much easier and faster for you to secure your child’s car seat in your vehicle. If you need to regularly take your child with another car, such as your wife’s or grandpa’s and you don’t want to buy another car seat to install in that vehicle, then buying a car seat base is a cheaper option. Once a car seat base gets installed in different cars, you can just easily move the car seat from one vehicle to the other.

You can either secure the base using your car’s seat belt, latch or isofix system. And the car seat base becomes a permanent fixture in your car. When you attach your car seat onto the base, it’s automatically secured, too. Simply click the car seat on and off the base as required and you’re done!

Have a look at this generic video on how to attach a car seat base correctly.

But be sure to follow the instructions as stated in your product manual.

As mentioned, car seat bases can either be sold with a car seat or purchased separately. It depends on the brand.

Do Baby Car Seat Bases Expire?

To answer your question, car seat bases do expire. Much like car seats, they’re designed to meet the manufacturer’s testing limits. And over time, they tend to wear out after years of use. 

The overall quality becomes compromised and the locking mechanism might fail to function optimally. When this happens, the car seat base doesn’t grip and secure the car seat as it should. Needless to say, that’s a huge safety risk for your child.

But there’s no need to guess when your car seat base actually expires. The manufacturer usually states the expiry date. If you buy a car seat that comes with a base, the expiry date stated on the car seat applies to the base.

If you purchase the base separately, then it’s usually stated on a sticker located at the bottom of the unit. Or, you can simply contact the manufacturer for the expiry date. Either visit the manufacturer’s website, call or drop them an email. However, the majority of car seat bases expire after seven years from the date of manufacture.

But this doesn’t mean you must continue using the base for as long as you’re within the stipulated expiry date. It may start showing signs of damage or malfunction long before the expiry date. That’s why you must inspect the unit on a regular basis and replace it when necessary especially when it no longer secures properly.

Do Car Seat Bases from Popular Brands, e.g. Graco, Diono, Chicco, Britax, Safety 1st, Baby Trend Expire?

So what exactly are manufacturers saying about expiry dates on their car seats? I’ve taken the liberty to review a few common car seat base brands and what the manufacturers are saying about their expiry dates.

Chicco KeyFit Infant Car Seat Base

According to Chicco, this car seat base (The KeyFit Base) will expire after six years after the date of manufacture. And the date of manufacture is found on the car seat.

Baby Trend Ally Infant Car Seat Base

Both the car seat and base expire after six years from the date of manufacture. The date of manufacture is also found under the car seat.

I’ll wrap up the article with five prominent car seat base brands and their respective expiry dates from the date of manufacture. This information is sourced by the Child Passenger Safety Association of Canada which recommends you contact the manufacturer directly if you need more details.

Final Thoughts

Do car seat bases expire? Yes. Like any other product, the unit will eventually wear out after some time. Either that or safer models get introduced thanks to technological advancements. This will render the previous car seat base models less safe to use.

It’s important to adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines regarding whether the continued use of a particular car seat base is recommended. But also be proactive and inspect the unit regularly for any damage. Replace it if you’ve been involved in an accident. And be on the lookout for any recalls made on the product. Yes, parenting calls for you to be extra vigilant! Your child’s life depends on it.

And if you’re on the go, did you know there are some related baby travel items, such as strollers and baby carriers that might have expirations, too?

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