Why does a child safety seat have an expiration date?

It’s not as if child safety seats go bad, but they could go out of date

Published: September 24, 2019, 5:30 PM
Updated: November 21, 2021, 2:52 PM

child safety seats don't fit every vehicle

More and more parents are getting educated on the proper selection and use of child safety seats, but not many may be aware that the seats have expiry dates.

Child safety is a core value in Nissan’s vehicle development. The company’s safety engineers reportedly spend thousands of hours evaluating the fitting and performance of safety seats in Nissan and Infiniti vehicles, in addition to voluntarily performing seat-fittings every year.

“Passenger safety is at the core of everything we do at Nissan,” said Brandon Sanders, Nissan product safety engineer. “Our Snug Kids team of certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians performs more than 6,400 car seat checks in our vehicles each year to help ensure a proper fit.”

Car crashes are a leading cause of death among kids younger than 13 years old, many of which could be prevented through the proper use of child safety seats or other children restraint systems. Statistics from the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) show that Hispanic and black children are less likely to be safely secured in a moving vehicle (46% and 45%, respectively) than are white children (26%)

It’s one of the reasons behind the Snug Kids Child Safety Seat Fit Guide, to help parents select the child restraint system that best fits their families and their vehicles, because not all seats fit in every vehicle. The guide is geared to the specific make, model and model year of each Nissan vehicle, and lists all the makes/models of child seats available that would fit that vehicle and in what capacity they would serve — rearward facing, forward facing and/or booster.

As for expiration dates, it’s not as if child safety seats go bad, but they could go out of date, due to normal wear and tear on components (frayed belts, sticking buckles, etc.), changing safety standards and regulations, or just parts that can no longer be replaced because they’ve gone out of production. The dates are usually about the same lengths from the time of purchase as a vehicle’s long-term warranty.