Do you have kids? Grandkids? Godkids? Nieces or nephews? Other kids in your life that you would like to see make it to the age of majority?
If any of those children are under the age of eight, this post is for you. If not, please feel free to pass it on to someone who it applies to.
Are you aware that car seats expire? I wasn't, really, until recently. I knew using a used or hand me down seat was a bad idea, but I assumed it was because straps, clips, and manuals could be missing or broken. I didn't realize it was because the actual plastic body of the seat breaks down and becomes useless
There's a great article about it here:http://www.epinions.com/content_4753956996
and a pretty telling video of the results using an expired car seat and a crash test dummy here:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvCRz7BRAM0
Most car seats expire 5-6 years after the date of manufacture (NOT the date of sale!), so most car seats are going to be a single child item.
Some things to consider:
1) If you have a child in your life who is in a car seat, check the expiration date now. Put it in your calendar, set your e-mail reminder, anything to let you know when it expires.
2) If you have an expired car seat, you need to destroy it and discard it. (Could be a fun way to get out some of those parenting frustrations!)
3) Never accept a used car seat without checking the expiration date and doing a visual inspection of the entire car seat. If all of the pieces aren't there, if it is cracked, discolored, warped or any other kind of damage, throw it out. If in doubt, throw it out! A bargain isn't a bargain when it puts a child's life at risk.
4) Think twice about buying discounted car seats or registering for expensive forward facing or booster seats for your baby shower. You don't want the majority of the car seat's usage time to be spent on a shelf or tucked in a closet.
5) Anytime a car seat is in a car that is involved in a car accident, it is recommended that the car seat be replaced, which is one more reason not to use a pre-owned car seat unless you know the person you are getting it from and they can verify that it has never been in an accident.
Just a few simple steps that could save a child's life!