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Question for Caviller...

I'm expecting my 2nd in Dec. Already have an infant seat I've been happy with that my 2 yr old daughter has outgrown, and like most parents, was thinking of reusing said seat for #2. This seat was purchased new by me.

I've read you shouldn't buy used or really old seats (for somewhat obvious reasons) but I've also read that you should not "reuse" a car seat that is over a year or 2 old. Don't remember exactly but something to that effect. Can you clarify this?

My seat is a Graco, no safety recall, and I've inspected it thoroughly for signs of cracking/wear, in the plastic, clips, harnesses, etc... It's just barely over 2 years old. It was stored indoors away from harm.

Any data/advice/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
SJ

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DEP '01 EX no-navi
 

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Generally, what I've read is "don't use a car seat over 7 years old". Not using one any longer than a year or two is overkill.

Do you still have the owner's manual for your seat? They will certainly tell you their views on the subject.

Here's what Century says:

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">What is the suggested life span of my car seat and why?

Car seats have a suggested life span of six years. With the changes in legislation, automobiles and technology, we suggest that a car seat be replaced upon its sixth year from the date of manufacture.
</font>
Note that it's not because the car seat stops working; it's because their lawyers told them to say that. Many people would buy a 10 year old car seat at a garage sale for five bucks ("hey, who needs to spend $200 on a new Britax?") and then be first in line with a lawsuit when something goes wrong.

Two years is overkill. I'd believe 6 years as Century says, for the reasons they say. I'll be replacing some 3 year old seats as soon as I can get an appropriate LATCH-compatible unit that I like. Technology does move on.
 

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There is no "best practice" on this subject. There is a general consensus that anything over 10 years old is too old. Most manufacturers recommend somewhere between 5 and 8 years. Some newer seats now have "expiration dates". As for older seats, best judgement is determined by the parent. Obviously, if a seat hasn't been in a crash, has all its parts, looks in good condition with no stress marks, etc, then it may be OK to go right up to 6 years, or even more. If the carseat was not used for a few years and stored in good conditions, or sat on the shelf in a box for a year, 10 years is not out of the question. If your owner's manual lists a maximum lifespan, then this should be followed. In any case, a seat that is only a few years old and is in otherwise good condition should be just fine. We re-used the Britax Roundabout and Century Smart Fit from our first child with no worries.


Obviously, newer carseats often have improved features and meet stricter safety standards, and that may be a reason to replace a carseat a bit sooner, depending on your situation.

[This message has been edited by caviller (edited 09-10-2001).]
 

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Make sure you have read the latest car seat reviews. A seat that we bought two years ago was rated top of the line but has since been downrated. And make sure all the straps and the chest buckle are in good shape. My son was able to pull hard on the old seat's chest buckle and disengage it.

Also, call the company and make sure they have not recalled the seat or the base, if it has one.

We reused two of our seats with no problems. But we purchased a new booster with better safety features. Just use your best judgment!

And congratulations on your upcoming arrival!


[This message has been edited by moonatics (edited 09-10-2001).]
 
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