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Expiry date of car seats - what is the official position not just hearsay?

(38 Posts)
blithedance Sat 01-Aug-09 16:02:53

In the loft I have a 2001-made Britax Club Class seat, passed on to me from a close and trusted friend. It's never been in an accident, although has been regularly used.

Now I find chatrooms/overseas websites saying car seats should be chucked after about 6 years. But the Britax UK website clearly says:

" Q: Is an old seat still safe?
This depends on the condition of the seat. If you bought the child seat yourself and you know its history, nothing speaks against a further use, but please ensure the seat fulfils the current standard for child safety systems (at least ECE R 44/03, new 44/04)."

I can't bring myself to throw something away that could be passed on and is within manufacturer's guidelines.

Does anyone know the official position on this in the UK and can link?

scrappydappydoo Sat 01-Aug-09 16:10:06

I'm interested in this..
Also if you can't use a car seat for some reason - is there any way of recycling them??
I had chuck a britax car seat in landfill cos mice had got to it and nibbled at foam and belts so no way we could use it safely but it was such a waste - all that metal and plastic (was isofix too)

blithedance Sat 01-Aug-09 16:45:24

Have just found a recent discussion including the position from Britax UK here

I guess I will take it to the tip regardless because really who will want an 8 year old car seat.

If I try freecycle it, my word that it's not been in any accident is worth zilch to a stranger anyway.

I was going to say, all this waste sickens me too, but then thought driving a car in the first place is just as much a problem so my eco-halo just slipped a bit.

How is it progress when we can't build things to last?

sazm Sat 01-Aug-09 18:04:11

the maxi-cosi website says to replace them after 6 yrs,

MinkyBorage Sat 01-Aug-09 18:08:08

I can't help thinking that the whole neurosis about car seats suits no one except the carseat manufacturers. OK, so if the carseat has been in a (rare) terrible car accident then you could understand that it may well have been weakened, so isn't suitable for use. However, I would guess that this doesn't really happen very often.

Re binning a car seat after 6 years, it seems utter madness, the things will take centuries to biodegrade, they won't stop functioning properly after 6 years.

MinkyBorage Sat 01-Aug-09 18:08:38

btw, that's just my opinion, I know NOTHING about tha actual facts of the maTTER

sazm Sat 01-Aug-09 18:19:46

if the carseat has had any kind of bang,(being dropped,slight impact) it should be replaced as it will have been weakened,
as for the 6 yr thing,i would replace mine after that long (prob because i would be bored and fancy a change!)as it is recommended,
but what about the 1-2-3 stage seats???
they are advertised as lasting a child 11 yrs??

CherylCole Sat 01-Aug-09 18:53:17

Do people not think that the couriers drop boxes with car seats in them, that Mothercare etc don't accidentally knock the boxes off shelves etc.
As somebody else said the whole paranoia is for the manufacturers profits nothing else.
Somebody might be grateful for that seat and happily take your word for it's safety.

Ripeberry Sat 01-Aug-09 18:58:47

If things were made to last, people would be out of a job. That is the whole point of our economy.
Build something, breaks down, someone fixes it or buy a new one, broken one gets recycled, bits used to make new things!
On and on and on.

Ripeberry Sat 01-Aug-09 18:59:57

I've seen people using really old car seats from mid 1990s, they still work.

sazm Sat 01-Aug-09 19:04:11

how do you know ripeberry?have you see them work totally effectively in an accident?

although it looks fine,it certainly won't be as safe as the newer models,and i wouldn't put my child in one,

edam Sat 01-Aug-09 19:04:38

Ripeberry - thing is, unless you've seen the people crash their cars and assessed the state of their children (and compared them to another group who crashed while using modern car seats) you don't really know they work, do you?

In old Which? tests, there were some seats that were appallingly dangerous - disintegrating in a 40mph crash, for instance. Doesn't seem to happen now from what I've seen of the more recent tests. Personally, I'd buy a new one that did well in the Which? tests (if I needed a new car seat, which I don't).

GentlyDoesIt Sat 01-Aug-09 21:07:39

Oh sorry, I did do a search on car seat expiry, but have just started a thread on exactly yhe same subject! No wonder it didn't get any replies!

GentlyDoesIt Sat 01-Aug-09 21:18:05

I'm with MinkyBorage - when my next baby arrives in 3 weeks, there will be almost exactly 6 years between my two kids and I don't think I am sufficiently concerned to buy 3 new car seats as the years roll by.(travel system one, 12m+ one and booster seat).

I speak as someone who has been bereaved by road crash, so yes, I am well aware that imagining these things will never happen to you is foolish. Then again, it makes me more philosophical about it in a way. What kind of crash would cause a 6 year old plastic car seat to shatter in a worse way than a 5 year old plastic car seat..? Well, not one I could see anyone walking away from, let's leave it at that.

Keeping your kids as safe as possible in the car is vitally important, but I think sometimes we can forget that bombing around with tiny people in crushable, flammable, fallable metal boxes at 70mph is a terribly dangerous and foolhardy thing to do in the first place.

I would really like to see more comparitive studies to help me make an informed decision, but until car seats are being sold with a "WARNING! Expires in 2013" sticker, I'll reserve my judgement.

EldonAve Sat 01-Aug-09 21:32:00

I think they are supposed to be good for 10 years but can't find a link to support this

On the Britax US site they say the Frontier seat is good for 9 years from expiry

I think the manufacturers like to scare us into buying seats
I saw 2nd hand car seats for sale in the Swedish baby shops but here we are told never buy 2nd hand

EldonAve Sat 01-Aug-09 21:32:38

sorry I meant 9 years from manufacture not expiry blush

blithedance Sat 01-Aug-09 22:20:08


I'm still in a dilemma. According to the manufacturer and EU the seat I have is safe and legal. But I obviously feel uncomfortable about passing it on.

I think I'm going to ask DH when he gets back from work.

(abandons feminist principles as well as eco ones and goes to crack open a bottle of wine)

edam Sat 01-Aug-09 23:50:42

nowt wrong with dumping responsibility for a tricky decision onto someone else. It's not called sexism, it's called delegation!

phishfood Sun 02-Aug-09 10:07:33

If you are thinking of using an old car seat, watch this from GMTV.

If you are still happy to use an older seat then at least you saw the risks and made your own choice.

Katymac Sun 02-Aug-09 10:11:07

As childminders we are required to replace our seats every 3 years

As a business woman & a green advocate I consider this to be bizarre - but I comply, I have too

My old seats are taken by my parents and used for a significant time

GentlyDoesIt Sun 02-Aug-09 12:45:34

phishfood Of course it's an unsettling clip, but what exactly is being demonstrated? One commenter on that link says that it shows a 10 year old Britax car seat, any idea if that's correct?

I really want to know where the 6 year rule comes from - perhaps I should seek out someone with some knowledge of plastics.

GentlyDoesIt Sun 02-Aug-09 12:48:58

Maybe there's scope for everyone with old car seats taking them to crash testing centres to see how they perform at various ages, rather than landfill, so that we can start to get a wider picture of how dangerous this is?

blithedance Sun 02-Aug-09 17:03:29

Phishfood that's all very interesting but can you link to any more research or references? It's just a clip on youtube, there's nothing on the GMTV website or any govt websites that explain what's being shown or back it up. I'm not interested in rumour or scaremongering.

There is a very detailed child safety research programme going on at Transport Research Laboratory (who I do see as a trustworthy source), if the age of seats was a real issue I would expect it to have been researched and incorporated into the standards/law.

MerlinsBeard Sun 02-Aug-09 17:10:36

It's because the plastic can degrade over time, especially if they are kept in the car which can get very hot with just a small amount of sun shining on it. They can warp which means they are more likely to break in an accident rather than protect your child. I had some fabulous links about this for a car seat we were given but i can't find the thread now (it was over a year ago)

purepurple Sun 02-Aug-09 17:11:17

so what happens if my carseat is 1 day short of being 6 years old?
will it be less dangerous that one that is 6 years and 1 day old?
is it going to self combust?
sounds like a good way to make money out of over anxious parents who don't want to risk their child being injured

does commom sense even come in to it?

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