Some of us grew up before child car seats. Color televisions must have been a more exciting prospect than the safety of children. Then again, that was about the time you could run around in the woods a few miles away until dark, and no one really cared either. According to saferide4kids, in 1987 only 80% of children used a car seat. Apparently riding in the back of the car in a Moses basket with the stroller on the roof was completely acceptable. No seatbelts, no airbags, just grateful to even have a hunk of steel that went from A to B. How are we even here today? Not only do we have car seats, but their regulated and child car seats have an expiration date.
Today, in Wyoming, the law states, “Children must be properly restrained whether in a rear-facing, forward-facing, or booster seat. Depending on the age, weight, and height of your child, you will have different requirements. Generally, children 8 years old and younger must be in a child seat in the back of the car.” Nebraska law says, “Children up to the age of 6 years old must be in approved child safety seats.” 2
Do car seats really make that much of a difference?
Yes. Data from the HLDI (Highway Loss Data Institute) quotes, “Passenger vehicle child occupant deaths in 2015 were 52 percent lower than in 1975.” The graph is right here.
Did you know child car seats have an expiry date?
You’ll likely know that child car seats aren’t the cheapest investment on the planet. It’s tempting to perhaps purchase a cheaper used one. It is not recommended however that you use a pre-owned car seat due to not knowing if the seat has been in a wreck or not. Even a light fender bender could potentially cause problems with the structural integrity of the seat.1 Be aware that child car seats have an expiration date.
Where do you find the child car seat expiration date?
The dates can usually be found on a sticker on the bottom of the seat. The average life of a car seat is 6 years. This is due to the seat usually being left in a vehicle. The plastic losing strength due to temperature fluctuations and the sun 3. Harness straps should be replaced if they become heavily soiled or frayed. Here is a video on how to care for the harness straps.
Choosing a child car seat
With so many seats on the market today, along with so many regulations, it’s particularly frustrating and stressful to try and figure out which seat is right. This is a great diagram and the link is here so you can easily navigate to the right kind of seat.
Proper installation of a child car seat
Installation is just as important, and can also be just as a complex. To check if the installation is correct, you can check with your local fire dept. The City of Casper Fire-EMS Dept will be glad to assist anyone in the area. They can be contacted on 307-235-8222 or 307-235-8321. You may think you have it right but it’s always better to be safer than sorry.
Click here to find the latest information on child seat recalls helping you make a more informed decision.
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Lauren has been working in the automotive industry both in the U.K and in the U.S. for over 10 years. She has driven hundreds of vehicles, not only new cars but beaters without heaters, fast cars on fire, slow cars in snow, off-road trucks in the mucks, and old pickups with pups. She’s driven heaps of Jeeps, miles in muscle and once took her gran in a car from Japan.