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Are "Expired" Car Seats Putting Your Kids at Risk?

POSTED: Tuesday, October 11, 2011 - 12:32pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 - 4:52pm

We all know about expiration dates on our food, but many parents don't realize there are expiration dates on their children's car safety seats.

Allison Patton has three children and is expecting twins.

Trying to control the cost of parenthood, she wanted to use this car seat purchased in 2003, but was told it may be expired, something that caught her by surprise.

"They don't tell you that at the store when you buy it. I never saw it on the package. I had never heard of it,” says Patton.

Patton checked the seat and embedded into its plastic frame was a warning, "Do not use this car seat after December 2008."

"We are gonna have to destroy it. You can put it on the curb. You put trash on the curb and it's gone," says Patton.

Lesley Seaton, is with Safekids northeast Florida, said there are common mistakes with child safety seats, including using expired ones.

"They do expire. It varies on different brands the shelf life of a car seat,” says Seaton.

She said parents should always check the seat's manual for an expiration date or check the seat. The seat needs to have a shelf life for a number of reasons.

"The shell inside that we cannot see internally can be broken down and worn out. The harness strap itself that holds the child in safely can be frayed and torn but look okay," says Seaton.

Allison Patton is now spreading the word to every mom like her. Check your child's car seat for an expiration date.

"If you've had a kid within the past five years and you're just having another, you need to go and look at all your equipment,” says Patton.

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