Do Car Seat Bases Expire? (And Why It Might Not Matter)


If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it with others!

You know your infant’s car seat will expire someday, but what about the base it sits on? Car seats are a big investment, and as parents we try to save money wherever we can. Can you save the car seat base to use with a new seat in the future, or will it expire? 

Car seat bases are often used with infant car seats and typically expire at the same time as the seat they are sold with. Car seat bases purchased separately should have an expiration date clearly listed on the product and both car seats and their bases should be replaced in the event of a moderate or severe car crash.

Let’s take a look at why car seat bases expire and how to find out the expiration information for your specific brand. 

Do car seat bases have an expiration date?

Safety is an area in which all parents need to stay informed and up to date with the latest information. Since riding in a car is already incredibly dangerous, statistically speaking, extra care should be taken to ensure that your baby’s car seat and base are ready to protect your baby.

Car seat bases do have an expiration date, which is typically the same as the expiration date for the car seat they accompany. Each base has its own expiration date on it though, so be sure to check because it could have been manufactured at a different time than the car seat. This is especially true if you purchase extra bases separately. The general length of time from the date of manufacture to expiration is 6 years, but check your base for the specifics of your brand.

The same factors that make car seats expire apply to car seat bases as well. Safety is the top priority, and normal wear and tear can affect a car seat base’s performance. 

  • Wear and tear: Over time, the plastic the base is constructed from begins to degrade and isn’t as strong. Less strength = less safe.
  • Temperature fluctuations: The breakdown of plastic is hastened from the huge temperature changes that the seat experiences while in your car. We all know how hot vehicles can get, and this heat affects the plastic’s integrity. Big temperature fluctuations between summer and winter also have an impact.
  • Technological updates: With the fast pace of technological advances, car seat companies have frequent updates in their safety features. While you can of course safely use an older model of car seat and base that haven’t expired yet, there will come a time when replacement parts are no longer available. Expiration dates ensure you always have these parts available while you are using the seat. If you save a car seat base to use for future babies, you want to make sure you are using the most up to date, safe option.
  • Changing regulations: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and state governments update the rules and regulations for car seat use regularly. Car seats and bases need to be updated to meet these requirements. 

If you are saving your infant seat and base for a future baby, you’ll want to keep track of the expiration date to make sure it’s still okay to use.

Do Chicco car seat bases expire?

Chicco car seat bases expire at the same time the seat expires. For an infant seat with a base, this expiration date is 6 years after the date of manufacture. You can find a white sticker on the bottom of the seat and the bottom of the base. Make sure you check both because the seat and the base may have different dates.

Chicco infant car seats are safe for babies up to 30 pounds or 30 inches. When you transfer your baby to a larger seat, you won’t need the base. You can register your car seat to make sure you’re aware of any recalls or updated information. 

Do Britax car seat bases expire?

Britax car seat bases also expire when the seat expires. For infant seats with bases, the expiration date comes 6 years after the date of manufacture. Some other Britax models that do not have bases have a longer life – up to 9 years. Check your manual for specifics about your model. To find the expiration date on your Britax, look for a white sticker on the top back. If you don’t see it, check under the fabric – some Britax models have the sticker there. 

Britax infant seats can be used until your child is 35 pounds or 32 inches. Register your seat to stay up to date with safety information.

Do Graco car seat bases expire?

Graco car seats bases expire 7 or 10 years after the manufacturing date, along with the car seat. If you have a steel-reinforced belt path, the “useful life” is 10 years. For a plastic-reinforced belt path, you get 7 years before you need to replace the base and the seat. Check your manual, or look for the expiration date stamped on the bottom of the base. You will find a sticker with the date of manufacture, and next to it there is a stamp that states the “do not use after” date.

Graco seats only have a base for their infant seats, which can fit your baby until they reach 35 pounds in weight or 32 inches in height, whichever comes first. You can register your Graco car seat to receive updates on expirations and potential recalls. 

Do Baby Trend car seat bases expire?

Baby Trend car seat bases expire as well. They are good for 6 years after the date of manufacturing. For an infant seat, you can check on the bottom of the seat and the base to find the dates. 

Baby Trend infant seats can be used until your baby is 30 pounds or 30 inches. After that, you won’t need the base anymore. Don’t forget to register your seat to stay up to date on safety information. 

Does a car seat need a base?

The only style of car seat that uses a base is an infant seat. These are the bucket seats that can double as a carrier, so the base helps make it easier to take the car seat in and out. The base is what attaches to the LATCH system or is belted in, and the car seat clicks into the base. When your baby outgrows the infant seat, you can get rid of the base along with the seat. Your next seat, which will likely be a convertible or all-in-one, will attach to the car itself and will not be taken in and out as often. 

For most infant seats, you can also install the seat without the base by seatbelting it in directly. 

How do you install a car seat without the base?

You don’t need to use the base with your infant seat.

The seat can also be installed by using the vehicle’s seat belt. In general, there is a belt path on the bottom of the seat that you thread the seatbelt through. It’s important to make sure that the seat is stable and the seatbelt is tight so that the seat cannot move back and forth. Check your manual for the directions that are specific to your car seat.

Can you trade in a car seat base?

Some retailers, like Walmart and Target (theirs is going on this month!), sometimes hold car seat trade-in events, and you can trade-in your car seat bases during this time as well. 

If you are unable to trade your car seat base in, it may be recyclable. Check with your local recycling service or find your state here.

Do you need to replace a car seat base after an accident?

If you are in an accident and your car seat base was in the vehicle, it should most likely be replaced.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends replacing all car seat components after a “moderate crash,” but many manufacturers are more conservative and want you to replace even if the crash was minor. Check your manual or contact the company when in doubt. Your insurance agency may also inspect car seats and bases after a crash and make recommendations.  

Are all car seat bases the same?

Car seat bases are specific to the manufacturer, so they can’t usually be used with any seat except the one they are designated for. Some brands have multiple seats that are very similar, and one base might work for seats in that same style, but double-check with the company first. 

If you enjoyed this article, please consider sharing it with others!

Josh

I'm the dad in charge of Natural Baby life. With 10 years of parenting experience across three children, I am constantly learning how to raise children more naturally. I'm passionate about doing whatever it takes to raise a happy and healthy baby! Find out more about me here.

Recent Content