The Evenflo Team Answers Commonly Asked Car Seat Questions
Choosing a car seat is a big decision. It takes time to get it right! If you already own a car seat, then you probably recall having lots of questions throughout the research process. But the questions don’t stop once you’ve identified a leading contender. Even after you’ve found the car seat that’s right for your family, you will probably wonder about car seat expiration dates, how to clean car seat fabric, when it’s time to switch to a booster seat—the list goes on.
Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions about car seats and some guidance from the Evenflo® team!
How long do car seats last?
If you have baby #2 on the way, you may have wonder “can I reuse my old car seat”? The answer: depends. Car seats designed to keep your child safe won’t last forever. Refer to your car seat’s date of manufacture (DOM) label or user manual to tell you exactly when your seat will expire. Car seats from other manufacturers may have differing expiration dates, so make sure you check your product labels and instructions.
Many Evenflo car seats expire 6 years following their date of manufacture, with a few exceptions. The Evenflo Gold Revolve360™, is an all-in-one car seats that expire 10 years after the date of manufacture, because they are designed to offer multiple modes of use from infant through belt-positioning booster. The Evenflo Symphony™ car seat line expires 8 years after the date of manufacture, because it is an all-in-one car seat with extended use from infant seat through belt-positioning booster.
Why do car seats expire?
Safety standards change over time as restraint technology continues to evolve.
Expiration dates help ensure that you’re not using a car seat that may be secondhand, that’s been in a crash, or may have missing or damaged parts. Wear and tear also take a toll on the fabric and parts of the car seat that are designed to make it safe. An expiration date also provides a gentle reminder that it’s time to buy a new seat with the latest technology and safety features.
Don’t worry, there won’t be a warrant for your arrest if you’re using an expired car seat. But keep in mind that car seats aren’t usually tested beyond their usable lifespan. Because we know the safety of your child matters most to you, we recommend that you replace your car seat once it expires.
You should also immediately discontinue use of any car seat involved in a crash, as there may be internal damage that’s not immediately apparent.
How do I clean my car seat?
As much as we’d like to ignore the messes our children make in the back seat, your car seat will not lie to you. Upon occasion, it’s going to need cleaning. It’s important to follow the instructions provided by your car seat manufacturer
regarding the cleaning of your particular car seat model. For Evenflo car seats, covers, inserts and harness covers can be removed and laundered in cold water on delicate cycle using mild detergent. Dry on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes and allow to completely air dry before use.
To clean minor spills and stains on cloth or plastic surfaces, use cold water and mild soap. Metal and plastic parts can be wiped clean with a soft damp cloth and dried with a soft cloth. Do not use abrasive cleaners or solvents. Let the parts air dry.
It’s also a good idea to remove your car seat and base from the car before cleaning so you can more easily remove and replace the padding, but also so you can clean the seat of your car—also known as a crumb reservoir.
When is it time to change car seats?
You’ll need a car seat from the moment you bring your baby home from the hospital until they’ve grown enough to properly use an adult seat belt, typically between the ages of 10 and 12. Your child’s size will determine which seat you need and when—each seat is designed to safely transport your child within a specific weight, height and age range.
Whether you choose an infant car seat or a convertible car seat, your child will ride rear-facing until at least 2 years of age and having outgrown the harness by height or weight. (Infant seats can only be used rear-facing.) The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children remain rear-facing until they’ve outgrown the height or weight of their car seat in rear-facing mode—Evenflo recommends the same. It’s not uncommon for a child to be under an infant car seat’s weight limit but over the height limit. In such a case, a convertible or all-in-one car seat is your best bet. When your child is ready, a convertible seat can be turned around and used forward-facing with the 5-point harness until it’s time to move up to a booster seat.
Once your child is forward-facing in their car seat, you could also purchase a harnessed booster car seat or combination seat. This product uses a five-point harness to keep the child secure in the forward-facing position until they are ready to use a belt positioning booster seat.
After your child surpasses the weight or height limits of their forward-facing car seat, you may be ready switch to a booster seat. Belt-positioning booster seats are for older children aged 4 years and up, who are mature enough to remain properly positioned at all times. Belt-positioning booster seats make your child tall enough to use the vehicle lap/shoulder seat belt until they are tall enough to fit correctly fit in the vehicle seat belt system without a booster seat. There are two styles of booster seats: with a back and without a back.
What should I do with my old car seat?
When your child outgrows their car seat, you can pass it down to a sibling.
However, make sure the seat has all the original parts, labels and instructions and that it’s still within its expiration date.
If the seat was in a crash or is missing parts, discontinue using it immediately and do not give it away. Instead, take it apart and put the pieces in separate dark trash bags to prevent anyone else from using it. Plastic and metal parts generally can be recycled.
We hope this helps to answer some of your own questions about car seats. You can also learn more on our FAQ page.