Keeping track of all the different things your children need as they’re growing up can seem a little overwhelming, but when it comes to car seats there are some clearer guidelines. It might be time to upgrade when:
- Your child has outgrown their infant seat
Most infant seats have weight limits, but not necessarily height limits, so you might find that your little one physically outgrows their first car seats before they reach the weight limit. If this is the case, it’s best to trade up to a convertible seat and continue to keep your child rear-facing.
- Your child is 1 year old
If your child is still in their first infant seat by the time they reach their first birthday, this is a good time to reassess. You might find that it’s time to trade up to a convertible seat and continue to keep them rear-facing.
- Their seat has expired
Some parents are unaware that their child’s car seat comes with an expiration date. This is especially important when the car seat is used from child to child, for families with more than one child. You can find this information in the owner’s manual or on the seat label, it will normally indicate when the seat was built and when it should be discontinued.
- The seat has been in a crash
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a child’s car seat should be replaced if the car was in a collision that involved injuries or required the vehicle to be towed, the airbags were deployed, or the seat beneath the car seat or door nearest the seat was damaged.
- The seat is damaged
As with anything that is used regularly, there is always the risk of damage whilst a car seat is in use. Things like moving it from one car to another, storing the seat or even a forceful toddler tantrum can damage them. Whether minor or substantial damage, it may not offer as much protection in a crash. If you’re worried or unsure about your child’s safety when travelling in a damaged seat, it’s best to get a new one.
- It’s just time for the next one
Based on their height and weight, it might just be time for the next size up. Perhaps you’re changing cars and need a new one, or it could just be you want to upgrade. With that in mind find out more on our recommendations for choosing the right seat here.
Or for more useful info regarding car seats, check out our other post: ‘Can my child sit in the front of a car?‘