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  1. #1
    Admin - Webmaster Admin's Avatar
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    Car Seat Lifespan, Expiration Dates and Used Car Seats

    Looking for information on using an older car seat or secondhand one?

    Please read about some possible safety concerns at CarseatBlog: https://carseatblog.com/carseatexpiration/
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  3. #2
    TomNYC
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    Re: Car Seat Lifespan, Expiration Dates and Used Car Seats

    NPR's Marketplace is running a very interesting piece that, frankly, makes this site and anybody else who worships at the altar of car seat expiration look pretty bad. Any response? Or data?

    https://www.marketplace.org/2019/11/14/is-there-any-data-that-says-secondhand-car-seats-arent-safe/

    Quote Originally Posted by Admin View Post
    Looking for information on using an older car seat or secondhand one?

    Please read about some possible safety concerns at CarseatBlog: https://carseatblog.com/carseatexpiration/
    Last edited by Admin; 12-04-2019 at 05:50 PM.

  4. #3
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seat Lifespan, Expiration Dates and Used Car Seats

    Quote Originally Posted by TomNYC View Post
    NPR's Marketplace is running a very interesting piece that, frankly, makes this site and anybody else who worships at the altar of car seat expiration look pretty bad. Any response? Or data?
    What response would you like? Without significant cost and research with crash testing, it can't be proven either way. Like many conspiracy theories, it would likely never be proven or disproven to the satisfaction of those making claims on either side. Could expiration dates be arbitrary? Could they just be for liability reasons? Could car seats last longer? Sure. Are there risks involved in using an expired secondhand carseat with an unknown history? Also, Yes.

    The data you want could also come from the author, who, instead of making unsubstantiated insinuations, could have taken a statistically significant number of USA-certified car seats that are well beyond the expiration date and then subjected them to typical crash forces on a crash test sled and then a second time to see if there is any difference in performance compared to a new model or if any samples exhibited breakage. Yes, this costs money, but we're not talking about plastic patio furniture here, we're talking about due diligence in regard to a safety device designed to protect a child. We're also not talking about the longevity of one specific part, such as the plastic shell material or harness straps or metal frame only. We're talking about the integrity of the entire product that is necessary to protect the child during peak crash forces that can can occur in an impulse of tens of milliseconds along with the labels, parts and instructions necessary for it to be used correctly.

    If an author or researcher is genuinely concerned about safety of children when making such allegations in a book sold for profit, isn't the burden of proof upon them? Scientific method could and should have been used by the author to test their own hypothesis, rather than implying it is some industry wide cover-up and indirectly encouraging others to take possible risks with their babies because the author couldn't find any existing research by sending out a questionnaire. Car crashes are among the top few killers of kids at that age, so it seems a sensible to take this next step, don't you think?

    One could also ask if the author (or really anyone who believes this is some grand conspiracy) actually uses crashed, expired car seats for their own infants. We know from past experience that researchers profiting on books with related claims did not put their money where their mouth is, so to speak, at least not with their own children. Honestly, if I was making a claim like this for a book, I'd have started with visits to UMTRI, CHOP, NHTSA and IIHS here in the USA and talked to the independent researchers there in person, rather than rely upon mailed questionnaires to child safety seat manufacturers. Even if they didn't have data and also did not have any references for more information, they could have explained scientific method and how it could be used to answer the question.

    Hey, if you or the author are willing to fund the necessary research for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, I'm also very interested in the results. Heck, bring me on as a consultant! It would be great to save parents money, save the environment AND save lives, IF the author is right.
    Last edited by SafeDad; 12-03-2019 at 02:03 PM.


  5. #4
    Carseat Crazy
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    Re: Car Seat Lifespan, Expiration Dates and Used Car Seats

    Yeah, I’m not sure it makes us look bad, it is mostly talking about large companies and their policies. I am not sure why someone would want to seriously argue against best practice when there are so many child fatalities in vehicles in this country. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    The author seems to be trying to argue that our used seats are better than nothing in countries where few people can afford new seats. That, to me, is a whole different issue than whether car seats should expire.
    -Reta
    Former CPST
    Mom of V, born 6/2014, FF in a Pioneer and a SureRide
    G dog, rescued 6/2016, in a belted soft carrier

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  7. #5
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seat Lifespan, Expiration Dates and Used Car Seats

    Quote Originally Posted by MelodyoftheForest View Post
    Yeah, I’m not sure it makes us look bad, it is mostly talking about large companies and their policies. I am not sure why someone would want to seriously argue against best practice when there are so many child fatalities in vehicles in this country. The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

    The author seems to be trying to argue that our used seats are better than nothing in countries where few people can afford new seats. That, to me, is a whole different issue than whether car seats should expire.
    Right- a secondhand or expired carseat in fair condition is certainly safer than nothing at all. I doubt there is any disagreement at all there from any advocates or experts.

    There is also no question that a secondhand carseat with unknown history has potential risks compared with a new one, all clearly outlined in the article linked in the first post.

    Whether or not there is some conspiracy to cover up evidence about expiration dates is an amusing question. I'd also like to know the answer if the author ever attempts to prove it. I think a questionnaire mailed to manufacturers, a conversation with a retailer spokesperson, an FAQ entry from car-safety.org (that indicates it hasn't been updated since 2017), a 10-year old post from a parent on this forum and an email from a Swedish researcher are woefully inadequate in terms of research and absolutely meaningless in terms of proof. I mean, it's great stuff to hype on the internet or TV in order to start a conversation or promote book sales. On the other hand, to actually believe it and then promote it to other parents to use on their children deserves some professional investigative reporting and actual research.
    Last edited by SafeDad; 12-03-2019 at 02:07 PM.

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  9. #6
    Adam Minter
    Guest

    Re: Car Seat Lifespan, Expiration Dates and Used Car Seats

    SafeDad - So are you saying that the for-profit car seat manufacturers have never done this kind of testing? Or simply that they refuse to make it public? Or you can't find it, either?

    And, SafeDad, could you clarify your affiliation? Do you receive compensation from a for-profit car seat manufacturer who affixes expiration dates?

    In any case, thanks for this response. It's highly clarifying.

    Best,
    Adam Minter








    Quote Originally Posted by SafeDad View Post
    What response would you like? Without significant cost and research with crash testing, it can't be proven either way. Like many conspiracy theories, it would likely never be proven or disproven to the satisfaction of those making claims on either side. Could expiration dates be arbitrary? Could they just be for liability reasons? Could car seats last longer? Sure. Are there risks involved in using an expired secondhand carseat with an unknown history? Also, Yes.

    The data you want could also come from the author, who, instead of making unsubstantiated insinuations, could have taken a statistically significant number of USA-certified car seats that are well beyond the expiration date and then subjected them to typical crash forces on a crash test sled and then a second time to see if there is any difference in performance compared to a new model or if any samples exhibited breakage. Yes, this costs money, but we're not talking about plastic patio furniture here, we're talking about due diligence in regard to a safety device designed to protect a child. We're also not talking about the longevity of one specific part, such as the plastic shell material or harness straps or metal frame only. We're talking about the integrity of the entire product that is necessary to protect the child during peak crash forces that can can occur in an impulse of tens of milliseconds along with the labels, parts and instructions necessary for it to be used correctly.

    If an author or researcher is genuinely concerned about safety of children when making such allegations in a book sold for profit, isn't the burden of proof upon them? Scientific method could and should have been used by the author to test their own hypothesis, rather than implying it is some industry wide cover-up and indirectly encouraging others to take possible risks with their babies because the author couldn't find any existing research by sending out a questionnaire. Car crashes are among the top few killers of kids at that age, so it seems a sensible to take this next step, don't you think?

    One could also ask if the author (or really anyone who believes this is some grand conspiracy) actually uses crashed, expired car seats for their own infants. We know from past experience that researchers profiting on books with related claims did not put their money where their mouth is, so to speak, at least not with their own children. Honestly, if I was making a claim like this for a book, I'd have started with visits to UMTRI, CHOP, NHTSA and IIHS here in the USA and talked to the independent researchers there in person, rather than rely upon mailed questionnaires to child safety seat manufacturers. Even if they didn't have data and also did not have any references for more information, they could have explained scientific method and how it could be used to answer the question.

    Hey, if you or the author are willing to fund the necessary research for publication in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, I'm also very interested in the results. Heck, bring me on as a consultant! It would be great to save parents money, save the environment AND save lives, IF the author is right.

  10. #7
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Car Seat Lifespan, Expiration Dates and Used Car Seats

    Quote Originally Posted by Adam Minter View Post
    SafeDad - So are you saying that the for-profit car seat manufacturers have never done this kind of testing? Or simply that they refuse to make it public? Or you can't find it, either?
    I suspect some [smaller] manufacturers may have never done extensive long-term testing. Those that have likely keep it proprietary, as they do with nearly all of their testing data of any kind. I have not specifically looked for this data, but I also can't recall any papers on the topic at industry conferences or published in related journals. I would also be interested in this information if you find it, but unless someone with resources like NHTSA, IIHS or even Consumer Reports conducts the necessary testing in a scientific manner, I doubt we will ever know for certain.

    Ultimately, the question is not whether the shell plastic or metal frames or any individual component could last 20 years. Of course they could. The question is whether the entire system can protect a child for more than 6-10 years of use, misuse and environmental exposure and still consistently pass required and supplemental crash test standards. Would I trust the life of my own baby in a crash in a 10+ year old car seat picked up at a resale shop? Based on my own experience as an engineer, as a child passenger safety technician who has seen thousands of carseats at fitting stations and events, and as a journalist covering this industry, no, I would not. Perhaps you would, and it is possible there is minimal risk in doing so. With the well-being of my kids at stake, in the absence of any data, I tend to be conservative in this area as car crashes remain one of the top risks to their lives.

    And, SafeDad, could you clarify your affiliation? Do you receive compensation from a for-profit car seat manufacturer who affixes expiration dates?

    In any case, thanks for this response. It's highly clarifying.

    Best,
    Adam Minter
    Car-Seat.Org receives advertising revenue from various companies in the baby gear and other industries, including carseat manufacturers. Like nearly all news and media websites, this is in exchange for static advertising banner placement and does not affect editorial content. It is otherwise an independent company and is not owned or operated by any other entity. It's really just another community forum that has lost out to facebook. The vast majority of content here is contributed by individuals, primarily moms with young children.
    Last edited by SafeDad; 01-15-2020 at 10:33 PM.

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