Question Is shipping safe for a car seat?



With all the safety concerns about the performance of car seat after a crash or even mishandling, is it safe to order a car seat online that will be shipped by a shipping company and treated however they treat their shipments?


CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member

Cardboard boxes are very protective, actually. Most seats are packed with protective foam or cardboard inserts as well. They are engineered to provide excellent protection to the contents-- they have a "crush zone" like the crumple zone in cars that is designed to protect the occupants-- it does the same thing, bears the brunt, absorbs and dissipates any impact to the box, to protect the contents.

A car seat that is packed in a box with the padding deemed appropriate by the car seat company will survive being tossed on trucks, dropped, etc. pretty well. Now, if the box arrives visibly, severely damaged and/or opened, you should probably either refuse delivery for damage or call the company immediately (depending on how it's shipped.)

I would also feel fine about checking a seat on a plane IF it was in a well-fitting, well-padded box, FTR.


New member
The carseats are typically shipped to the store you are purchasing from, then reshipped to you the consumer. Sometimes the store will have the seat dropshipped directly to you. That would cut out one shipping process if that were to happen.

If you are truly worried about the carseat being shipped multiple times you might try finding a retailer that would allow the seat to be dropshipped to you. Typically retailers do not do this because it costs them more. If you are willing to upfront the dropship cost they may do that.

Your seat being shipped to you should be fine. The exception would be if the box was completely mangled, and you felt that it was possibly dropped, or severly mistreated during shipment due to the boxes condition.
I was nervous about ordering seats online, too. When I finally did it, I got over that. The box was unharmed so the seat was surely unharmed. I have ordered several seats now and none of the boxes have been damaged. i just give it a lookover before accepting.


It makes sense to me that the car seat is not damaged during shipping. In that context, I've always wanted to understand why a car seat that is not directly impacted in a collision and appears undamaged after the collision it is actually considered damaged by car seat experts and consumers are urged to discard and replace them. I follow that rule, of course, but since I don't truly understand it, I think part of me, deep down, does not believe that the car seat is actually damaged. I'd love to understand this. Another related thing is expiration date. If car seats have an expiration date, how come it is not included on the label next to the manufacturing date? I stick to the expiry rule too, of course, because you don't gamble with children's safety, but it's sort of a blind faith thing. That bugs me. Have they tested expired car seats and undamaged-looking car seats from collisions?


Admin - CPS Technician
Most seats don't come with extra packaging around the carseat at all in the box, some are even shipped in thick plastic carry bags. Some are lucky enough to have a plastic bag around the seat in the box, most do not even have that. The seat itself is exceptionally sturdy, much tougher than the shipping box, for sure, lol.
Yes, there have been studies to make sure seats still perform well after crashes, this one comes to mind and is the basis for NHTSA's car seat reuse policy (Though I will add that you MUST adhere to the carseat's manual directly, and possibly state rules that may mandate replacement by insurance if the seat is in a crash). Carseat makers also do extensive internal testing (Britax used to exchange crashed seats, their testing facility was full of crashed and re-tested seats when I visited once... this may have something to do with their following the liberal NHTSA reuse policy, compared to, say, Graco/Dorel who insists on replacement after any crash at all...maybe they have not retested their seats? Or their seats DO fail once crashed once? We can only speculate there).
Some seats only have the Date Of Manufacture on them, and then a description of expiration in the manual, though some have expiration dates stamped on the shell, and more now seem to have expiration dates on stickers next to the dates of manufacture. Plastic breakdown was not the reason they invented expiration dates, it really had more to do with ever-changing car safety features (primarily rearfacing babies being killed by airbags in front seats and the recognition that having seats without safety labeling expire would be a good way to keep future children safe). Though I'm sure plastic breakdown of course does have some validity in seats expiring and I would not recommend using seats beyond their expiration dates (which are trending longer and longer now, 9 years for the Britax Frontier, 8 years for Cosco and Sunshine Kids seats... 6 years or 'till December of the sixth year remains common, however).

Hope that helps! And the 'here' link in my siggy leads to the technical encyclopedia that may have more answers for you :)

Car-Seat.Org Facebook Group

Forum statistics

Latest member

You must read your carseat and vehicle owner’s manual and understand any relevant state laws. These are the rules you must follow to restrain your children safely. All opinions at Car-Seat.Org are those of the individual author for informational purposes only, and do not necessarily reflect any policy or position of Carseat Media LLC. Car-Seat.Org makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. If you are unsure about information provided to you, please visit a local certified technician. Before posting or using our website you must read and agree to our TERMS.

Graco is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org! Britax is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org! Nuna Baby is a Proud Sponsor of Car-Seat.Org!

Please  Support Car-Seat.Org  with your purchases of infant, convertible, combination and boosters seats from our premier sponsors above.
Shop travel systems, strollers and baby gear from Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Evenflo, First Years, Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Safety 1st, Diono & more! ©2001-2022 Carseat Media LLC