Manufacturer or ICBC?


New member
Ok, I need to know what to tell this lady. I contacted her with regards to carseat expiry and this is the email I received back.

"Thanks for the info and I've done some digging myself. I've checked with my insurance agent and my friend who is an adjustor at ICBC. They both said there's no law that requires that the car seats used must be before the expiry date suggested by the manufacturer, and coverage won't be affected as long as the car seat used is up to code and there's been no recalls.

I also searched on the ICBC website and here's the link that says the car seat should not be older than 10 years, quite a difference from what the manufacturers would tell you.

Obviously the manufacturers want the car seats to be replaced as soon as possible for sales reasons, but I think as long as the seat is under 10 years, has not been recalled, has not been in any accident and in decent shape, I wouldn't worry about it."

I sent her the link to Transport Canada's website stating carseat expiry info and why they expire.

So what is right?

Manufacturer stated expiry = unsafe
ICBC 10 year rule = unsafe

Is there a gray area?



New member
Manufacturer date=unsafe. Period. Some car seats have 8 and 9 year expiration, so car-seat manufacturers aren't trying to make money off of people by telling them that there car-seat is unsafe. If they can, they do put longer dates of expiration because it becomes a selling point. If anything they're trying to cover their butt if a kid is killed by an old car-seat used past expiration.

Plastic ages and becomes brittle- yes, it is possible that a 9 year, 11 month old car seat might keep your child safe but it is also very possible that a 9 year, 11 month year old car seat could be a death trap. She's putting her child into the role of a crash test dummy.

Dummy in a 10 year old car seat


New member
Thank you for clarifying. I am going to send her that video.

Does anyone know someone at ICBC that can confirm about the insurance side of things?


Moderator - CPST Instructor
TC used to have a maximum 10yr age limit on seats on their web site. They released the bulletin this past year updating the length of time each carseat manufacturer gives as a useful life period in order to keep parents current and advise them that the 10yr rule is not accurate anymore.

There are a few separate issues here that need to be addressed, and I'm going to try and break them down as best I can... if something isn't clear, feel free to ask and I'll do my best to clarify. :thumbsup:

Regarding coverage:

An improperly restrained child is not going to be denied coverage in a collision regardless of if it's misuse, illegal seat, or expired seat. It is not the child's fault that they were improperly restrained. Any bodily injury payment would still be paid to the child. Depending on circumstance, the insurer could choose to turn around and recover the money paid to the child from the parent, but I'm not aware of this being a regular occurrence even where there is gross misuse/negligence in how the child was restrained. So far as replacing the carseat, I would count on ICBC not replacing any carseat that was expired prior to the collision, or that was an illegal seat. I'm not 100% sure on BC code, but I would expect that the driver could be charged for improperly restraining a minor - but I don't know what that involves in BC. (The insurance generalities I know because I used to underwrite home and auto insurance and some basics are the same across Canada with the exception of Quebec.)

Reasons for seats expiring:

- Standards change - some expired seats don't meet current standards whatsoever, so there is reduced protection to the child on that basis alone - even if the seat didn't fail.
- Manufacturers no longer provide replacement parts/manuals for old seats
- Older seats are more likely to have had more than one owner, so history becomes an issue - was it in a collision? properly cared for? dropped?
- Older seats are more likely to be missing parts - and in many cases that includes the manual, so parents may not even realize they're missing parts
- Plastic does degrade over time. Is there a point at which the seat will fail? Yes. Is it the day after the seat expires? Probably not. But what day will it be? Is that a risk that the parent wants to take?

At the end of the day, it comes down to this - the manufacturer is telling you (general you, not OP,) that their product is no longer safe to use after "x" number of years. Is saving $70 really worth putting a child's life at risk? I would hope that every single parent out there would answer no to that question... Obviously, not everyone does since I know parents who continue to use 10+ yr old seats missing integral pieces and they feel it's no big deal... but common sense would hopefully tell most parents that the cost is too high if they gamble with an expire seat and lose.

So no, there's no "law" saying that seats expire at "x" point. But technically speaking, there is a law regarding sale of baby equipment that anything sold must meet codes or something to that regard - this is why it's illegal to sell walkers at garage sales... Given that the manufacturer has stated a seat is expired and no longer safe to use, it means that it is not legal to sell that seat. (Same deal with recalled items, you can't sell something that's recalled unless the fix has been applied.) So if this person really needs a law to fall back on, that's the one to dig up...


New member
Here is my "guess" on it: There's an accident with a 10 yr old seat. It breaks, child is injured. Insurance company goes after car seat maker, because they think it was the car seats fault. Car seat maker says, No seat is only good for 5 years, we aren't at fault, we put it in the manual.

I think the insurance people leave it in there because some people just don't buy new car seats and in their minds a 10 yr old car seat is better than nothing. That is just my guess.

PS when the car seat makers tell the insurance co they aren't responsible, then the insurance company says the driver is at fault, they should have known not to use an old seat, the driver was endangering their child.


Moderator - CPST Instructor
Actually, ICBC still covers a child's injuries if they're in an expired seat. They cannot refuse coverage of the child passenger as a result of the negligence of the driver. It's the same as someone not wearing a seatbelt, or a parent failing to restrain a child--that person is still entitled to a claim.

The instructor here in BC worked for ICBC before teaching the course, and this is where this information comes from.

No wonder I pay $3600/yr for my two vehicles even with a 44% discount?



New member
So really the long and short of it is it is only parental concern for the safety of their children, and that it is illegal to sell a seat after it is expired.


Moderator - CPST Instructor
So really the long and short of it is it is only parental concern for the safety of their children, and that it is illegal to sell a seat after it is expired.

That's about summing things up. However, there is also the 'proper use' clause. Knowingly using/selling an expired seat when giving ample of information would probably get one in a pickle. But not all provinces have 'proper use' clause. Does BC?

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