Healthier Me: Car Seat Safety - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Healthier Me: Car Seat Safety

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Car seats are an important purchase for any parent, and could save a child's life in the event of an accident.

But picking one isn't as simple as a favorite color, or which one just looks good.

If you're buying a new seat, you'll be in good shape.

It's one's that are purchased at garage sales or are hand-me-downs that could potentially cause a problem.

As it turns out, much like many other products, car seats have an expiration date.

"It's not supposed to last a lifetime," said Bobbi Paper, an Injury Prevention Coordinator with Sanford and Safe Kids Fargo/Moorhead. "It's supposed to last long enough to get your child through that stage."

That stage being where a child no longer needs a car seat.

On average, a car seat lasts around six years.

After that, it's suggested you replace it, because parts of it break down over time, like the Styrofoam that protects your child's head.

How old a seat is can be determined by the tag usually on the bottom of the seat, but that's not always available.

"(On some) the label has been taken off, so we do not know when it was made," said Paper. "We don't know what the model number is to know if there's been any recall."

The tag will either show the date of manufacture, so you can calculate how old it is, or newer ones actually have an expiration date.

And if you've checked the tag and you know your car seat's not expired, if it's ever been involved in an accident, it's time to get rid of it.

"We don't really know if there are some cracks that we can't see," said Paper. So, even though it hasn't expired and it looks good, we still would suggest not using it only because we don't have a history of the seat."

And when it is time to get rid of it, don't just throw it out or set it by the curb.

"Make sure that you do destroy it so that other people aren't picking it up and using it," said Paper. "If it's not safe for you to use, we don't want anyone else to use it."

And when you do destroy it, make sure everything is removed from the plastic base like the covers, safety belts and the Styrofoam.

The base itself, instead of throwing it out, can actually be recycled.

There are a couple of opportunities to recycle in the area over the next couple of days.

Car seat recycling events will be held Friday from 3pm-7pm and Saturday from 10am-1pm.

You can bring them in to the AAA North Dakota on 13th Avenue South in Fargo for a $10 Kohl's gift card, while supplies last.

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