I am the mother of three young kids. My oldest is almost 4, my second is 2 1/2 and my youngest is 9 months. They are all in car seats. I am a very firm believer in using car seats in the safest manner. I read the manuals (not cover to cover, but I get the essentials), and follow the instructions. I look at the correct way to install them, and I figure out how they work. My knowledge in the proper usage of car seats is something that I am proud of. Friends come to me to make sure their seats are installed correctly, or ask for help in doing so. In 2002, I took a Child Safety Seat Training Session.
I feel well informed on the issue.
A couple of weeks ago, my oldest daughter told me she could now undo her chest clip on her own. I thought this was great! It made it much easier to get them in and out with her doing part of the work. Then my husband, while getting her out one day, noticed that the clip was not staying together at all. It was popping open with the slightest pressure! That is not good. The chest clip needs to be secure for the car seat to work correctly. So I took the seat out immediately and was going to buy a new chest clip to put on it. I happened to turn the seat over, and saw the expiry date. The seat had expired before she was even born! I had been using this seat for a long time. I was given it (and the one she used in the second vehicle) when my niece outgrew it. I never thought to cheek the date.
So I pulled out all the seats (six of them, three in each vehicle!), and had to replace three of them because they had expired. I feel slightly humbled, and very thankful that I was not in an accident while I was using old seats.
PLEASE check your car seats for expiry dates. They are stamped on the bottom of the car seat, molded right in so they cannot be removed. Do not wait. The plastic wears over time, and the integrity of the seat is reduced, and as I found out, they can become unsafe.
Kim is a stay at home mom of three. Calgary is her home town and she loves to get out to do fun things with her kids! She blogs over at Something Awesome in Calgary.