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Safety Notices

FAQ

Q. How long can my child seat be used or when does it "expire"?

A. Please refer to the user guide that came with your child seat to determine its recommended useful life. BRITAX recommends that the use of a child seat be discontinued after a certain number of years from the date of manufacture, depending on the seat, or if the seat has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. Expiration dates are provided for various reasons: technology has changed, components degrade from the environment (depending on how and where stored), parts get lost or installed incorrectly, or instructions and labels may not be available or not legible. After a child seat has met its expiration date, BRITAX requests that the child seat be destroyed.

Q. Is my child seat aircraft approved?

A. A child seat has been tested and certified to meet FAA requirements if it is labeled, “This restraint is certified for use in motor vehicles and aircraft.” Even though your child seat may be certified for use on aircraft, it is still a good idea to contact the airline prior to travel to ask. Some aircraft have seating configurations which are incompatible with certain child seats.

Some BRITAX child seats are not certified for use on aircraft. Booster seats are not certified as a lap and shoulder belt is needed with a booster. Please refer to your product user guide to determine if your BRITAX car seat is certified for aircraft use.

Q. Is there a standing height limit for rear-facing?

A. Refer to your product user guide for the appropriate height and weight ranges for your child seat.

Q. My car seat is expired. What should I do with it now?

A. We recommend that expired car seats be discarded. BRITAX currently does not offer a recycling program at its headquarters, but you may want to contact your local recycling facility to see if the seat can be recycled. However, in our experience, most recycling centers do not have the labor or equipment to properly recycle car seats.

When you discard a car seat, be sure to cut off all of the webbing, cut the cover, remove or blackout the serial number and manufacture date, and write “trash, do not use” on the car seat shell.

Q. What is a convertible car seat?

A. A convertible car seat is a child seat that "converts" from rear facing for infants and small toddlers to forward facing for children. BRITAX convertible car seats can accommodate children weighing up to 70 pounds.

Q. What is the difference between a harnessed seat and a booster seat?

A. Booster seats differ from a harnessed car seat in that a booster seat, by definition, simply “boosts” the child up so that the vehicle seat belt is positioned correctly across the child’s hips and shoulder/middle of the chest. Booster seats rely on the vehicle seat belts to hold both the child and the booster seat in position.

Harnessed seats have an internal harness system that is used to restrain the child.

Q. When can I move my child from a harnessed seat or booster seat to the vehicle seat belt?

A. Requirements for car seat use vary depending on the state or province in which you reside. BRITAX recommends that you follow the laws of your state/province as the minimum requirements for restraining your child while traveling. Additionally, BRITAX recommends that you continue to use the child seat system - convertible car seat, youth seat, or booster seat - to the upper limits of its recommended use, or until your child can fit properly in the adult seat belt.

For adult seat belt use, as a minimum follow your state/province requirements. The following are additional best practices recommended by BRITAX. To be able to fit an adult seat belt, a child must:
  • Be tall enough to sit without slouching
  • Keep his/her back and buttocks against the vehicle seat back
  • Keep his/her knees completely bent over the front edge of the vehicle seat
  • Keep his/her feet flat on the floor
  • Be able to stay comfortably seated this way, AND
  • The vehicle seat belt must be positioned correctly across the child's hips and shoulder/middle of the chest.
Also, please keep in mind that state/province law does not always represent best practice. We recommend that you follow the laws of your state/province as the minimum requirements for restraining your child while traveling.

Q. When can I move my child into a booster seat?

A. BRITAX recommends that a child remain in a five-point harnessed seat as long as possible and/or until the maximum weight and height of their convertible seat. Check your state/province laws for additional guidance on car seat and booster seat use.

Additional important points to consider when deciding on whether to move your child to a booster seat include:
  • Child’s age
  • Child’s height
  • Child’s weight
  • Child’s maturity – whether the child is a wiggle worm or sleeps often in the vehicle. If so, the booster seat may not be an appropriate selection.
Also, please keep in mind that law does not always represent best practice. We recommend that you follow the laws of your state/province as the minimum requirements for restraining your child while traveling.

Q. Which child seat is best for my child?

A. The best child seat is one that fits your child, fits in your vehicle, and is easy for you to use each and every time. You will notice that some child seats are easier to use than others, while some will not fit into certain vehicles, and some of each type are less suited for the child's size and development.

Read all product labels and verify that the specifications of the child seat meet your current needs.

Q. Which is more important when choosing a car seat for my child – weight, height, or age?

A. Federal law (FMVSS 213) defines weight and height as deciding factors for determining appropriate car seat choice; age is strictly an approximation. Some state laws, however, may include age requirements. Keep in mind that infants should not ride forward facing until at least one year of age AND over 20 lbs. The American Association of Pediatrics further suggests that it is five times safer for your child to continue rear facing through the second year of their life.

Q. Why do car seats have expiration dates?

A. There are several reasons why car seats have expiration dates:
  1. The materials that compose the seat (plastics, fabrics, webbing, etc.) all degrade over a period of time due to environmental factors, such as sunlight and heat.
  2. Car seat manufacturers have the ability to perform “life cycle testing” in an environmental chamber. This chamber allows us to perform tests replicating an expected life span of the seat. Several factors come into play during this life cycle testing, including the materials the seat is made from, the process by which the seat was made, the design of the seat, and the size and weight of the child using the seat. Without an expiration date, a car seat would be good forever; however, it would be impossible for a car seat manufacturer to test a car seat and guarantee that it will work forever.
  3. A car seat has to meet government standards that are in place at the time the seat is manufactured. These safety standards are constantly changing as new research is conducted and new technologies are developed – in fact, they’ve changed multiple times in the past ten years. Therefore, a car seat that was manufactured ten years ago and met the government’s requirements ten years ago may not meet the safety standards that we have in place today. A car seat that is manufactured with reasonably current technology will provide the best level of safety available.

Q. Why do different car seats have different expiration dates?

A. The type of materials used in a car seat not only affect the seat’s expiration date, they also affect how the seat will perform in a crash. Depending on factors such as the type of car seat, the design of the seat, how the seat will be installed, and the weight capacity of the seat, different materials will perform better than others during a crash test.

At BRITAX, our goal is to keep your child as safe as possible during a crash – this means that some of our seats have varying expiration dates based on the material, process, and design parameters of each product. During our product development process, the structural design, manufacturing process, and materials are adjusted to achieve the best crash test performance possible for that particular seat.