FAQ: Is it OK to use my first child’s infant car seat for my second child? It’s still in great shape and was never in an accident.
If your kids are close in age, it’s fine to reuse your car seat, provided that it hasn’t been recalled and there aren’t any visible cracks in the frame. (To check for recalls, see www.cpsc.gov.) But if there’s a significant age gap between your kids, you’re better off buying a new seat. The AAP advises consumers to avoid using seats that are too old. That means looking on the label for the date it was made and checking with the manufacturer (log onto their Website) to find out how long it recommends using the seat. Some manufacturers recommend that their models only be used for five to six years from the date of manufacture. The Britax Chaperone infant car seat and base (www.britaxusa.com), for example, shouldn’t be used when either are older than six years or have been in a severe crash. To make sure your seat hasn’t expired, look on the seat’s label for the date of manufacture and check your owner’s manual for usage recommendations. For guidelines on car seats safety and installation, see Car Safety Seats: A Guide for Families 2009, http://www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm.