Children’s car seats and booster seats: How long are they safe?


All children’s car seats and booster seats sold in Canada have an expiry or useful life date on them, even though this is not required by regulation. Manufacturers do this to inform current owners and prospective buyers of the potential risks of using car seats and booster seats that may be missing important parts, labels or instructions and/or may have an unknown history, which could lead to less than optimal safe performance when needed. People should not use children’s car seats and booster seats past their expiry or useful life date. Beyond this date, the car seat should be permanently discarded rather than donated to a charitable organization, second hand store, or given to friends or relatives. It is also important to note that if you own a car seat or booster seat made before January 1, 2012, under Health Canada’s Canada Consumer Product Safety Act, you may not be able to advertise, sell, or give it away because it may not meet the latest requirements set out by Health Canada.

Manufacturers give an expiry or useful life date because over time:

  • frequent use and exposure to sunlight can damage and weaken plastic;
  • safe-use labels on the products fade or become hard to read;
  • instruction manuals have likely been lost;
  • food, cleaners, drinks and other materials that have been spilled or used on webbing, buckles, adjusters and
  • other parts may prevent them from working safely;
  • the history or condition of the car seat or booster seat becomes hard to check (was it in a crash, was it stored in a place or in a way that caused damage to parts, etc.?);
  • safety regulations and standards may have changed, so safer products may now be on the market; and
    second or subsequent owners may not get product safety recall notices if problems arise.

In Canada, all provinces and territories require infants and toddlers to be buckled up in the appropriate car seat. Several provinces also require booster seats for children who have outgrown a child car seat but are too small for a regular seat belt. The provincial and territorial laws also say that the children’s car seats and booster seats must be certified to Canada Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and must be used according to the manufacturer’s instructions. If you don’t follow the instructions or if you use them past their expiry or useful life dates – you may be putting your child’s safety at risk and you may be found guilty of breaking the law.

Listed below, in alphabetical order, are the manufacturers who sell car seats and/or booster seats in Canada, the brand name and the useful life period of their products. Depending on the make or model, they can be used safely for five to nine years. Transport Canada strongly advises parents and caregivers follow all of the manufacturer’s instructions and respect the expiry or useful life dates.

Manufacturer Brand Name(s) Product Type1 Useful Life
Baby Trend Inc. Baby Trend I 6 years
Britax Child Safety, Inc. Britax I, Traveller Plus EL 6 years
Britax I/C, B 7 years
Britax C/B 9 years
Canadian Tire Corp. Apramo B 9 years
Sparco B 6 years
Chicco USA, Inc. Chicco I 6 years from manufacturer date, or date of purchase (proof of purchase required)
Combi USA, Inc. Combi I, B 7 years
Diono Radian R-series I,C,B 8 years as “I or C” + 2 extra years as “B”
Monterey B 6 years
Dorel Juvenile Group Cosco, Eddie Bauer, Safety 1st I, I/C, C/B, B 6 years
Maxi Cosi I, B 6 years
Quinny, Lux I 6 years
Cosco, Eddie Bauer, Safety 1st I/C/B 8 years
Evenflo Company Inc. Evenflo I, I/C, C/B, B 6 years
Evenflo I/C/B 8 years
Graco Children’s Products Graco I, I/C 7 years
Graco C/B, B 10 years
Harmony Juvenile Products Harmony B, C/B 6 years
Learning Curve Brands, Inc. First Years, Compass I, I/C, B 7 years
Magna Aftermarket Inc./ CLEK Inc. CLEK B 7 years
Orbit Baby Inc. Orbit Baby I 7 years
Peg-Pérego S.p.A. Peg-Pérego I 5 years
All seats manufactured after 01/01/2011 I, I/C, B 7 years
Sunshine Kids Juvenile Products Sunshine Kids I/C 8 years
Sunshine Kids B 6 years
Note 1: I = Infant; I/C = Infant and Child; B = Booster; C/B = Child and Booster; I/C/B = Infant, Child and Booster

Source Transport Canada

(photo Child Safety Link)