Cosco Car Seat Expiration Dates: Know Car Seats and The Law

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Meta Description: Many people shop at Cosco to get great deals on items for the home or business. They also carry affordable car seats. However, it is important to understand why car seats have expiration dates. This article will give you more information about Cosco car seats and their expiration dates.

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Cosco Car Seat Expiration Dates: Know Car Seats and The Law

Cosco is a warehouse club that originated in the United States and is now located in eight countries worldwide. They sell a variety of items including housewares, electronics, clothing, and food. Customers pay for a membership to receive discounts throughout the store and with other service partners. One particular item of interest to many parents is their selection of baby equipment. Cosco carries a selection of car seats from brands including Evenflo and Graco. When purchasing a new car seat, you want to ensure that you know the Cosco car seat expiration date.

Car Seat Laws

All children under a certain height and weight requirement are legally required to be in a child safety seat: front facing, rear facing, or booster. They must be seated in the back seat and are not allowed in the front seat until after the age of 12. While all states have these requirements, they may have different legally binding height and weight requirements for using a car seat. Since each state differs, you need to check your local requirements to make sure you are following the law. Expiration dates on car seats are not included in these legal requirements because the government does not regulate these dates. This is something put in place by the manufacturers. However, safety equipment must be used as directed by the manufacturer; otherwise, you can be cited for improper use of equipment if you happen to get into a car accident with an expired car seat.

Car Seat Expiration Dates

It should come as no surprise that manufacturers add expiration dates to their car seats. After all, many other non-perishable products also have expiration dates. For instance, beauty products are labeled with “use by” dates because they can become filled with infection-causing bacteria. Even loofah and sponges should be discarded after a few weeks because of this. Batteries have expiration dates because as they age, they can leak caustic battery acid, they also lose their charge over time making them less efficient. Motor oil has a life expectancy of about five years. After this time, the oil can separate and cause problems in the engine. Therefore, expiration dates are an expected part of the life cycle of almost any product.

Car seat expiration dates are another way that the manufacturer keeps customers safe from faulty or dangerous equipment.


Everyone likes to get a deal on children’s equipment, and it seems like most of what they need can be purchased or obtained from people who no longer need it. High chairs, pack-n-plays, toys, and clothing certainly fall into this category. However, used car seats may not be safe. First, the person that gives you the seat may have received it from someone else. Once the original owner is no longer around to ask, the history of the seat comes into question. It could have been in a car accident and have untold damage. There is no way to know the exact history of a used car seat.

Replacement parts

Old car seats have parts that wear out. Buckle clips can break, straps can rip, or a LATCH attachment may become damaged after moving it from one car to another. Manufacturers will have replacement parts available only for a short while. However, they constantly create new models and cannot be expected to keep all parts for all car seats in stock forever. Once they stop making a certain model, replacement parts will be difficult to find.


Manufacturers put their car seats through rigorous testing. You can find out about car seats by visiting the manufacturer’s website or through various consumer safety outlets. Despite this attention to detail, some car seats and other products can suffer from defects over time. Some of these defects can be remedied with a new part. Some require a complete recall. Car seats are no exceptions. Manufacturers will issue recalls on their car seats if enough incidents occur that require action. However, they cannot be continually responsible for old products as the new and more advanced ones come on the market. The expiration date ensures that unsafe products will not be used.

Material Fatigue

While plastic seems very sturdy and can last an eternity in a landfill, it does begin to break down over time. Car seats are exposed to some very hot and cold temperatures since they are rarely removed from the car. In hot weather, soaring temperatures inside the car can make it like an oven. In the cold, the plastic contracts. These temperature shifts cause fatigue in the plastic which may impact the safety of the seat during an accident. Manufacturers notice material fatigue after about ten years, so the initial expiration of six years make sense.

Improved safety

Car seats have been around since children have been riding in cars. The original designs did nothing more than prevent children from moving around in the car. Serious attempts to make car seats safe did not begin until the 1980s. Since then, vast improvements have been made in car seat materials and their safety. For instance, the plastic that most seats are made out of can absorb impact energy rather than transferring that energy to the child passenger. Safety harnesses have moved from two-point lap belts to three-point Y-harnesses, to the 5-point harness that many car seats have today. These additional points of restraint keep children safer by immobilizing their torso during a potential impact. The car seat itself can be rendered immobile using the LATCH safety system installed on every new model car since late 2002. With all of these constant innovations, old model car seats become obsolete. The expiration dates ensure that they will not be used and pose a potential hazard to children.

Where To Find Expiration Dates

A Cosco car seat expiration date is placed by manufacturers to make it easy to find these dates. Most of the time, they are embossed, molded, or stamped into the back or side of the chair. You may have to move the cover to see it if the date is located on the side. They do not use stickers for these important dates because stickers can be removed or fall off. The expiration date will be found along with the car seat model number and other manufacturer information.

If you cannot find the car seat expiration date, but you do see a manufacture date, then you can assume the expiration date is approximately six years from the date of creation. Another way to find out the expiration date is to contact the manufacturer directly. Most have customer service numbers available on the car seat or in the manual. You can also find this information online. Contacting the company is an easy way to get the correct information.

Car Seat Disposal

Expired car seats need to be tossed in the trash or sent for recycling. Certain retailers that sell car seats also have turn-in events where you can bring in any expired car seat and purchase a new one at a discount. However, if you have no need for a new car seat, then you should follow the next steps to ensure that no one else attempts to use your expired car seat.

  1. Remove all hardware from the chair. This may require using a screwdriver to remove metal parts. You can even cut the harness straps to prevent them from being used.
  2. Remove all fabric and padding. If you know how to upcycle, you can use these items elsewhere. Alternatively, you can find a textile recycler or give them away to a seamstress for scrap fabric.
  3. In large, bold letters, write “expired” on the plastic bucket seat. This lets people know that the seat is damaged. Some recyclers will take this kind of plastic but others will not. You should call your local recycling place to make sure.
  4. If you cannot recycle the plastic, then place the stripped car seat in the trash.


Car seats seem like an expensive piece of equipment that can easily be acquired from someone who does not need theirs anymore. After all, many other pieces of much-needed childhood equipment can be purchased or obtained second-hand. Swing sets, bikes, and strollers are typical items to pass down to younger children. However, the history of used car seats is always suspect, even from a known source. Safety improvement and material fatigue are two very important reasons to purchase a new car seat.

Keep in mind that not all car seats cost the same. The more safety features or accessories that come with the seat, the more expensive it will be. Even single car seats that are brand new have more safety features than any used car seat due to advancements in technology. Hospital personnel and police officers will not pull your car seat out of place in order to check the expiration date unless you are specifically taking the seat to the hospital or police station to have the seat installed in the car. Therefore, the only person who will really know if a car seat is expired is you. A Cosco car seat expiration date should always be checked. Do you really want to trust the safety of your children to an expired car seat?

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