When is it time to replace your child’s car seat?

With all of the cute toys, blankets and tiny little straps, you might be a little bit attached to your baby’s first car seat. Or maybe you are sick and tired of lugging it around and can’t wait for your child to ride on their own.

Whether you are looking forward to moving on to a booster seat or not, you should know that there are specific times when you need to replace a car seat.

Car seats don’t last forever

Most people don’t realize that you aren’t supposed to pass car seats down for years. There are times when you should get rid of your child’s first car seat. You should get a new car seat if:

  • Your child has outgrown it
  • It was in your car when you got into an accident
  • The expiration date is coming up (usually six years after you buy it)
  • There is any damage from daily use

Most car seats will come with more information about height and weight limits and expiration dates. Make sure to check for cracks or wear often to make sure that the car seat is still safe.

What kind of car seat should you get next?

Depending on your child’s age and size, there are different car seats you should use. The infant seat you get before they are born will be too small within a year. You’ll be looking into a new seat before you know it.

The next step is a convertible seat that can face backward or forward. This one could last you anywhere from three to nine years—it must be rear-facing until your child’s weight reaches 20 pounds and front-facing until they reach 40 pounds. After that a booster seat will do until your child reaches the Wisconsin legal requirement for sitting on their own of 4 feet 9 inches tall.

Keep in mind that every child grows at different speeds—so you shouldn’t switch just based on age. Your child might be tall enough to sit on their own by age 8, or they could be in a booster seat until age 12.

Whether you are eager to get rid of the heavy infant seat or you are sad to see your baby growing up too fast, you need to consider safety first. Find a new car seat that suits your child’s age and size so that you know they are secure while you drive. Making sure that you don’t change too early or too late can help keep your child comfortable and safe.