JACKSONVILLE, FL (WTLV/NBC) - You already know the food items in your refrigerator and cabinets have expiration dates, but did you know that child safety seats have them, too?
Allison Patton has three children and is expecting twins. Trying to keep costs down, she wanted to use a car seat purchased in 2003 for her new babies, but was told it may be expired.
"They don't tell you that at the store when you buy it; I never saw it on the package; I had never heard of it," Patton said.
Patton checked the seat and embedded into its plastic frame was a warning: "Do not use this car seat after December 2008."
Lesley Seaton, a spokesperson for the SafeKids Northeast Florida, said there are common mistakes with child safety seats, including using expired ones.
"They do expire; it varies on different brands the shelf life of a car seat," Seaton said.
She said parents should always check the seat's manual for an expiration date or check the seat; the seats need to have a shelf life for a number reasons.
"The shell can be broken down and worn out; the harness strap itself that holds the child in safely can be frayed and torn but look OK," she said.
Also, the seat may have been part of a recall that was missed.
Patton is now spreading the word: Check your child's car seat for an expiration date.
"If you've had a kid within the past five years and you're just having another, you need to go and look at all your equipment," Patton said.
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