JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Car crashes are the leading cause of death for young children, but their chance of surviving is increased greatly if they're buckled into a properly installed car seat. It's also the law.
But parents may not know that, like milk, car seats have an expiration date.
Safe Kids Northeast Florida said most safety seats have expiration dates between 4 and 12 years because the plastic breaks down over time, making them less safe. That’s something to keep in mind if you buy a used car seat or plan to reuse one from a previous child.
From Monday through May 4, Target is helping out by taking used car seats to be recycled and giving a 20% discount on a new car seat or other baby gear.
When picking out a new car seat, experts say it's very important that it fits your child and is properly installed in the car. Parents need to pick a car seat based on their child’s stage of development, weight and height.
“I look for comfort and then I always look at the review and see if it has good ratings from other parents," parent Christina MacDowell said.
The goal as they grow is to keep them rear-facing as long as possible.
“Every time you switch to a new stage of a car seat you lose a little bit of safety so you want to maximize the benefit for each stage," said Christina MacDowell, of Safe Kids Northeast Florida. "For example, when they switch from rear-facing to forward facing, you’re still in the five-point harness, but forward facing is a little bit less safe than rear-facing because they no longer have that shell supporting their head and neck and spine.”
When it comes to installing the car seat properly in the car, experts want you to make sure it is tight and snug, not moving more than an inch either direction when you shake it.