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Expired Car Seat Epidemic

For Wairarapa, we have a huge increase in expired and incorrectly fitted car seats in vehicle. Children 0-7 years (or up to 148cm tall) are required by law to be restrained in an appropriate car seat. This means in order for it to be legal, it must meet manufacturer's standards.

 This includes:

-       installed correctly according to instruction manual that comes with the seat. If you have a tether strap attached to the seat (according to US/NZ/AUS safety standards), it must be anchored to the anchor bolt in the vehicle. If there is none in your particular make/model of car, then one must be installed.

-       Shown manufacture date either by sticker or etched circle markings in the back or underneath the car seat. Each brand of seat has a different expiry date. A full list can be found on our website.

To try and combat the issue around expired car seats, Holly is inviting families in Wairarapa to drop off expired cars seats to REAP House, 340 Queen Street, before midday Thursday 20th December 2019.

“We will cover the cost of disposal and give advice on best places to purchase new seats and where else (out of town) you can contact to hire a certified car seat”.

 “Expired car seats are in particular a huge issue here in Wairarapa as we have no rental service on our doorstep to assist in moderating this. “Although we have outlets such as Farmers, Super Cheap Auto and The Warehouse all in Masterton that sell certified car seats, it’s not always an affordable option for families in our region.” Says Child Restraint Technician Holly Hullena from Wairarapa Road Safety Council

“With best intentions, people are known to give seats to family members or friends in goodwill, sell seats second hand online through various streams or drop them off to hospice and second hand stores, but 8 out of the 10 seats have already expired, putting the next users at risk”.

“You might think it's just about selling more car seats, but there are very important safety reasons for placing an expiration date of six to 10 years after the date of manufacture.”

5 reasons are:

1)    Technology improves and standards change

2)    Material wears down - especially belts and plastic

3)    Models are only safety-tested for a typical lifespan

4)    Older car seats may have been recalled by the manufacturer and if you have inherited someone elses seat, how do you know this?

5)    As designs change, manufacturers don't want to maintain an inventory of older parts forever. You may not be able to get a replacement part past the expiration date.

“Your responsibilities as the driver (under the law), you must make sure that any child under 7 years of age is properly restrained by an approved child restraint that is appropriate for the age and size of the child. They must not travel in the vehicle if you can’t put them in an approved child restraint. The vehicle’s safety belt on its own is not an approved child restraint. “

Holly Hullena has been a child restraint technician since October 2014. She runs regular free Car seat checking clinics out of Plunket in Masterton and Featherston. The next car seat clinics will resume in February 2019. For more information check events on the Wairarapa Road Safety Council Facebook page.

Using the safest child restraint for your child is only going to protect your child if it is installed correctly. For information on child restraints, visit our website – or call Holly on 06 377 1379. The are also qualified child restraint technicians in Wairarapa at both our stockists of new car seats – The Warehouse Masterton and Farmers Masterton.


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