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Expired/Damaged car seats amnesty is back for 2022Expired/Damaged car seats amnesty is back for 2022

Expired Car Seat Amnesty is back.

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 the 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.

Using the safest child restraint for your child is only going to protect your child if it is installed correctly.

Holly is inviting families in Wairarapa to drop off expired cars seats to either REAP House, 340 Queen Street Masterton or the Featherston Community Centre, before 3pm Friday 25th November.

“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”.

Thanks to funding from South Wairarapa District Council, any seats dropped off to Featherston Community Centre (first 50) will be put through the Seat Smart Car Seat Recycling Programme.

“Expired car seats are in particular a huge issue here in Wairarapa as we have no rental service to assist in moderating this. “Although we have outlets 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

If you wanted an analogy for why car seats have an expiry - and they all do, liken it to tupperware being heated in the microwave, over time the integrity of the plastic wears down. Therefore, it fails to meet the manufacturers standards and cannot be guaranteed to do what it is intended to do - which is keep your child safe when you travel.

Another instance of wear that is often not considered is if the seat that was installed is involved in a crash. The car seat absorbs the shock of the crash and means that the integrity of the car seat is compromised. This means in any crash, best practice is to replace your car seat. Often if you are insured, your policy may have provision to assist in the replacement.

“At school or home when riding a bike, you wear a helmet. If you land on your head and your helmet saves you, then the helmet has done its job but may not save you next time - so you buy a new helmet. It’s the same principle with car seats”.

“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 monthly free Car seat checking clinics out of Plunket in Masterton and  quarterly in Featherston. To make a booking for our next FREE Clinic go to:

For more road safety information check out the Wairarapa Road Safety Council Facebook page or website

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