Did you know that car seats come with an expiration date? It’s true! Take a look at the base of your car seat and you'll see that it has an expiration sticker slapped right on it. No, your car seat won't suddenly explode if you use it past the date on the base, but you could be putting your little one at serious risk if you place them in an expired car seat.

When I first heard that car seats come with an expiration date, I immediately thought that it was just another way manufacturers to squeeze even more money out of consumers. Any parent will tell you that it feels like the world is out to take as much  money as it can from our wallets when it comes to gadgets and devices for our kids, but that’s not why car seats come with an expiration. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car seats come with an expiration with one goal in mind, to keep your kids safe.

So, why do car seats expire? Well, as with anything, technology improves and standards change over time. When I was a baby, car seats weren’t even mandatory. As a matter of fact, my mom used to lay me in a banana box on the floor of the car. Fast forward to 2002 when car seats had long been mandatory in cars, but they weren't even equipped with lower anchors and tethers which are now a standard feature. Secondly, car seats weren’t made to last forever. With time, car seat bases can develop hairline fractures and those fractures could shatter if you’re in a car accident. And then there's the fact that manufacturers only test car seats for a certain amount of time so they don’t know how older car seats will hold up in an accident.

If you want to make sure the car seat you have is safe for your most precious cargo and that it's installed properly, The Broome County Health Department will be conducting a Child Safety Seat Check on Saturday, August 24 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Port Dickinson Community Park which is located at 811 Chenango Street in Binghamton.

When you visit, a safety check will be conducted by a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician. The technician will make sure your car seat is installed properly and will also check the seat's expiration status, whether or not the seat is under recall,if the seat is properly harnessed, and if the seat is appropriate for your child based on their age, weight, height, and development.

If you plan to attend the free Child Safety Seat Check, please bring your car seat (s), child(ren), and the vehicle the child safety seat that will be installed in as well as the car seat manual to your car seat safety check.

[via National Safety Commission/Governor's Traffic Safety Committee/Go Broome County]