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Some things like clothes can be handed down for years, but when it comes to baby car seats, it is best not to use anything older than five years. They can start to deteriorate and the plastic can break down due to regular wear and tear. Most car sears have an expiration date on their label so be sure to check for that, or call the manufacturer with the model number and name to get that information.
Even though it may sound great to save some money if you have an older car seat you think you can use, it is not worth the risk. Be sure that your baby car seat is in good working order and intact, if any of the parts or plastic is cracked or broken do not use and get a new one. There are many types and styles and you are sure to find one that is both safe and that can fit your budget.