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I know that e.g. bike helmets and child car seat expires, but can't find anything about bike child seats.

There is a manufacture date on mine (Dec. 2014) and it's made of polypropylene (there is this logo on it: enter image description here, courtesy of wikipedia).

Considering that I took good care of this child seat and that it has never been exposed to a shock, should I still consider changing it, as it has 5 years now?

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  • The main issue would be how/where it's stored. If stored out of direct sunlight and away from petroleum fumes it should last a decade or more, but sunlight and petroleum fumes degrade most plastics. And, of course, wear on the fasteners and straps should be taken into account, but that has little to do with age. – Daniel R Hicks May 24 '20 at 18:35
  • Inspect for visible damage like cracks or brittle places. Wriggle at connected parts that should not move to test if they're still solid and inspect clamps and ratchets for width adjustments. – Carel May 24 '20 at 19:53
  • The 5 in the recycling logo is the type of plastic, has nothing to do with 5 years age. – Criggie May 24 '20 at 20:58
  • @Criggie Sorry, "shock". Oh, and the two occurrences of "5" are a coincidence, I know that this 5 is here for polypropylene. – Clément May 24 '20 at 21:06
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    Polypropylene has a prediction of a 100 year service life whan used for gravity sewage system.... Carseats have a 10 year life in many juristrictions but thats because the lawyers insist. The seat is good for at least another 5 years if its otherwise in g0od condtion. – mattnz May 24 '20 at 21:56
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Barring damage from sunlight or collision, or fabrics rotting from dampness, or abraiding, a child's seat should be usable for decades.

I'd strongly recommend including the child's seat in your periodic M check. Wiggle it, lift and push on it, look for changes or cracks. Tug on the belts and make sure nothing's loose.

Store it according to instructions, wash the cloth parts as required and dry them before storage, and you should be okay for an entire generation, and probably the next as well.


Aside - one neat historical record can be to write the child's name and birthdate on the seat in a place where it won't rub off. I've seen one kids seat with a dozen names on it going back to the late 80s.

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    One other thing to check for is significant rust on any non-stainless steel parts. They may be replaceable, like fasteners, or they may be fundamental parts. I don't recall any issues on the baby seat I used to have, but rust on the structure near fixing points will probably limit the life of the bigger seat I have now. This one isn't meant for frequent removal, and stays on a workhorse/commuting bike stored outside during the day, so a common but almost worst case. – Chris H May 25 '20 at 5:37

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