This summer, be sure your child car seat (or seats) aren’t expired or damaged before you set off.

When was the last time you checked if your child car seat is still safe to use or is properly installed?

Whether you’re heading off on a classic Kiwi road trip or just popping to the shops, take some time to check your seat (or seats) for damage and make sure the expiry date hasn’t lapsed. That’s the advice from Seatsmart, New Zealand’s only child car seat recycling programme.

Programme Manager Toni Bye says it’s something which is easily overlooked, especially at this busy time of year. “A lot of people also don’t know child car seats expire, but on average they have a life of life of six to 10 years. So, if you’ve had a seat for a while, it’s really important to check,” she says.

The expiry date can usually be found on the back or bottom of a seat, she says. If you are unsure, chat to child car seat technician or check the expiry date guide on

Auckland Transport Injury Prevention Team Lead Rachael Hannah says it’s also important to check your seat for damage and that it’s correctly installed. “Child car seats can be difficult to install – not everyone gets it right and this can affect the restraint’s ability to protect your child in a car crash,” she says.

A child car seat technician should be your first port of call, Rachael says. “Many child car seat retailers have technicians on staff or you can find one by emailing me on”

The Auckland Transport website also has some useful information on safely using child car seats, Rachael says.

If you find your seat is expired or damaged, SeatSmart has created a way for the seat’s materials to be recycled or repurposed, rather than end up in landfill, says Toni.

“We have 44 collections sites around the country where you can take your seat, with more due to open soon.

“Recycling your seat means the plastic metal and straps can be made into new products. It also helps provide employment for those dismantling the seats and those repurposing seat straps for handmade bags.”