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NEW YORK —  For Samantha Booth the safety of her children is a priority. All three of her children used the same car seat.

“I never really thought anything of it, we used it for about a year for each kid. It never had been in a car accident, it was in good shape so I just reused it.”

Just one problem — she didn’t know it was already a year past its expiration date when she used it for her son Nathaniel.

“I was shocked and relieved and I felt guilty that I had my youngest in an expired car seat.”

Improper use of car seats is common. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, three out of four car seats are used incorrectly.
That includes the use of expired car seats. Many of them are unknowingly bought and sold at garage sales or handed down from family members and friends.

Kristen Urso is a car seat expert with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

“In general we are looking at six year expiration date and that’s from a manufacture date not the date you purchased it or the date you started using it.”

You can find the expiration date on the bottom of your car seat. Look for the sticker that has the manufactured date and the do not use after date.

Manufacturers put expiration dates on car seats because the plastic they’re made of can break down over time.