CALIFORNIA - Many parents think that the safest place for a child is in a car seat, but according to a new study most of them are used incorrectly.
One of the biggest factors that contributes to them being used incorrectly is the fact that car seats are continued to be used after they expire.
Samantha Booth has used the same car seat for all three of her children.
"I never really thought anything of it," Booth said. "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."
She didn't know that the car seat was already one year past its expiration date when she used it for her son, Nathaniel.
"I was shocked and relieved," she said. "I felt guilty that I had my youngest in an expired car seat."
However, improper use of car seats is fairly common. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, three of four car seats are used incorrectly, which 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, a car seat expert with the American Academy of Pediatrics, said that car seats should not be passed on to friends or neighbors after use.
"In general, we are looking at the 6-year expiration date and that's from manufacture date, not the date you purchased it or the date you started using it," Urso said.
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.
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