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Published on Jun 20, 2005 by Edgar Snyder

Expiration Dates Not Just For Food

Expiration Date

Dig deeper than your fridge when looking for expired products. Often, consumers use items without knowing the recommended expiration dates, putting loved ones and themselves, unwittingly in danger.

Some products to check:

Car Seats

Although there are federal safety standards for car seats, there are no expiration dates, according to the National Highway Safety Administration. One of the largest manufacturers of child safety seats, Graco, recommends replacing car seats after seven years due to constantly changing regulations. Car seats involved in accidents should always be replaced.

Bike Helmets

Bell Sports, the largest manufacturer of bicycle helmets, suggests replacing helmets every three years because helmet design improves every few years. However, the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute and Consumer Reports suggest keeping helmets for five to seven years, especially if you have not been in an accident involving head trauma.

Car Tires

Tests performed by Ford indicate tires begin to disintegrate after five years, even if they are rarely driven. The Rubber Manufacturers Association says there is no data supporting Ford’s claim that tire performance declines with age. But the association recommends replacing tires every 45,000 miles. Currently, the Department of Transportation does not require tire expiration dates, but this is changing in the near future.

Along with staying informed about product expiration dates, being aware of current product recalls can also prevent unnecessary harm or injury. For more information on product safety and recalls, visit the U.S. Product Safety Commission at www.cpsc.gov.

Source: “An Expiration Date on a Child Seat? Huh?” By Alina Tugend. The New York Times. June 11, 2005.
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