Important Notices

November 2009
Unapproved expiration date changes

The confusion of car seat expiry dates on Evenflo car seats, namely the Apollo, Portabout and other Evenflo capsule still appears to be upsetting many parents.

Evenflo in the USA who manufacture these car seats states that their car seats expire at the end of the year (31 December) 6 years from the date of manufacture. However seats purchased in NZ from the Baby Factory stores appear to have had their dates and clocks removed by the NZ importer to increase their life span from when they were imported and sold in NZ. This means the imported seats were already 4 years old, and then had another 6 years added to their life span at the time of sale.

This article claims that the seats were part of a large cancelled order that were then purchased by the importer here in NZ, modified and then sold on. Although not one customer was made aware of this, and they were still charged $199 plus retail for this seat that expired only 2 years after the seat was purchased. The Baby Factory store originally refunded customers who had purchased the affected seats, until more people also requested refunds.

NZ Child Restraints feels that the sale of these seats is misleading, as the manufacturer states themselves that no modifications should be carried out on the seat, and the importer was using a hot glue gun to melt the dates on the plastic shell, which was not then safety tested and could have hindered the safety ability of the seat, possibly causing a weakness in the seat structure that under force could harm the infant using the seat.
Though no one knows for sure what, if any, risk there may be in using these seats, and we would like to know who would step forward and claim responsibility should any child be injured as a result of using one of these seats.

We also believe that the retail cost should have been reduced and purchasers made aware of the reason for this reduction so they knew at the time of purchase that the seat was going to expire within 2 years time. The fact the seats were sold at retail price means it should perform as intended, and to NZCR this means that the seat would last for around 6 years from the date of purchase. Most seats sold in NZ are up to 6 months old at the time of sale, with many seats being around only 2 months old.


Oct 24 [2009]: Car seat expiry; Vanishing car; All not fine; Archive - health campaign

Car seat expiry 
Reporter: Erica Wood

Parents came to Fair Go with concerns about confusing expiry and manufacture dates on their children's Evenflo car seats bought from Baby Factory.  There is no legal requirement in New Zealand to have expiry dates on child restraints, however, American company Evenflo has a self-imposed standard which states their seats are safe to use for six years from date of manufacture.  Parents noticed some of their car seats had had the original expiry and manufacture dates re-stickered, scratched or melted off.  Some found contradicting dates and did not know which one to take notice of.

Evenflo's New Zealand distributor, Warwick Edwards, says a major order fell through in the United States so Evenflo was left with loads of unsold seats in storage.  About two thousand of those were later brought into New Zealand, but by that time there was only about two years left until those seats expired.  To solve that problem Warwick Edwards changed the dates with Evenflo's permission.  Warwick Edwards says that because the expiry dates are not a legal requirement, he has no problem with what he has done and would do it again.

The Baby Factory says they have confidence the baby seats are safe for the next six years and they acted in good faith on the basis that Evenflo had authorised Warwick Edwards to change the labels.  However, when challenged by Fair Go, they said they would no longer accept any seats that have had altered dates.

Plunket's National Child Safety Advisor, Sue Campbell, says having confusing expiry dates is highly unsatisfactory, and wants to discourage companies from changing dates.  However, she does think the seats are still safe to use and parents should continue to use them.

In summary, Fair Go thinks there is no point in having a standard if you're not going to stick to it.  We accept these seats are probably safe to use, but consumers should have been fully informed about the date changes at point of sale.  If you weren't, then we think you have every reason to take it back and ask for a refund. 

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