By Breana Pitts

BOSTON (CBS) – Like many parents, Samantha Booth used the same car seat for all three of her kids.

“It was never in a car accident. It was in good shape, so I just used it,” she said.

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There was just one problem; it was expired. Samantha had no idea the car seat was already a year past the expiration date when she used it for her son, Nathaniel.

“In general we are talking about a six year expiration and that is from the manufacture date and not the purchase date or the date you start using it,” explained Kirsten Urso, a car seat expert with the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Many car seats are bought and sold at garage sales or handed down to family members and friends, but according to Urso, the materials can break down over time and could be dangerous in an accident.

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“The seat may not hold up the way it’s supposed to,” she said.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, three out of four car seats are used improperly and that includes the use of expired car seats.

It’s easy to check the date, usually located on a sticker on the bottom of the seat.

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Car seat recalls are also an issue, you can check your seat at this link.

Breana Pitts