What To Do with Your Old Car Seats

What To Do with Your Old Car Seats

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Your child’s car seat has been a staple of the backseat ever since their first trip home. From spills and meltdowns to road trips and adventures, your tiny traveler’s car seat has been through it all. But now your little one isn’t so little anymore and it’s time to retire their car seat. But what do you do with an old seat? Lucky for you, there are a few different options when it comes to recycling car seats.  

Save the seat for a younger child.

If your big kid is an elder sibling, their seat might still be safe to use for their little sibling. Make sure to check the expiration date on the seat before putting it aside for later use. If it’s going to expire before their little sib has the chance to use it, it’s best to just get rid of it and purchase a new seat.  

Find a car seat trade-in program.

Select retailers run trade-in programs throughout the year, like the Target Car Seat Trade In. Bring in your old seat, and in exchange, you’ll receive a coupon to purchase a replacement car seat or other baby gear. The old, donated car seats are recycled and used to create new items from the recycled plastic. 

Recycle the car seat yourself.

Check with your local recycling plant to see if they accept plastic from car seats. If they do, check their requirements for accepting an old car seat – the level of work you’ll have to do before dropping it off may vary. 

  • Remove the cover and soft goods
  • Remove the harness and buckles
  • Remove all metal pieces

Soft goods, harnesses, and buckles are all destined for the trash, but (recycling laws permitting) you can recycle all metal pieces and the hard plastic frame.  

Dispose of the car seat in the trash.

If there isn’t a recycling plant near you that will take your old car seat, then you might need to throw it in the trash. Just like with recycling, there are guidelines for properly disposing of a car seat in the garbage: 

  • Remove all padding and foam
  • Cut all the straps
  • Remove the metal pieces
  • Mark the seat as “UNSAFE” or “DO NOT USE”

Once you’ve figured out how to get rid of your old car seat, the next step is finding a new one. Check out our guide on how to choose a convertible car seat to help you find the perfect next car seat for your growing little one.