If you have the same questions as I once had: what to do with expired car seats. You’ve come to the right place. How to deal with a used or old car seat should be a common situation for most parents. So I wrote this post and shared my and other moms’ experiences on what to do with old and expired car seats.
- Check the car seat’s expiration date and condition before donating, or reusing it.
- Participate in Target car seat trade-in events to exchange old car seats for discounts on new baby gear.
- Donate car seats in good condition to church organizations or child passenger safety technicians for training purposes.
- If the car seat is expired or damaged, follow proper recycling or trash disposal protocols.
Is it Expired?
Car seats are an essential safety item for young children riding in vehicles, but they do expire over time. In general, car seats can last between six and ten years, but the actual lifespan depends on the specific model and manufacturer. Here are a few ways to check if a car seat is expired and what happens when it is.
Firstly, some manufacturers have the car seat’s expiration date imprinted on a white sticker that is located on the bottom or back of the seat, along with a manufacturer date. They include Britax, Chicco, and Evenflo. If you have purchased any car seat from these three car seat brands, you’ll probably know the car seat is expired directly from the sticker.
For other brands, such as the Graco, Diono, Safety 1st, Nuna, Cosco, and Maxi Cosi, that do not have this information on the sticker, you’ll need to do a calculation to know the exact expiration date of the car seat with the manufacture date and the given lifespan.
The primary reason for car seat expiration is the degradation of the materials over time. Prolonged exposure to sunlight, heat, extreme cold, or moisture can cause the plastic and fabric to become brittle, which reduces the effectiveness of a crash. Additionally, the seat’s structure and frame may become damaged over the years or due to misuse, which can impact its ability to protect a child.
Parents should replace a car seat if they find it has expired or is approaching. Using an expired car seat is dangerous and can compromise the safety of the child in the event of an accident. If there is no visible expiration date, err on the side of caution and assume that the seat is expired, especially if it is a hand-me-down or one that’s been in storage for a long time.
Some parents may also ask: is it illegal to use an expired car seat? The law does not say much specifically on expired car seats. However, all the states make clear statements that parents must use the car seat following the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions. If so, it’s better to deal with expired car seats instead of keeping using them for your kid’s safety sake.
In conclusion, checking the expiration date of a car seat is a critical step in ensuring your child’s safety in the car. Parents should carefully inspect it regularly over the years to ensure that it is in good condition. Remember, your child’s safety is the number one priority, and using an expired car seat may jeopardize that safety.
Is it illegal to use an expired car seat?
It is not necessarily illegal to use an expired car seat, but it is strongly recommended by car seat manufacturers, child safety organizations, and experts. An expired car seat may not provide sufficient protection in the event of a crash due to wear and tear, deterioration of the materials, and outdated safety technology.
In some states, it may be illegal to sell or donate an expired car seat, but it is generally not illegal if you keep using an expired car for personal use. Plus, the police won’t stop you on the road to check if your car seat is expired or not.
It’s the parents’ responsibility to make sure the kid’s safe in the vehicle. So, it is always best to follow the guidelines and recommendations of the manufacturer and safety organizations to ensure the highest level of protection for your child. It is recommended to replace a car seat after it has reached its expiration date or after a crash, whichever comes first.
What are expired car seat laws in the US
In the US, there is no federal law that sets a specific expiration date for car seats. It’s common that car seat manufacturers to give this information that car seats should not be used after six or ten years from the date of manufacture. This is because the materials and components of the car seat may deteriorate over time due to exposure to extreme temperatures, sunlight, and wear and tear.
Most states only suggest the parents follow the manufacturer’s instructions to use the car seat regarding expiration dates, as these are based on the specific materials and construction of the car seat. Expired car seats may not provide the same level of protection in the event of a car accident. Therefore, it is important to replace your car seat if it has expired or if it has been involved in a moderate to severe crash.
What to do with expired car seats?
Generally, I will remember and mark the expiration date before installing the car seat into the vehicle. In this way, I can replace the expired car seat as soon as it approaches the expiration date. It’s not a biggie if you continue using the car seat for a few days after its expiry, for instance, you forget about that day. But it’s strongly recommended to change to a new one as soon as possible to ensure your kid’s safety in the car.
Per mine and a lot of moms’ experience, there are four common methods to deal with expired car seats. Most will choose the first – trade-in events. You’ll get a coupon or gift card that can be used to purchase a new car seat.
Trade-in Events (Recommended)
Some retailers offer trade-in events for car seats, where customers can bring in their old or expired car seat, and receive a discount on a new car seat. The retailer then disposes of the old car seat in a safe and eco-friendly manner by cooperating with some recycling companies. This method of expired car seat disposal ensures that these car seats don’t end up in landfills and allows the customer to purchase a new, up-to-date car seat at a reduced price. This is the top of win-win situation.
Target is the backbone of the car seat trade-in events. They have held more than ten trade-in events since 2016, recycling 2.19 million car seats and over 32.9 million pounds of car seat materials.
The 2023 Target trade-in event will happen from April 16 to 29, 2023. If you have an old or expired car seat, just take it to a Target store to exchange it for a 20% discount code. See our post on Target trade-in events to explore more if you’re interested in the next Target car seat trade-in events.
Target trade-in events
Target car seat trade-in events offer an excellent opportunity for parents and caregivers to recycle their old car seats and receive a discount on new ones. These events typically happen twice a year and last for several weeks. During the event, customers can bring their old car seats to any participating Target location and receive a 20% discount coupon for a new car seat or select baby gear.
By offering a discount on new car seats or select baby gear, Target is making it easier for families to afford the expense of replacing their old car seats regularly. This initiative can ultimately help prevent accidents and save lives while keeping plastic out of landfills.
To participate in a Target car seat trade-in event, customers must bring their old car seat to a participating Target store during the event. The trade-in event and the discount coupon are limited to one car seat per customer or household. Customers can arrive at the store with their car seat and present the item to the store associate at the drop-off location. The associate will then scan a coupon barcode on the customer’s Target app to unlock the 20% discount coupon, which can be applied in-store or online. The discount coupon is valid on new car seats, select baby gear, and related accessories.
In conclusion, Target car seat trade-in events promote sustainability by keeping plastic out of landfills and encourage parents and caregivers to replace their car seats regularly, ensuring their children’s safety. By partnering with Waste Management, Target is demonstrating its commitment to reducing environmental impact while making it more accessible for families to purchase quality car seats.
Walmart trade-in events
Walmart once offered car seat trade-in events. It’s a pity that this retailer giant stopped the event in 2020.
Traditionally, Walmart has held their car seat trade-in events annually in September during National Baby Safety Month or in February during National Child Passenger Safety Month. Customers can bring expired or damaged car seats to any participating Walmart store during the event time frame and receive a $30 Walmart gift card in exchange, which can be applied toward the purchase of a new car seat, booster seat, or other select baby gear.
Upon that time, Walmart’s trade-in event is limited to two car seats per household, and the gift card can only be used for car seats, booster seats, and baby gear, though it is not limited to a particular brand. Walmart has partnered with TerraCycle, a company specializing in recycling hard-to-recycle waste, to ensure that the collected car seats are properly recycled.
Moreover, unlike Target, Walmart offers a car seat recycling program year-round. And now, it’s not available.
Can you sell expired car seats?
If you mean participating in car seat trade-in events and selling that expired car seat to Target, it’s okay. In this way, you’ll get a 20% off coupon code that can be used on purchasing a new car seat.
But it’s not recommended to sell expired car seats to another parent who wants a budget car seat. As we know, car seats that are expired are not safe to use for optimal protection in the event of a crash.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends against using expired car seats, as the technology used in car seats changes and improves over time, while wear and tear can weaken a car seat’s structure.
Expired car seats are considered unsafe because they may not protect children in the event of a crash. Car seats undergo a series of safety tests and are only evaluated by regulatory agencies if they conform to specific safety standards. The safety standards for car seats change over time, and as a result, existing car seats that were once deemed safe may not meet current safety standards. Over time, materials can deteriorate or become brittle, harming the car seat’s ability to protect children in the event of a crash.
Moreover, it is illegal to sell an expired car seat in the United States, as some states consider it a safety hazard. Many states have laws that prohibit the sale of expired car seats. While the laws vary from state to state, many try to regulate the sale, resale, or reuse of expired seats. Some states mandate the disposal of old car seats in landfills.
It is best to dispose of expired or damaged car seats responsibly rather than attempting to sell them or give them to someone else. Retailers like Target and Walmart offer car seat trade-in programs allowing customers to responsibly dispose of old car seats and recycle them. Recycling services like TerraCycle will also take car seats year-round for recycling. It is important to check your state’s regulation and requirements for the disposal of old car seats, to ensure that all safety and environmental protocols are followed.
Does Target take expired car seats?
Yes, expired car seats are acceptable to exchange for a 20% discount code in Target trade-in events. Target partners with Waste Management to disassemble expired, used, or old car seats and sort the materials for recycling.
The goal of the program is to encourage the responsible disposal of old, expired or damaged car seats, and to promote sustainability through recycling. Even if a car seat has expired, it can still be useful as Target will participate in their recycling program for car seats.
Additionally, trading in an expired car seat during the event is an excellent opportunity for customers to receive a discount on a new car seat or select baby gear. By exchanging an old, expired car seat, customers can ensure the safety of their child and receive a financial incentive for their recycling efforts.
There is no limit on how many car seats can be brought to participate in the trade-in event, but finally you’ll get one code per one Circle account. The code can be redeemed twice within the effective time.
If there is no nearby Target store participating in these trade-in events -that means you can’t take a used or expired car seat to exchange a coupon code, or you live in a community with no Target store. The second recommended way would be recycling, which is also one of the popular methods for disposing of an expired car seat.
Recycling used or expired car seats is one of the most eco-friendly options and is becoming more widespread as communities expand their recycling programs. This can be done through local recycling facilities. Some facilities may require breaking down the seat to its individual parts; this usually involves removing the padding, fabric covers, and metal clasps.
However, not all recycling centers accept this as it poses a safety concern. Before taking the used or old car seat for recycling, it is essential to confirm that the local recycling center accepts car seats.
Here are some steps to take when recycling expired car seats:
- Remove all fabric from the car seat: Before recycling the car seat, remove all the fabric as it is not recyclable. Plastic and metal are the components that go into the recycling stream. Check the car seat manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that you are handling the seat correctly.
- Find a recycling center: Check with your local waste disposal or recycling center to see if they accept car seats for recycling. Some communities have curbside recycling programs, while others have specific drop-off locations.
- Use car seat recycling programs: Some retailers like Target and Walmart offer car seat recycling programs. Check if these programs are available in your local area.
- Research online: There are several online resources that can help you find car seat recycling programs near you. TerraCycle is one such program that offers nationwide recycling of car seats. Some recycling programs may require a fee, but it is a small price to pay for ensuring responsible disposal.
By recycling expired car seats, you can help reduce the impact of waste on the environment and ensure that car seats do not contribute to landfills or other waste disposal areas. It is essential to ensure that all materials are disposed of safely and responsibly and that children remain safe on the road with updated and safe car seats.
Where to recycle
The process of recycling expired car seats varies depending on the locality, and it’s recommended to check with the local municipality or recycling program first. However, here are some common places where one can recycle expired car seats:
Retailers: Some retailers like Target, Walmart, and Buybuy Baby, hold car seat trade-in events annually, where you return an old car seat and get a discount on a new one or some baby items. The returned seats are then recycled properly.
Recycling centers: Many cities and municipalities have recycling centers that accept car seats, but it’s essential to check with them first whether they take car seats and what their rules are for recycling.
Non-profit organizations: Some non-profit organizations, like Goodwill, accept car seats, but it’s important to review their policies first, specifically around expired car seats, as some may not accept them.
Local waste management: Waste management companies often work with recycling centers to accept items, which may include expired car seats.
Private recycling companies: Private recycling companies, such as TerraCycle, specialize in the recycling and repurposing of difficult-to-recycle items, including expired car seats.
It is crucial to ensure that the car seat is no longer usable before recycling it, as old and expired car seats cannot be donated or sold. It’s important to review the policies of the organization before deciding to recycle, to ensure that they can accept expired car seats. Through responsible disposal, expired car seats can be repurposed and used to make new products, reducing the environmental impact of waste.
Donating an expired car seat is another way to dispose of it in an eco-friendly and socially-conscious manner. Some non-profit organizations accept used car seats that are not expired or have not been in a car accident. The good thing about this method of old car seat disposal is that it helps families who cannot afford to buy a new car seat.
If you find your car seat just passed the expiry date, is it possible to donate it and where to donate expired car seats? If this is your case, you’d better donate it to a child passenger safety technician, who can use an expired car seat for demonstration during the training.
However, before donating, it is essential to ensure that the system has not expired and that the organization or person accepting the donation follows specific guidelines.
The most common method of disposing of an expired car seat is to toss it in the trash. However, this method should be avoided whenever possible as car seats end up in the landfill and take years to decompose. If an expired car seat goes directly into the landfill, it takes up space and does not break down easily. Before throwing the car seat away, cut off the straps and remove any pads or fabric, so that no one else can use the seat after seeing it in the dumpster.
This would be my last option to deal with an expired car seat. But if you don’t catch up with the next Target car seat trade-in event and don’t want to store the car seat while you can’t find a recycling center and don’t plan to donate the expired car seat, trashing it might be the fastest and most direct way.
How about old car seats? Not 100% equal to expired car seats
Old car seats can refer to car seats that have been used for a long time or car seats that were manufactured a long time ago. In either case, old car seats may not meet current safety standards and may not provide the same level of protection as newer car seats.
Car seats, like any other product, can experience wear and tear over time, which can compromise their safety features. The materials used in old car seats may also have deteriorated, making them less effective in protecting children in the event of a crash.
It is recommended to check the expiration date of your car seat and replace it if it is past its expiration date or if it has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. Most car seats have an expiration date from six to ten years from the date of manufacture.
In summary, old car seats may not provide the same level of protection as newer models and may not meet current safety standards. It is important to regularly check and replace car seats to ensure the safety of children in vehicles.
What to do with old car seats?
If you have an old car seat that you are unsure about, you have a few options.
- Check the expiration date: Look for the date of manufacture on your car seat and check its expiration date. If the car seat has exceeded its expiration date, it may be time to replace it with a new one.
- Check for recalls: Look up your car seat’s model number and check for any recalls. If there is a recall, contact the manufacturer for instructions on how to proceed.
- Donate or recycle: If your car seat is still within its expiration date and has not been recalled, you may be able to donate it to a charity or organization that accepts used car seats. Some cities also offer recycling programs for car seats.
- Replace: If you are unsure about the safety of your old car seat, it might be best to replace it with a new one. Look for a car seat that meets your child’s needs and complies with all current safety standards.
Remember, a car seat is one of the most important safety items you can purchase for your child, and it is always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to their safety.
Can you reuse the old car seats?
Whether or not you should reuse an old car seat depends on several factors. If the car seat is still within its expiration date, has not been involved in a moderate to severe crash, and has not been recalled, it may be safe to reuse depending on its condition.
There are several conditions that should be met to ensure that it is safe for use. These include:
It hasn’t expired. Car seats have an expiration date, usually around six to ten years from the date of manufacture. Do not use a car seat that has expired. Check the sticker at the bottom or on the back of the car seat to find the expiration date of the car seat. If the exact expiry date is not imprinted on that sticker, calculate to get it.
It hasn’t been recalled. Look up the model number and check for any recalls on NHTSA. If there is a recall, contact the manufacturer for instructions on how to proceed.
It hasn’t been in an accident. Do not use a car seat that has been involved in a moderate to severe crash. A car seat that has been in any type of vehicle accident may not be safe to use.
It’s still in good condition. Inspect the car seat for damage to ensure that it is still safe to use. Look for any cracks or breaks in the plastic, any fraying of the straps, or any missing parts.
It’s clean. You don’t want your second (or third, fourth, etc.) child to have to use a dirty car seat. If you want to reuse the seat, give it a good scrub down. Be sure to follow the cleaning instructions in your car seat manual. This is especially important if it’s been packed or stored away for a bit.
It fits your child’s size. When reusing a car seat, you should consider if it meets your child’s current needs. Children grow and their needs change as they get older, so a car seat that worked well for a newborn may not be appropriate for an older child.
Reuse of old car seats is generally not recommended unless the car seat is still in good condition, has not expired, has not been recalled, and was not involved in a moderate to severe crash. If any of these conditions are not met, it is best to err on the side of caution and purchase a new car seat.
Before reusing it for another child, check for wear and tear on the car seat, including cracks, tears or damage to the straps and buckles, and ensure that all parts and pieces are still intact and in good working order. The materials used in old car seats may have deteriorated over time, making them less effective at protecting children in the event of a crash. If you’re unsure, you could take your car seat to a certified technician to have it inspected.
Can you donate car seats to Goodwill?
Donating car seats to organizations like Goodwill may be possible, however, it’s important to check the organization’s policy on accepting car seats. Some may not accept used car seats due to safety concerns or liability issues.
If you’re considering donating a car seat, make sure it is still within its expiration date and has not been involved in a moderate to severe crash. It should also be in good condition with no cracks or damage to the plastic, and all parts and pieces should be intact.
It’s also a good idea to thoroughly clean the car seat before donating it. Wipe down all surfaces with a damp cloth and mild detergent and allow it to air dry completely. If the car seat cover is removable, wash it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Before donating the car seat to Goodwill or any other organization, check their donation guidelines to make sure they accept car seats and if they have specific requirements for donating them. Some organizations may require that the car seat has not expired, has not been recalled, and is in like-new condition.
In summary, donating car seats to organizations like Goodwill may be possible, but it’s important to check the organization’s guidelines and make sure that the car seat is in good condition and meets any specific requirements.
Walmart car seat recycle 2022?
Walmart does offer a car seat recycling program, usually during the month of September each year. During this program, customers are able to trade in their old or expired car seats to any Walmart store location in exchange for a $30 Walmart gift card. The old car seats are then recycled through Waste Management.
It’s a pity that this program is subject to change each year and 2022 has not been officially launched.
In any case, if you are looking to recycle an old car seat, it’s always best to check with the specific retailer or recycling center to determine if they have a program or guidelines in place for car seat recycling.
Donate car seats Salvation Army?
It’s possible to donate car seats to organizations like the Salvation Army, but it’s important to check with the organization first to ensure that they accept used car seats. Some organizations may have policies that do not allow the acceptance of used car seats due to safety concerns or liability issues.
If the Salvation Army or another organization does accept car seat donations, it’s important to ensure that the car seat is still within its expiration date and has not been involved in a moderate to severe crash. It should also be in good condition with no cracks or damage to the plastic, and all parts and pieces should be intact.
Before donating the car seat, it’s a good idea to thoroughly clean it. Wipe down all surfaces with a damp cloth and mild detergent and allow it to air dry completely. If the car seat cover is removable, wash it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
It’s also a good idea to check the organization’s donation guidelines to make sure they accept car seats and if they have specific requirements for donating them.
In summary, it’s possible to donate car seats to organizations like the Salvation Army, but it’s important to check with the organization first and ensure that the car seat meets their donation guidelines and safety requirements.
Why do car seats expire?
Car seats expire for a number of reasons related to safety and effectiveness. Some of the reasons include:
Wear and Tear: Over time, the materials used in a car seat may deteriorate, which can reduce its effectiveness in protecting children in the event of a crash. Plastic may become brittle, straps may fray or rub against metal parts and padding may wear improperly.
Advances in Technology: Car seat technology evolves rapidly, and new features and standards are developed to increase safety. Older seats may not have the latest safety features, which could make them less effective in protecting children.
Changes in Regulations: Government regulations for car seat safety are updated periodically, and they may become more stringent over time. Car seats are required to meet the current safety standards, and as regulations become more comprehensive, older car seats may no longer meet those standards.
Proper Use: Car seats often come with instructions about how to install and use the seat safely. Over time, car seats may become lost or damaged, which could make them more difficult to use safely.
In summary, car seats have expiration dates to ensure that they are still effective and safe to use. As materials deteriorate, technology evolves, and regulations change, replacing old car seats makes sense to ensure the continued safety of children.