Getting Rid of a Used Car Seat

Car seats are an important item to most families with young children. They become a fixture in the back seat of the family car; a fixture that provided security and safety for one or more children. If you have a few young children that have recently reached the toddler stage, you undoubtedly have one or more car seats stored in the basement or in the garage. What can you do with these used seats? It seems a shame to simply discard what can be an expensive necessity for a young child. Surely, it seems, some young family could use them. The fact is, however, you really have only three choices available to you: give them away, throw them away, or use them for another purpose.

Giving Away Your Car Seat

Giving away a car seat seems to be such an easy task, but it is not as straightforward as you would initially imagine. Most consignment stores and thrift shops will no longer take them, due to liability concerns. The principal concern is safety. Very few parents would take a car seat from a stranger. There is too much to consider about the seat’s history, materials deterioration, possibilities of recall, and other such concerns.

It’s possible, if you have the seat’s manual and any recall information, that a close friend who knows your lifestyle and for how long you’ve used the car seat, may find the gift tempting. My friend Jenney gave the Britax Roundabout Convertible Car Seat to her sister’s baby as a gift when her girl reached the age of using a booster car seat which I think was a great idea. It helped her sister save much money and the second-hand car seat was recycled.

Discarding a Used Car Seat

Throwing away a used car seat is similar to throwing away a used refrigerator. Certain safety precautions must be taken to ensure that no one is injured once the seat is out of your control. Some municipalities have recycling programs especially for items like car seats. Check with your local government to find out if it is available in your community. Whatever you do, don’t simply take it to the local landfill without disabling it thoroughly.

Remove the car seat padding and cushions and discard separately with the regular trash. Remove the straps and belts. Cut them up so they cannot be used again for any reason. It may be overkill, but I actually sawed the seat itself in half to prevent its use for any other purpose. Don’t destroy the seat by hammering it into pieces. The sharp plastic shards can injure someone.

Reuse the Seat for another Purpose

I always get a kick out of the term repurpose. It sounds so scientific for simply using something for a purpose other than the one for which it was designed. It’s hard to imagine what else a used car seat could be used for, but I have a clever friend who has disabled her old car seat and uses it as a seat for stuffed animals in the nursery. She removed the straps, and added some decals. It is now the proud throne on which her young son’s stuffed panda bear is seated. I’ll admit that I’m not clever enough to think of many ways to repurpose a baby car seat, but I do admire my friend’s innovative approach. Perhaps you will come up with a clever idea of a way to repurpose your old car seat.

This is a guest post written by Amy Brown. Amy is an editor of Livesnet, a site offering baby gear reviews and tips on problems parents encounter in daily life. She’s surely willing to share her own experience and tips. Please visit Livesnet and read her recent review on Britax Frontier 85 Car Seat.

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  1. Great post! Love the tips about the car seat.. It helps the environment to just reuse it for something else..