How to dispose of your expired car seat

Expired car seats can be a hot topic in the parenting world, but no matter how you feel about car seat expiration dates, there will come a time when the car seat your child is currently using will be expired, meaning you can no longer sell it online, via Craigslist or at a consignment store. So, what exactly are you supposed to do with your expired car seat?


The Great Trade-In Event

Once a year, Babies "R" Us locations all across the country have an in-store event where you can bring in your expired car seats or other baby products that you may have safety concerns about, trading them in for a huge discount on new items to replace them. The Great Trade-In Event generally happens near the beginning of the year and is a quick and easy way to benefit from that expired car seat taking up room in your basement.

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Use your expired car seat to make a difference in the world with the BabyEarthRENEW program. Although you pay for the shipping to get your expired car seat to their facility, it's well worth the cost — BabyEarth takes apart each seat and sends the materials to developing countries, who can use the straps, buckles and other pieces for new purposes. What they can't pass on, they send to certified recycling centers. BabyEarth also accepts other broken-down baby gear, such as highchairs and bouncers.


Local children's stores and recycling centers

If neither of these are an option for you, the next step is to get on the phone to your local children's stores — consignment stores in your area, in particular, will often offer a weekend during the year when you can bring in your expired car seat, charging you a small donation that goes to a local charity for them to dispose of it properly. Most recycling centers will also take expired car seats as well. They often have requirements about how the car seat should arrive (straps and buckles removed, for example) and may charge you a small fee (less than $10) for the service.

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Throw it away... safely

The last resort, when it comes to disposing of an expired car seat, is to simply throw it away. But, be sure to take some precautions before setting your expired car seat out at the curb with your weekly garbage pick-up. Cut the straps on the seat or remove them all together to insure that nobody will snag it from outside and take it home to use. Even if you take it to your local garbage center yourself, be sure to make it unusable, so that another family isn't tempted to use what probably still looks like a perfectly functioning car seat for their child.

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Comments on "Past its prime: What to do with an expired car seat"

robyn February 26, 2014 | 12:19 AM

the sad thing here can be -- I bought a Britax car seat for 259.00 when my neice was expecting , sadly she lost the baby . I put it in my basement IN THE UNOPENED BOX for a few years and then gave it to another family member who was expecting only to be told that it would Expire 6 months after the baby was born.... It wasnt even used so they DID use it until the baby outgrew it 2 years later with no safety issues -- I believe it is a way for car seat makers to make more money ...

lisa February 03, 2014 | 7:16 AM

i have a expired car seat when is the thing at babies r us so I can take this car seat in or how do I get ride of it

sasha bodnar January 15, 2014 | 1:02 PM

@isobel i work at babies r us so to answer your question, YES!! :) if its broken, if it was accident-ed, anything really we will take it because we destroy them and send them off to get recycled(will not be made in other car seats tho, do not worry)

Isobel January 13, 2014 | 12:34 PM

What I'd like to do is offer my expired car seat on freecycle for someone else to take in to Babies R Us for their trade. My question is: do you know if Babies R Us takes car seats where the straps have been cut? I'd like to do that first, as a way of ensuring that the person I give it to doesn't end up using it.

Dawn July 11, 2013 | 7:59 PM

I am thrilled to see there is a recycling option for my car seat - so much better than it ending up in a landfill! Thanks so much for sharing this option!!

Alexa April 14, 2013 | 9:13 AM

This is a really great article! I am about to ship my expired infant seat to Baby EarthRenew! Thanks!

Amy July 24, 2012 | 12:07 PM

When my carseat expires, I'm going to throw it away. I don't want it accidentally being purchased by someone at a used store or something. Carseats are the one thing that I was very particular about being "new" when I had my baby girl. Safety should always come first.

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