Did you know that by the end of this year, almost 12 million car seats will have been sold in the United States?

While this may be great news to manufacturers of car seats, it can be bad for the environment as it is estimated that  29.6 million pounds of car seat material will end up in landfills.

Then what to do with an expired car seat? The good news is that responsible parents like you are finding effective ways of recycling car seats. 

Advancements in car seat technology have led to innovative features such as energy-absorbing foam, adjustable headrests, and side-impact protection, enhancing the overall safety of our precious passengers.

But these features are only helpful if the seat hasn’t reached its expiry date. As someone deeply invested in ensuring your child’s safety, seeking reliable and expert advice regarding car seats is essential.

As a mother, I understand the importance of properly disposing of car seats that have exceeded their expiration dates and their pivotal role in protecting our little ones. I can provide valuable insights to navigate the complexities of managing an expired car seat by staying current with the latest research and industry developments.

Get ready to discover essential steps for your expired car seat, state-specific guidelines for disposal, reusing possibilities, and safety risk reviews. This article is your ultimate guide to ensuring your child’s well-being.

By the end of this article, you’ll have the knowledge and confidence to make informed decisions that prioritize their safety.

Top 5 Things To Do With Expired Car Seats

Knowing what to do with an expired car seat can be challenging. However, as someone that has disposed of several car seats, I have some ideas about what you can do. 

Proper Disposal 

Find the appropriate disposal strategy by contacting your local recycling or waste management facility. Some facilities, like Car Seat Recycling, provide dedicated events or programs for the recycling or secure disposal of car seats. To avoid the car seat ending up in a landfill where it might be reused or pose safety issues, don’t just dump it in the trash.

Trade-In Programs 

Many retailers and manufacturers offer trade-in programs where you can exchange your expired car seat for a discount on a new one. These programs help ensure that the expired seat is correctly disposed of while providing an opportunity to save money on a replacement car seat that meets current safety standards.

Donate for Recycling 

Expired car seats are accepted for recycling by some organizations and recycling centers like Caterkids. These organizations dismantle the seats, sort the recyclable parts, and properly dispose of the remaining materials.

Disable and Discard 

To avoid misuse, you must disable the expired car seat if you decide to remove it yourself. Cut the harness straps, remove all adornments and padding, and label the seat expired. This ensures that it cannot be retrieved and used again once discarded.

Reuse the Components 

Don’t throw away the car seat until you’ve checked to see if you can use anything. Take apart the plastic and metal components to see whether there’s anything usable or recyclable. To prevent the unintentional reuse of the parts, you should remove any labels or marks suggesting they can be used in a car seat.

Expired Car Seat Disposal Options in Various American States

Expired Car Seat Disposal Options in Various American States
Expired Car Seat Disposal Options in Various American States

While regulations may vary by state, it’s essential to handle expired car seats across the United States responsibly. While I didn’t have time to identify all specific locations in each state, here are some examples of available car seat recycling options in some of the American states:

State Available Car Seat Recycling Services

California 

California has specific locations and organizations where you can take your expired car seats for proper disposal or recycling. Here are some details for two counties in California: Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and Yolo County Health and Human Services.

Texas 

Car seats can be broken down into parts and taken to the Austin Recycle & Reuse Drop-Off Center in Texas to be recycled along with other metal, plastic, and Styrofoam items. You can find more guidelines on car seats in Texas from Taxdot.gov.

New York

In Erie County, Triad Recycling is an option for recycling expired car seats. They accept car seats for proper disposal and recycling. 

Connecticut

Every town in Connecticut has a recycling point of contact. A full-time employee or a town council member often oversees the recycling programs in different municipalities

Used special needs car seats can be donated to the Weston Volunteer Fire Department.

Washington

Washington State does not offer regular recycling choices specialized to car seats. However, a subscription recycling service named Ridwell in the Seattle region routinely tracks and gathers vehicle seats for recycling events. 

Colorado

Car Seats Colorado provides convenient drop-off locations across the state for the recycling or safe disposal of used car seats.

North Dakota

If you’re looking for places to safely dispose of an old car seat anywhere in the state, contact the North Dakota Department of Health.

Alberta

Re-Matt is a recycling center in Calgary, Alberta, that provides an option to eliminate old vehicle seats. Although they are primarily interested in recycling mattresses, they will also accept car seats.

Illinois

Sharing Connections has 13,000 large facilities that enable them to take large things like furniture and car seats. They accept car safety seats that are less than six years old.

Cradles to Crayons provides basic essentials for home, school, and play for infants to 12-year-olds who are homeless or low-income. They accept baby equipment, particularly strollers and car seats under five years old.

Missouri

Safe Kids in Missouri is a nonprofit whose mission is to protect Missouri’s children. They provide recycling services to make getting rid of old vehicle seats easier.

Ontario

Red Propeller is a resource for recycling used car seats for residents of Toronto, Ontario. Red Propeller offers recycling services for car seats, keeping them out of landfills while ensuring they are correctly disposed of.

Indiana 

RecycleForce, a 501(c)(3) in Indiana, recycles electronics to promote environmental sustainability and employs ex-offenders. RecycleForce recycles car seats at no cost to customers.

North Carolina

Wake County, North Carolina residents can dispose of old car seats through a waste and recycling drop-off program. By looking out nearby disposal and recycling facilities, you can discover where to dispose of your old car seat. 

Arizona

In Arizona, the Network of Auto Repair Professionals (NARPRO) plays a crucial role in coordinating the recycling of used car seats and booster seats. Annually, a group of dedicated volunteers comes together to dismantle the entire structure of the seats.

Nebraska

Nurture Omaha in Nebraska provides a reliable option for getting rid of old car seats by recycling them. By taking advantage of Nurture Omaha’s services, you may prevent your old car seat from contributing to landfill waste and instead have it recycled.

Can you reuse an old car seat?

Avoid buying or selling previously owned car seats because their quality is not guaranteed. However, it might be acceptable to reuse the seat for a member of your family. That being said, when is it good to utilize a previously used car seat again?

✅It hasn’t expired: The expiry date is on your car seat’s label. Avoid using it within a month or two of the expiration date to give yourself time to find a replacement.

✅No accidents have occurred: A car seat’s structural integrity can survive minor impacts. If a moderate to severe crash happened while the seat was in use, experts recommend replacing the seat immediately. After an accident, certain car seat manufacturers insist on a replacement, no matter how slight. Your insurance plan may pay for the replacement cost of a car seat.

✅It’s Clean: You wouldn’t want your second (or third, or fourth) kid to ride around in a filthy car seat, would you? You should clean the seat well before using it again. When cleaning your car seat, refer to the manual for specific instructions.

✅Good Condition: Look for signs of damage, such as missing or broken parts. Examine the seat thoroughly by lifting the cover’s fabric. A seat can be rendered useless with the tiniest scratch.

Are Expired Car Seats Safe?  

Car seats have expiration dates for several reasons, including material deterioration, changes in safety requirements, and general wear and tear. It’s important to understand that an outdated car seat might not provide enough protection in a crash. The car seat could lose its structural integrity and protective capabilities over time.

Manufacturers set expiration dates to guarantee that their products meet safety standards. Labels or engravings on the seat may provide this information.

The safety features and technology included in used car seats may be inadequate compared to newer models. The effectiveness of restraint and impact protection provided by materials like harnesses, straps, and foam cushioning may also degrade over time. The vehicle seat’s general construction, including the frame and base, may degrade, reducing its resistance to forces after a collision.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents stop using a car seat once it has beyond its expiration date. If the car seat doesn’t have a specific expiration date, you shouldn’t use it after six years from the date of manufacture.

Summary

Expired car seats should be disposed of safely to prevent injuries. By following your state’s specific guidelines, you can ensure the safe and responsible disposal of these car seats. Expired car seats pose safety risks and should not be used or resold.

Instead, consider recycling programs or dedicated collection events in your area. By taking these necessary steps, you contribute to a safer environment and protect the well-being of all road users

Author

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren

Keren Simanova

Welcome to my car seat blog! As a mom of 3, I put together with other hard-working moms a highly informative one-stop car seat resource, full with many reviews and buyer guides. I hope you find it invaluable. Thank you for trusting me & my team! - Keren