How to Dispose Of Car Seat?

Using child safety seats is one helpful way to keep kids protected in vehicles while on rides. Doing so would, obviously, keep children from injuries and even death during collisions. But the car seats not in use for long can be a health hazard for kids and adults too. So, you must learn how to dispose of car seats when no longer in use.

Whether installed by the car owner or integrated by the auto manufacturer as a car part or accessory, you will find your little ones outgrowing these booster seats after a while. Again, such a utility may exceed its expiration date or get involved in an accident, rendering it unusable.

You can either donate, recycle, or throw away old car seats properly for the waste management services to handle them. This piece would reveal some helpful tips to help free the space within your home and handle the disposal of your old child’s seat appropriately.

How to Dispose Of Car Seats Properly 

Are you at a loss for better options for getting rid of your abused, overused or unused-for-long car seats? Considering this bulky plastic item, it would be best to do away with car seats and save the environment from harm while keeping kids safe. 

Don’t just keep them lying around in your garage; check out the ways of disposing of booster seats.

car seat recycle 2021

Donating Car Seats

There are some conditions where the car seats are reusable, so, you can decide to donate them. If your booster seat hasn’t expired and not been involved in an accident before now, it appears to be in good condition for use.

Kindly look through the body of the child seat or go through the manufacturer’s manual to confirm its expiration date. If this item is yet to expire, hasn’t been in a crash, and has all its buckles and straps working, you can decide to give it off to a family member or friend.

For preferable options, you can search for where to donate car seats; drop it at any donation center or nonprofit organization that accepts such, and they would give it off to someone in need. Please note if you didn’t find the expiry date printed on it, it would be best to avoid donating expired products.

Recycling Car Seats

The safest means of getting rid of old or outgrown car seats is to go green and get them recycled. You should check out centers close to you; a quick search online can help you find a suitable option.

Again, some municipalities operate such car seat recycling programs that would willingly accept car seats. Since this piece comes out as a tough molded plastic, recycling may seem challenging.

Hence, you would find some programs accepting seats made from certain plastic types. A unique approach is calling the recycling center and determining if they would accept your booster seat model and plastic type.

You can always get these details from the seat’s body, as there are embossed numbers that refer to the composition. Some recycling plants would kindly request that you break down the car seats before bringing them in, and you would need to disassemble this item.

First off, remove the fabrics, straps, paddings, and buckles with the help of a utility knife. You can move further to unscrew pieces using screwdrivers and prying out glued materials. You can dump the fabrics and straps in the trash and take the plastic components to the recycling center.

Drop them Off at Your Retailers.

Some retail stores accept old car seats, providing opportunities for folks to drop off their unwanted car seats; this is one effective way to dispose of car seats in California and other parts of the United States. 

The good news is that you can receive some rewards as cash or gift cards from the store by doing so. A popular option is the yearly Walmart and Target car seat recycling program. 

Thus, you shoppers can engage in the Target car seat recycle for 2021 or Walmart’s program and get their car seats off in the trade-in event.  

Throw Them Away

In an event where the car seat is damaged due to an accident or has gone past its expiration date, you can also decide to throw it away. So, what is the right way to dump booster seats since they appear non-reusable?

Kindly get an inscription on the seat that tells folks not to use these seats; a simple “do not use” or a “not usable” write-up on the car seat would do. Then, you can get the car seat placed alongside your other trash in the dumpster. The waste services would pick it up and handle it appropriately.

How to Dispose Of Car Seat


What can one do with expired car seats?

Recycling expired car seats is the best option for getting rid of such items, as this is environmentally friendly and would further keep kids safe. So, contact the recycling center near you and take the old booster seat to them.

Kindly note that expired car seats and not fit for use, and you should avoid donating such for use. You may notice the parts breaking down and wearing out with time, which is unsafe for kids.

What can I do with unneeded car seats?

If you possess an undesirable car seat at home, you can consider donating this item to a friend of any member of your family if they are still in good shape and far from their expiry date. Alternatively, you can drop it off at a donation center or a nonprofit institute.

It would help if you also learned how to dispose of a car seat after an accident or when it exceeds its expiration date. Since this item would be unusable in such conditions, kindly drop them off at the recycling center or dispose of them after indicating that they are in terrible shape—clearly mark “do not use” or “unsafe.”

Can I donate a car seat to charity?

You can always donate your old car seats to family and friends. You can send them to some charity organizations. Kindly search for donation centers around your area that will accept such items and drop them off. 

These nonprofit organizations can use these booster seats to teach new parents how to keep their children safe while driving or give them out to folks who need them. But, ensure that these car seats are free from accidents and are not expired.

Are the use of expired car seat illegal?

Within the United States, there are no existing regulations that govern the use of car seats that exceed their expiration date. However, expirations dates are made known for a reason, as such items can degrade over time.

Thus, using expired booster seats poses significant risks to the child’s safety and does not offer protection in a crash.

Do car seats expire?

Booster seats often come with expiration dates inscribed on the seats or in the manufacturer’s manual. If you can’t find the use-by date on your child’s car seat, see them as non-usable after six years of use.

The seats degrade, wear out, and break within such a period, which appears unsafe for kids.

Is Walmart taking car seats this year?

There is a Walmart car seat trade for 2021, which allows folks to engage in the car seat trade-in event in return for cash gifts and coupons. So, instead of leaving your child’s booster seats lying around your garage, it would be best to engage in this program at Walmart to get rid of them.

However, there are speculations that this year’s program ended some months back, on September 21, 2021. Not to worry, you can look out for the Walmart car seat recycle 2022 program and engage in it.

How many years should you keep a car seat?

The expiration date of car seats as provided by manufacturers ranges between 6-10 years. This car safety item for kids expires for various reasons, such as a change in regulations, wear and tear, limits of manufacturer testing, and other factors.

Once expired, car seats are non-reusable and unfit for donations. Thus, you are left with the option of recycling these expired booster seats or throwing them away.

Can I reuse the car seat for the second baby?

Manufacturers suggest that car seats are not reusable if they exceed their expiration date due to the potentiality of such items being unsuitable for offering a high level of protection for kids. Thus, you can only use your booster seat for the second child if it is not over 5-6 years after the manufacturer’s date.

Final Words

Car seats emerge as one essential safety item for kids during rides but can turn into unneeded cargo after a while. Thus, knowing how to dispose of car seats when you are done with them is crucial.

The easiest option is donating them to friends or family members if they are still in good condition and haven’t reached their “best-before dates.” You can also visit a recycling center to recycle this item. Other effective options are dropping these seats off at some retail stores that conduct car seat trade-in programs or trashing them appropriately.

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Hi there, I am R. Hasan Tito, a mechanic, and owner of this website. My friend and I created this website to share our knowledge, expertise, and experience with our fellow mechanics' community and car users. I am a specialist and certified automotive mechanic (Both Heavy Commercial and Private Cars). I worked as a Mechanic and Mechanic Supervisor for over fifteen years at Global Rebound Automotive companies - Toyota, TATA, BMW, Nissan, TVs, and Others. Now, I enjoy my new role of leading a team of automotive experts (in their respective fields) and publish new content on a regular basis on my website and social media.

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