STOP! Before you throw out that car seat, please read the below.
If your child has just outgrown his or her car seat or if you have a car seat collecting dust in your garage or attic, consider the following options before filling our already jam-packed landfills.
1. Reuse - only an option if the car seat is not damaged and has not expired.
2. Sell, trade, or give away - only an option if the car seat is not damaged and has not expired.
3. Recycle - an option if the car seat is damaged or has expired.
Before we show you ways to recycle your car seat, here are some car seat guidelines:
Q: What is the Texas law for child passenger safety?
A: All children younger than 8 years old, unless taller than 4’9”, are required to be in the appropriate child safety seat system wherever they ride in a passenger vehicle. The safety seat system MUST be installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Q: Are there any car seat requirements and guidelines?
A: Yes. Car seat guidelines/booster seat requirements are usually based on your child’s weight and approximate age. Remember, it’s safest for your child to ride rear-facing until at least 2 years of age. Read more about Child Passenger Safety Information on the Texas Department of Public Safety website.
- Rear-Facing Seats (Infant car seats) - Birth to 35+ pounds and 2+ years old
- Forward-facing Seats - 2+ years old and 35+ pounds up to the upper height or weight limit (40 – 80+ pounds) of the harnesses (usually 4+ years old).
- Booster Seats - 4+ years old and 40+ pounds and behavior maturity. MUST have a lap/shoulder belt to use a booster seat.
- Adult Safety Belt - Once children outgrow their booster seat (usually at 10 – 12 years old) they can use the adult lap/shoulder safety belt if it fits them properly.
Q: When is it time to change to a new car seat?
A: It’s time for a new car seat when:
- Your child’s height/weight is not within the manufacturer’s recommended limits for the car seat
- The car seat has met or exceeded the expiration date noted on the manufacturer’s label
- The car seat was in a vehicle involved in an accident
- The manufacturer’s label is missing. This shows the name of the manufacturer, the date the item was made and model number—needed for safety recalls!
Q: Do car seats expire?
A: Yes, car seats do expire. You can check your car seat owner’s manual or manufacturer’s label to find the expiration date. Expiration dates may vary among car seat models and manufacturers.
Q: Can I reuse my child’s car seat for another child?
A: You can reuse your child’s car seat for another child only if the car seat is not damaged and has not expired.
Q: Can I sell my car seat?
A: You can sell your child’s car seat only if the car seat is not damaged and has not expired.
Q: Can car seats by recycled and if so where?
A: Yes. As we were told, none of the local waste management and recycling programs recycle baby gear specifically. However, there are a few places in Austin you can take your car seat to, that recycle car seats and other items. You may also take your car seat apart and recycle it yourself. Please note: The metal and plastic parts are recyclable, Styrofoam is not.
Babies“R”Us used to have trade-in events where you could trade in any qualifying item at any Babies“R”Us store, regardless of where you purchased it (no receipts required).
We’ve reached out to them, especially with regards to their current bankruptcy situation, and we were told that there are no trade-in events planned for the near future, but to check back in a few months.
They've had trade-in events in the past for:
- Car seats
- Travel systems
- High chairs
- Play yards
- Infant swings
- Toddler/twin beds
Plus: You will receive 25% off any new gear or furniture.
Target launched their Car Seat Trade-in Program with two events this year. They were very popular so we assume it’ll be continued.
Plus: You will receive a 20% off coupon, good for the purchase of a new car seat, including booster seats, car seat bases and travel systems.
BabyEarth in Round Rock
BabyEarth has launched BabyEarth RENEW, a year-round baby gear recycling program. They’ll make sure everything is properly disassembled and all usable parts are sent to accredited recycling centers.
For example, fabrics will be shipped to developing countries, and metal, plastic and foam will be used for construction projects. If the item is in excellent condition and not expired, it will be donated to another family who needs it.
- Car Seats
- High Chairs
- Diaper Bags
Plus: You will receive a $5 off coupon for your recycled item.