Car seat trade-in programs and pop-up events at national retailers provide awesome opportunities for families to safely and responsibly dispose of used car seats. Curious why it’s so important to recycle your car seat rather than just toss it to the curb? Know how to eliminate waste and keep your kids safe.

Eliminate Waste & Keep Kids Safe


Let’s start with the no-brainer reason to get behind a car seat recycling program: THE EARTH! Car seats are not an optional or nice-to-have baby item. Unlike any other product you purchase for your child, their car seat is the single most important item whose job is to SAVE.THEIR.LIFE. Doing your part to recycle it responsibly helps save the planet and that’s something we can all feel great about.

Now, let’s review two more car seat safety reasons to recycle that may not be as evident.

2. Clear the streets of unsafe seats 

Several things can happen to car seats making them unfit for use. For example:

  • Expired
  • Been in an accident (as per manufacturer guidelines)
  • Cleaned with unapproved products
  • Missing parts, labels, or user manual
  • Integrity compromised in any way, putting another child at risk

By not properly disposing of a used car seat, you may be putting another child’s life in danger. If you’re unable to participate in a local event like the one offered by Target, check to see what your car seat manufacturer offers. For example, for a fee, Clek offers a mail-in car seat recycling program and then credits you this amount towards a future purchase. If you can’t find a recycling program, please don’t just toss your old car seat to the curb without a few quick steps.

  1. Cut the harness straps
  2. Remove all the padding and dispose of it separately (a trash bag is fine)
  3. Grab a permanent marker and write “DO NOT USE” on the front and back of the seat in big bold letters.

Remember, if it’s not safe for your child, it is not safe for any child. 

Head over to our YouTube Channel to see the video for getting rid of expired car seats or damaged car seats.

Getting rid of damaged or expired car seats

3. Time to transition

Car seat safety is a longggggg road and each stop along your child’s journey is important – not to be rushed or skipped! The number one car seat misuse I see is children being in the wrong stage seat. If your child has outgrown their car seat, it’s time to recycle the old one and purchase a new one that’s appropriate for their physical, mental, and developmental needs.

The long road of car seats

Your child simply cannot be safe in their seat if they aren’t in the right one. Because this misuse is so prevalent, we offer virtual consults specifically to help families choose the right car seat. Choosing the right seat is complicated. There are so many things to consider when selecting the right car seat for your child and your family. Check your car seat user manual to know when it’s time to transition. There are specific manufacturer guidelines regarding height, weight, and car seat fit so you know exactly when your child has outgrown their car seat.

4. Pick the right seat from the get-go

The seat that will be the longest lasting for you will be the one that works for you. Our Car Seat Buying Kits are designed to ask you questions that are specific to you. So what works for one person may not work for another. You may even have different seats for your kiddo for each vehicle.  “I wish someone would just tell me what to buy.”  Sound familiar?  Schedule a 1:1 virtual consultation with one of our Nationally Certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians.

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