Car seats are rendered useless all the time. The seat might have expired, been involved in an accident may have been recalled by the manufacturer because of a fault.
So, what should you do if your car seat is no longer fit for use?
One important thing parents should note is that you should never donate a faulty car seats.
The seat is not safe for any child. Some make the assumption that having a faulty car seat is better than none. This is a dangerous mind set and could put someone’s child in grave danger.
Some parents might decide to throw the unusable seats away and they are likely to be picked by dumpster divers or well-meaning pickers. It is therefore a parent’s responsibility to ensure that the seat is rendered completely useless.
The best option available is taking the faulty seat to a recycling center. Search for such a center nearby and donate the seat to them. Some might ask you to disassemble it before taking to them. To do this, remove the harness and the cover as this makes it easier for them to destroy it.
If recycling is not an option, the other one is taking it down as trash. However, there is a possibility someone might take it to resell it or use it and to avoid this, ensure that it is broken down enough that no one can use it.
Do as much damage to the seat as you possibly can. You can even cut it into small pieces or smash it to pieces with anything as long as it is safe for you.
If destroying it with power tools or farm equipment is not an option then scribbling all over the seat with a sharpie with words like “NO LONGER SAFE FOR USE, CRASHED” or “EXPIRED! DO NOT USE” is the best way. Also, do not forget to remove the harness.
Another way of doing it is making the seat as undesirable as possible. You can achieve this by using kitty litter, dog poop or soiled diapers.
You can also poor water on it to ensure it gets rusty before throwing it away. Pouring a spoilt box of milk on the seat can also make it very repellent.
Whichever options you choose, ensure you secure the seat in a black plastic bag so no one can easily tell if it is a car seat. In addition, ensure it is inside the trash bin and not beside it.
How do you recycle your seat?
- Remove all straps and padding.
- Put the straps and padding into the trash.
- Use a sharpie to label the seat with “Do not re-use”
- Take your car seat to a recycling center near you.
How to prepare your car seat for trash collection
- Remove all straps and padding.
- Use a sharpie to to mark the car seat with “Do not re-use”.
- Have the straps and padding in one trash bag, then place the car seat into another trash bag. This will keep someone from reusing your car seat.
Where can you take a usable car seat?
If you are the original owner of the car seat and the seat has never been in a crash, you can resell the car seat to someone who needs it (Other seats can also sometimes be used for training purposes by a CPST)
When passing along a car seat, be sure to:
- provide the original owner’s manual
- provide assurance the seat was never involved in a crash
- Check the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration websiteto verify that the seat does not have a recall.
- For more information, read about how borrow/sell/buy to used car seats here