Of all the baby gear you accumulate when you had a kid, the car seat might be the most important. After all, no one from the hospital comes to your house to make sure your crib is properly built before baby arrives. But you can be sure that someone will make sure you have a properly installed car seat properly before you leave the hospital. You'll need one — or rather, several — for the first few years of your little one's life. But before you know it, they'll grow out of it. If you're wondering how to properly get rid of a car seat now that your has moved on to the next model, there are a couple of different things you can do.
Ideally, you would bring your used seat to a car seat recycling cente.r Unfortunately, according to Recycle Your Car Seat there aren't many local recycling programs where you can just drop off your seat — less than half of U.S. states have them. If you can't find one in your area, you may have to do a bit more of the legwork yourself.
The first step, according to Consumer Reports, is to strip down your carseat as much as you possibly can. This means cutting off the straps, removing any fabric or padding, and unscrewing any removable metal pieces. After doing so, you can recycle as much of that as you can through your local sanitation department, and then discard the rest. In addition to making it easier to recycle, this also prevents someone from snagging the carseat and reusing it after it's expired and is no longer safe.
You can also keep an eye out for stores hosting car seat trade-in events, where you get a coupon in exchange for your recycled seat. The Babies R Us website noted that if you drop off a car seat during one of its trade-in events, the staff will take care of properly disposing it for you. You can also take advantage of these kinds of events for other baby items that might be outdated or unsafe (or simply taking up way too much storage space in your home), like high chairs, strollers, cribs, and play yards. Target also offers a trade-in discount, but it seems to be limited to car seats only.