A car seat is the first purchase you make to keep your little one safe, and it’s one of the most important, too. Few other items that you buy for a baby hold the same lifesaving potential. While their bulk and hefty price tags may give the impression that car seats are a one-time purchase, this unfortunately isn’t the case.
Using an expired car seat, one that has been involved in a crash, or one that no longer fits your child properly can render them useless — and most kids go through a series of seats and boosters before they can sit safely without one.
That’s why most seasoned parents know about the semiannual Target car seat trade-in — it’s a great opportunity to get rid of garage clutter, grab a deal, and keep your kids safe.
From April 18-30, 2022, Target customers may bring any car seat, booster, or base — including ones that have expired, been in a crash, or been damaged, as the gear will be recycled rather than re-used.
Look for the drop-off box inside your local store. After you’ve placed your car seat inside, open up the Target Circle app on your phone and scan the code on the outside of the drop box. This will automatically generate a 20% coupon for you in the app. The coupon is good through May 14, 2022, and can be used to purchase a new car seat, stroller, crib, or other — pricey! — baby gear, so if you’ve been waiting for the right moment to level up, this might be the time.
It’s important to note the expiration date on the seat you are using. Different models of car seats are good for different amounts of time, so check the “Don’t use after” date stamped on the bottom of yours.
And regardless of how new a car seat is, it should be replaced after basically any sort of significant crash. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, you should replace a seat “following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers.” Their website has a list of criteria that should all be met in order to consider a crash minor, however, some families choose to get a new seat after any crash, just to be on the safe side.
Also be sure to check that your kid is still within the height and weight requirements for their current seat. Car seats are only effective if you’re using them correctly, and if your kid is too big for their seat, it can actually add danger in the event of a collision.
Target’s website claims that “materials from the old car seats are recycled by Target’s partner, Waste Management.” The company says that since 2016 they have recycled 1.7 million carseats, totaling 25.4 million pounds of car seat material, making the trade-in a win both for parents and the environment.
Honestly, the only downside is that when you do remove that car seat, you’d better have a vacuum on hand to suction away the insane amount of Goldfish and Triscuits and Cheerios behind it.