Oh, Target. (Tar-jay, as some grateful parents gushingly refer to their favorite bulls-eyed retail shop.) Is there anything you can’t do for us busy, super tired, and super stressed out parents? You offer us everything from “Dollar Bins” filled with school supplies to your own line of quality diapers, wipes, and formulas. We especially love shopping and then lunching at your on-site cafe. (More coffee, please! And a slice of pizza.)
So, it’s no surprise that once again, you’re offering your yearly Car-Seat Trade-In event, as a means of saving money, planet Earth, and helping parents better understand the importance of car seat safety.
Target Car Seat Trade-In Spring 2019 Details
Here’s how it works: Target will accept and recycle all types of car seats, including infant seats, convertible seats, car seat bases, harness or booster car seats and car seats that are expired or damaged. That means, if your kid’s car seat is covered in Cheerios dust and pureed baby food, you can, and should, still bring it in. Why? Materials from the old car seats will be recycled by Target’s partner, Waste Management. Car seat drop-off boxes will usually be found near the Guest Services area of the participating Target store near you.
Those who trade in their car seat will receive a coupon for 20% off the purchase of a brand-new car seat or baby gear, but you must use this coupon by May 11, 2019.
Good to know: car seats must be brought, in person, to a participating Target store. However, all purchases of a new car seat, or other baby items, can be in-store or online at Target.com.
As Today.com clarifies: “Guests who trade in their old car seats will receive a 20-percent-off coupon toward a new car seat, car seat base, travel system, stroller, or select baby home gear, such as play yards, high chairs, swings, rockers and bouncers.”
Wait...car seats expire?
This Target event is also a fantastic reminder for parents that just like milk, car seats expire—and it’s not something to take lightly. Think twice before you just store away a car seat in the garage to eventually use again...someday….with another kid. When it comes to kids and car seats, it’s always safety first!
According to the reference site Car Seats for the Littles, (CSFTL) overseen by certified Child Passenger Safety Technicians, all car seats and boosters have different lifespans, usually anywhere from 4-12 years from when they were manufactured. To find out when your seat expires, take a look at the seat itself—it usually says on a side or bottom product sticker. (Or it’s sometimes stamped into the car seat’s side or bottom by the manufacturer.) The car seat’s usable lifespan is also often listed in the manual. If your car seat is missing this information, especially if you’re not sure how old the seat is, it’s best to discontinue its use.
Why exactly do car seats expire?
Simple: for quite a few reasons. For starters, the materials just break down over time from basic wear and tear, especially the car seat’s plastic shell, which can be a real safety hazard for a baby and/or toddler. The plastic can break apart or even crack; so basic wear and tear over time may prevent a car seat from working properly once the expiration date has passed. In fact, according to CSFTL’s site, the metal inside a car seat can even rust!
Also, times are a’changin’, and there is so much research devoted to child safety, especially in car seats. Over time, car seat manufacturers explore the newest, and safest, ways to protect your children. An old car may not have half the safety features as a brand new model that has, for example, side impact protection.
It’s also possible that a particular car seat has been recalled by the brand for a safety issue—and, chances are, using a recalled car seat to transport your cutie is a risk you’d rather not take!
What do I do with my expired seat or booster?
Simple: don’t use it! Toss it, or donate it to a local CPST to use for training and demonstration only. Or reuse it, by maybe taking off the cushioned padding and giving the frame to a child to use as a swing for their dolls or something. Just do NOT install it in your car, and if you do just toss it, consider writing on it somewhere (or stick a note on it) stating: EXPIRED! DO NOT USE! That way, another parent who may find it somewhere will know this car seat is old and no longer meets the safety standards of today.
A good rule of thumb when it comes to car seats in general: be sure your car seat is the right size for your child—double check the seat height and weight recommendation. If your child is, for example, 32 lbs, you probably shouldn’t be driving them around in a seat best for a child no more than 25 lbs.
Also, if you’re a parent or drive kids around, familiarize yourself with the current Car Seat Safety recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics. (In fact, Bookmark that page in your Browser right now, and use it as a reference.)
Now, with all this in mind, there’s no time like the immediate to check the expiration on your child’s car seat—and if the time is coming up, or has passed, bring it down to Target for a trade-in. Out with the old, in with the new. Safe travels!
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