Parenting

Target's Car Seat Trade-In Event Is Happening Now

(Getty Images)

Earth Day, which is celebrated in 192 countries around the world, is just about here and Target is doing something to honor it, while also helping to keep kids safe.

Partnering with TerraCycle, Target has created a car seat recycling program. Between now and April 30, customers are encouraged to bring old car seats to the store. In return they will receive “a coupon for 20 percent off any car seat purchase in store or at Target.com, good through May 31,” according to KDVR.com.

After receiving positive feedback on a test of the program in 90 stores in September, Target is kicking off its first trade-in program available at most stores across the country.

The program encourages guests to upgrade car seats to the appropriate size for their child to meet safety standards, and Target expects to keep more than 700,000 pounds of car seat materials out of landfills through the partnership.

So why the need to even consider recycling these seats? Every car seat comes with an expiration date, and for a good reason. Most people use theirs every day, and so they get a lot of wear and tear. The hard plastic is exposed to extreme temperature changes, which can weaken the material. Further, newer models inevitably come with newer safety features that meet updated safety regulations. Herald.net elaborated:

Car seats are stamped with an expiration date, typically six to 10 years after manufacture. Safety experts say it’s no gimmick to get you to buy another seat.

“We use them every day, right?” said [Shawneri] Guzman, [the head of Providence Regional Medical Center-sponsored Safe Kids Snohomish County program] who has taken extensive training to be a car seat technician for Safe Kids. “Think about it — if you wore the same pair of jeans every day, the buttons wear down, the material starts to wear away.”

Add temperature extremes a plastic seat experiences sitting in a car year after year, as well as the constant clicking and unclicking of latches and buckles to get a child in and out. “That just wears out over time,” she said.

The safety features of new models also mean the seat you get for your youngest could be vastly improved over the design you had for your oldest.

Guzman pointed to the LATCH and tether system now standard on most car seats as an example. “We saw less head and neck injuries.”

Similarly, repurposed car seats can be dangerous. A car seat might not be expired, but if it’s fitted with replacement straps or parts that weren’t made for that model, the seat might not fit properly in the car.

Car seats are expensive and time-consuming to dismantle and recycle properly. When they are simply thrown away, they end up in a landfill forever. That’s why programs such as the one that Target has launched are so important. So if your child is about ready for the next size up (or you have another baby on the way and don’t think your old seat is still safe), drop off your car seat at your local Target and get your hands on that coupon!