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How to donate used car seats

Updated November 21, 2016

Car seats are an essential part of motor vehicle safety for children. According to the website Edmunds.com, nearly 1,800 children die in motor vehicle crashes every year, and crashes result in more than 274,000 child injuries. As children grow, it is necessary to install new car seats to accommodate them, leaving many parents wondering what to do with the old car seats. Donating car seats provides them to children in need as well as a tax deduction.

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  1. Determine if the charity organisation to which you wish to donate accepts used car seats. Many do not due to issues of safety recalls, possible damage or structural flaws. The website SafeKids.org offers information on car seat donations across the country. Once you find a charity that accepts used car seats, find out if they have drop-off locations or will pick them up at your home.

  2. Ensure that the car seat is less than six years old, is in good condition, has not been in an accident, has all the parts in working order, that the harness straps have never been removed to be machine washed and that you have the manufacturer's instructions. If you are missing the instructions, look up the make and model of the car seat online, as many companies have printable PDF instructions.

  3. Check to see if the car seat has ever been recalled. Go to www-odi.nhtsa.dot.gov/recalls/childseat.cfm to look up the car seat make and model. If the car seat has been recalled, you cannot donate it. Ask your recycling company how best to recycle the car seat.

  4. Request a receipt upon donation so that you can claim the car seat as a charitable tax deduction.

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Things You'll Need

  • Internet access
  • Car seat
  • Instruction manual

About the Author

Meredith Jameson

Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.

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