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How to dispose of old car seats

Updated February 21, 2017

Once a car seat is expired or damaged, it is no longer safe to use. Setting a car seat out for trash pick up is dangerous because someone may see the seat and decide to use it for her child, not realising the car seat is unsafe. Proper disposal of an old car seat is crucial to prevent further use. Destroying the car seat makes it impossible to use, ensuring that no one will be able to try to install it in her car.

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Cut the car seat straps with scissors in several places to ensure they can no longer be used, then remove them completely from the seat.

Remove the car seat cover and any padding underneath the cover. If the car seat cover is in good condition, you may opt to keep it as an extra cover if you have another car seat of the same model. Yse a scissors to cut it into pieces if you do not need the cover.

Break apart the car seat itself using a hammer or sledgehammer. Be sure to break the seat apart in small pieces so it cannot be reassembled and used.

Place all the car seat pieces, including the cut up straps and cover, in a black garbage bag.


Check with your local fire station before destroying the seat yourself. Many fire stations accept old car seats and dispose of them for free. Look into recycling the plastic portion of the car seat; call your recycling company to find out if it accepts old car seats. To be certain no one else will be able to use an old car seat, put out the broken pieces for the trash separately in black trash bags so no one is able to see there is any part of a car seat set out for the trash. Donate the old car seat to a local high school or fire brigade. These organisations use old car seats to teach proper installation.

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Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Hammer or sledgehammer
  • Black garbage bags

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