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Recycling the Old Carseat

Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > What/Where to Buy > Car Seats > Recycling the Old Carseat



Car accident - what to do with booster seat?

Feb 2010

We were recently involved in a very minor car accident. Our kids were in the back seat in booster seats and didn't even notice that someone hit us. Nobody was hurt but our car needs a little paint job. My question is - do we need to replace the boosters? Obviously, nothing happened to the seats but are they still a safety risk? Do we need to replace them in order to be covered by our insurance in case we'll have another accident in the future? Kids don't want to have new seats - they like their old ones (but being safe is more important). Our insurance covers new ones, I'm just wondering if we need them. Seems a little wasteful to send 2 seemingly perfect seats to landfill. to toss or not to toss?


Destroy it. there is an easy way...you can google it. Our insurance company paid for the replacement when we had a tiny incident. it's really not worth salvaging something that might not be safe anon
From what I understand, booster seats don't need to be replaced in the same way car seats do after an accident. Booster seats just raise your kids up so they can use the seat belt. They don't have their own restraint system like car seats do. Hope this helps! Beth
I think I was more rough on the booster seat just getting it in and out of the car than the fender bender you describe. I cannot imagine there is anything wrong with it. IMO this is all dreamed up by the manufacturers to increase their sales. ------------------------------------------ I'm looking forward to the responses on this one. We are in the same situation--minor accident (my son even slept through it), superficial damage only. Insurance said that the law requires them to pay us for new car seats, so we were forced to buy them.

I'm not sure what to do with the old ones, though it seems clear by the paperwork that we did that we have to get them out of this car. If there were another accident in it, the insurance company would be able to use them to get out of paying out, right? On the other hand, we bought the same car seats--color and all--so how on earth would they know?

This is just one of those cases where the letter of the law gets in the way of common sense, and forces waste upon us. However, if it saves someone else the hassle of having to fight their insurance company for a necessary seat replacement, I guess it is worth it.


For all of us who've wondered if we really need to replace the car seat after a minor accident, here's the policy regarding that from the National Highway Safety Administration. Forget the insurance company's advice: if you can check off all 5 criteria, you don't need to replace it. Go ahead & get a new one if they'll pay for it, & then you'll have an extra seat, which is handy. http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/childps/ChildRestraints/ReUse/RestraintReUse.htm ari
Feb 2008

Just a reminder to buyers and sellers of used car seats to make sure you are aware of their expiration dates. They vary among manufacturers, but you can usually find the information in the user manual online. The expiration has to do with the integrity of aging plastic parts, not how well you care for or how heavily you use the seat. More info here http://www0.epinions.com/content_4753956996. Be safe! Nina


Recycling a carseat: How old is too old?

Oct 2007

Car seats have expiration dates - check the tag. If it's past the expiration date, you'll have to just get rid of it. If you can't find an expiration date, then use 6 years after the manufacture date as the expiration date. The reason is that carseats are made of plastic, and plastic breaks down, becomes more brittle, and cracks over time. You may not be able to see this. For more information about this, see Do Car Seats Expire? at About.com.


California DMV: resale of car seats

June 2007

The following pages are on the website for the California Dept. of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and contain information about re-selling a car seat.

"Child Passenger Restraint System: Prohibition Against Resale After Accident"
Carseats that have been in an accident may not be re-sold.

Insurance Code
Liability insurance must cover replacement of carseats involved in an accident. Carseats that were involved in an accident may be taken to the California Highway Patrol.


What to do with old car seats?

May 2004

I have several used carseats that I no longer need. Goodwill does not take them, probably because of potential liability issues. Are there organizations or people who might need them, or must I throw them away at the landfill? Thanks -- Sarah


Child's Play on College Ave and Chabot in Rockridge buys and sells used car seats (as well as kids clothes, toys, other equipment). Call them first. They have limited buying hours. BANANAS on Claremont near Telegraph takes donations of kids clothes and toys. I bet they'd take donations of equipment. Call first. Lori

Carseat in a Fender-bender

March 2004

We have a nice Britax carseat that was in our car when we had a minor fender- bender. Because we were not at fault in the accident, the insurance company has agreed to replace it... I am wondering what the best thing to do with the old carseat would be, I hate to create landfill and just dump it in the trash but I would feel bad if another child in another car was not properly restrained by it in an accident. looking for a ''third way''


We were recently in a very minor fender bender in a parking lot where both cars were going less than 5 miles per hour. We replaced the convertable seat, but not the booster and got reimbursed by the insurance agency. Our rationale was that the possibility that the booster was cracked seemd to have no effect on the safety as the point of the booster is only to raise the child up so they seat belt can fit correctly.

Since then I have received information that suggests that the seats were safe. According to SafetyBestSafe U.S.A., the National Highway Safey Administration recently reversed its recommendation to discontinue use of safety seats involved in a crash. IF the safety seat and the door next to it were not visably damaged, the air bag was not deployed, no one was injured, and the car could be driven, the safety seat need not be replaced.

If you have already purchased new seats, I would recommend you donate them. For more information you can call (800)745-SAFE, (310)222-6860, or (800) 747-SANO (spanish) or look at www.carseat.org. They also do great car seat checkups and are very helpful with general car seat information. mel


Our babysitter was in a minor accident recently with our 3 year old. There were no injuries to any occupants of the cars, and she was able to drive her car away from the scene. Her insurance company said they'd replace our car seat, but they needed the carseat first, so they could destroy it so no one would use a seat that had been in an accident. Your insurance company may have the same policy, and that may be the end of the story.

As our son is about to graduate to a booster seat, I checked the NHTSA website to see what the standards currently are, as the seat seemed fine. The new government guidelines say that if the seat is not cracked or bent, and if the accident was minor enought that there were no injuries to any passengers, the car could be driven away from the accident, and no airbags deployed, then it's OK to keep the seat. Many people may feel that they should still get a new seat, especially when they are offered a new one by thier insurance company, but I thought you may be interested in this info. Glad to hear your accident was minor! Kim


Carseat in a fender bender I was recently in a fender bender too. I was told at the accident that the HIghway Patrol has a program where they exchange a voucher for the accident car seat. The insurance pays you for the replacement with the voucher, and the CHP properly disposes of the car seat. But my accident wasn't bad. So I went to the National Highway Traffic Safety Website and they have a page about carseats in an acccident: http:// www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/childps/ChildRestraints/ReUse/ index.htm They actually have a checklist to determine if your car seat needs to be replaced or not, and the testing they have done to determine this list. Hope all are well and safe. Julia
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