How can I reuse or recycle a damaged children’s car seat?

car seatWe’ve had an email from Sam, saying:

I have a child’s car seat that has been involved in a minor accident, so can no longer be used as a car seat. I don’t want to put it in landfill. Any suggestions?

If car seats had been around when I was a kid and we’d been in this situation, I’m sure the seat would have been commandeered for bottom-of-the-garden dens – a comfortable seat ripe for imaginative on-a-rocket-into-space games or whatever. We were lucky we had loads of space for that sort of thing and also sorts of junk ended its life down there.

But what if that’s not an option because of space or the child’s too young etc? Any more practical or creative suggestions for the seat as a whole or its foamy/plastic parts?

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13 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle a damaged children’s car seat?”


  1. Anonymous says:

    turn it into a stroller or bike buddy.

  2. Kath Hazel says:

    A child’s swing :)

    Take out the foam inner and replace with a big soft cushion (you could make this from fabric scraps) and suspend it on strong rope from a tree branch, large hooks in a garage or attached to a doorframe. (Hooks or long bolts).

    If you have access to any old climbing equipment you could reuse carabenas (?sp) etc.

  3. cliff says:

    Rip out the plastic seating pads, turn on it’s side, fill with dirt and use as an outside garden planter.

  4. Graham says:

    Likewise I thought of a hanging basket.

  5. If your child has outgrown the child seat who will use the swing?

    I think these make a great basket for a cat or a small dog like a chihuahua.

  6. camie says:

    The comments listed above are great ideas for using the old seat! Old car seats are NOT recommended to use with a child, in a car.

    As a child passenger safety technician (certification to assist parents with proper installation of car seats and their use). I work for a hospital that collects the seats for recycling. The old seats go to a cub scout group or kiwanis club that takes them apart and recycles the components.

    While recycling is not common place throughout the country, more safety programs are looking into it, and more car seat manufacturers are working to make it possible to recycle their products.

    You can contact the Safe Kids coalition in your state/community http://www.usa.safekids.org/tier2_rl.cfm?folder_id=182
    and see if they have a recommendation. Or contact your state CPS coalition. These can be found at nhtsa.gov
    http://www.nhtsa.gov/portal/site/nhtsa/menuitem.9fa154a4d39f02e770f6df1020008a0c/
    click on child passenger safety, then find a technician in your area. The state coordinator will know who is recycling in your area.

  7. kensyo says:

    I have been searching on internet for days to find a way to reuse my “new” toddler car seat. “New” means it is less than 1 year old without any accident. I can’t use it anymore because I brought it from Europe and just to find out that it is not legal to use a EU car seat in US.
    I can’t sell it or give it to anyone and do not want to dump it as well….

    Thinking about converting it to a seat to use at home for my daughter… Anyone has idea?

  8. Olia says:

    Older children can use a used car seat for playing with the dolls.
    It can be used for another baby juts around a house. It might require then some wooden base to be attached to, so it does not overturn when baby moves.

  9. Olia says:

    The seat can be transformed into a pet car transporter. Attach part of a cage or pet box to it, with a door. Fasten the seat as usual in a car and your pet will have a safe, comfortable ride.

  10. Edward says:

    Some school need old car seat for the parenting classes.

  11. Valerie says:

    Here in the US, Babies R Us often has ‘The great trade-in sale’ where parents get 20% off any new piece of baby gear when they bring in ANY old gear (car seat, stroller, crib, highchair, etc.) It’s possible a parent could use a car seat as a trade-in when buying a booster seat or other older-child gear. More often it could be given to a parent about to purchase new gear so they could get the discount. ;)

    • Charissa says:

      FYI, from what the babies r us associate told me, they collect the used gear and either crush or burn them. I was really surprised to hear this as I thought they would take them apart and recycle them.

  12. nus says:

    Baby (0+) seats can be used as a baby seat like a baby bouncer. The stage 0+1′s can be used say there specil seat in the living room or the naughty seat! Stage 2′s and 3′s can be used in same way or use it as a boster seat for sitting at the dinna table x



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