Car Seat Trade-in: How to Recycle and Save Money Along the Way?

Parents, buckle up because this one's for you!

I bet that, like me, you have one or two old car seats that your kid no longer uses but are still in proper shape, right?

Are you guilty of keeping them in storage without even considering recycling, donating, or selling the car seat?

Well, I have great news!

If you have a big family and are looking to save a couple of bucks on the new car seat, then you have to enter the craze of the car seat trade-in program!

First time hearing about it?

I get it, I was a newbie once, and this semi-annual trade-in has changed my life and saved my bank account! Interested in learning more?

Keep on reading.


2022 April Update

Did you know that from April 18 to April 30, you can join the Target car seat trade-in program? Who would it know, just in time for the spring clean-up!

You can finally get rid of the old car seat during the next few days and get a 20% discount coupon for your new purchase!

The valuable coupon can be used throughout May 14 this year.

A little reminder, you can use the coupon online and in the store, but I already shared my thoughts on the best option in my #bestmommytip2.

Oh, but the good news does not stop there! I did some background info checks and found out that Target has fantastic deals on top brands such as Chicco, Safety 1st, Evenflo, Graco, and others.

If you were planning on saving some cash on your new car seat, now is the best time!

If you compare the 20% discount coupon with the current sale items, you will be saving quite the amount!

For instance, you can get the Safety 1st Grand DLX Booster Car Seat for only $64.99. But, if you use your coupon, the total amount equals $51,99!

Target will accept infant car seats, harnessed seats, convertible seats, bases, and booster seats throughout this period.

Additionally, they will accept seats that have been damaged or expired.

Here, you can find all the participating stores in the program.

So if you happen to miss out on this April event, don't worry! Target is likely preparing another one in September, so you better get ready for that one.

Best Deals of Target Trade-in 2022

Here are some of the best car seats I recommend you check out while the program lasts!

1. Infant car seats

Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat - Its current price is $220, but with the coupon, it's $167. 

Evenflo Gold SecureMax Smart Infant Car Seat with SafeZone Load Leg - Its current price is $215, but with the coupon, it's $115.

Baby Trend Secure 35 Infant Car Seat - Its current price is $103 on sale, but with the coupon, it's $83.19!

2. Convertible car seats

Britax One4Life All-in-One - Its current price is $400, but with the coupon, it's $256.

Graco 4Ever DLX - current price is $300, but with the coupon, it's $228.

Safety 1st Grow and Go All-In-One Convertible Car Seat - current price on sale is $139, but with the coupon, it's $111.

3. Travel systems/strollers

Chicco Bravo travel system - Its current price is $400, but with the coupon, it's $256. 

BOB Gear Revolution Flex 3.0 Jogging Stroller - Its current price is $439.99, but with the coupon, it's $351.

Baby Trend Expedition 2-in-1 Wagon Stroller Wagon - Its current price is $159, but with the coupon, it's $127. 

Other trade-in events in 2022?

Currently, it's confirmed that only Target will hold an active trade-in event.

As you know, Walmart's only event was organized back in 2019, and since then, there have not been any future announcements.

Right now, Walmart is focused on reducing single-use items and packages so they would increase sustainability.

Trade-ins-where, When, and How?

car seat trade in program

Big store chains such as Target and Walmart organize car seat trade-ins where you can bring in your used and old car seat and get a discount coupon to purchase a new one or select available baby home gear.

It's a terrific car seat recycling program that allows you to save money on new baby items while you get rid of the ones you no longer use.

Target Car Seat Trade-ins

Now, Target is brilliant and strategic regarding semi-annual trade-ins. They are organized twice a year, one in the spring and one in the fall.

Well, would you look at that just in time for your big annual clean-up?

Target's program was held a few months ago in September, and it lasted from 12th to 25th. So, I would mark my calendar.

Usually, they will hold the event at the same time of that season and announce it a couple of weeks earlier, so you know to prepare yourself.

The process was pretty simple, and I was surprised at how fast we were done.

Of course, considering it was Target, I had to look around and see all of the other choices I could get next.

1. How Do You Do It?

Once you enter, there will be an enormous drop-off box marked "New Life For Old Car Seats."

From there, you drop off your old car seat and look for a Team Member at the customer service desk that will hand you the coupon.

Target offers a 20% OFF coupon on a new car seat, stroller, travel system, or select baby gear.

Best Mommy Tip 1:

Go to the customer service counter first before dropping off your car seat. In this way, they will know you are donating one.

Also, they will not give you the coupon if they don't see you carrying an old car seat. 

After you collect the coupon, sign up for the Target app on your mobile device and scan the code from the card.

When you check your app wallet, you will see a 20% discount on baby gear items.

Best Mommy Tip 2:

Before you head out to the store, check the prices of the items you want to buy online.

They are way cheaper, and you can even save up more on online purchases with the coupon included!

Also, check in-store if they have the new car seat of your choice so you can see it live.

In this way, you get to feel the fabric, test out the straps and check the overall quality at first glance before you order it online.

Click here to see if your nearby local Target store is organizing a trade-in event and get more information.

2. What Kind of Car Seat Can I Bring?

The best thing about this car seat recycling is that Target accepts all sorts of car seats!

No matter if you have an expired car seat or a damaged one, you can bring it and drop it off!

Here is what type of car seat you can bring:

- Infant car seats

- Convertible car seats

- Car seat base

- Booster seats with or without harness straps

Walmart Car Seat Trade-ins

car seat trade in walmart

Walmart's car seat trade-in program is very similar to the Target one.

However, instead of getting a 20% discount code, you will receive a $30 gift card.

As September is the National Baby Safety Month, the car seat trade-in program is usually organized within this month.

Unfortunately, the last one was held in 2019 and had to be shut down early as they reached the full capacity of collecting over one million car seats!

However, due to the global pandemic, the delivery of the car seats was held off, so there is no recent information of when the next event will take place.

This superstore partners with TerraCycle, an innovative waste management company, to bring revolutionary recycling solutions, so car seats like yours do not end up in landfills.

TerraCycle is currently working alongside worldwide manufacturers to help recycle car seat that is usually non-recyclable.

But, let's cover all the info so you know what to expect when they organize the next car seat trade-in program.

1. How Does It Work?

Before anything, you need to find a local Walmart store that organized this event.

You can find all the useful information you need here.

Like with the Target car seat trade-in, you need to go first to the guest services desk and find an employee who will give you the coupon.

Drop the car seat off at the box, and you are done!

Currently, Walmart accepts only two car seats per one household.

So if you have two kids, woohoo! You get to save up on the storage space even more!

They also accept car seats of all brands. However, they do not accept booster seats, unlike Target that does.

2. What Kind of Car Seat Can I Bring?

Because Walmart is working with the TerraCycle program and recycling the non-recycling car seats, you can bring any car seat (excluding booster seats).

In addition, Walmart accepts car seats that have been damaged, with or without harness straps, have been in an accident, or even an expired car seat.

Is There Any Other Car Seat Recycling Program Available?

There is one more hidden gem for all who own a Clek car seat.

As you know, I did previous reviews of their car seats, and I love them. Not just for the design but the overall safety of my kids.

However, like anything else, they will grow out of the car seat in no time, so it's good to know that Clek is also participating in the recycling program.

Clek is currently the only car seat recycling program in North America so if you live in the area, here is how you can benefit from the program.

Car seat trade-in with Clek can be done anytime, any day! You don't have to wait for annual events or even wait in line to drop your car seat.

But, you have to pay in advance for the shipping of the car seat and drop it at the local UPS store.

For starters, visit their website, and you will find you need to purchase a recycling label that costs $39.99.

Whoah! Please don't click away yet; you will get your money's worth, trust me!

After you have purchased the label, you will receive an email that contains a UPS return shipping label and a $39.99 discount code you can use to purchase on their website!

See, I told you you would get your money back.

Once you receive all the information you need, pack up your old car seat with the supplied shipping label, and you are done.

Unfortunately, logically, coupons cannot be combined.

Recycling & Trade-in Car Seats: Why Should You Care?

car seat trade in near me

Surprise, surprise, car seats do have expiration dates.

But, unfortunately, not everyone pays attention to them and ends up either using the car seat (which is past the expiration date) for other kids or throwing them in the trash.

What are the risks of doing that?

By using the expired car seat, you are putting your child's life in danger.

The car seat is no longer secure or fit to use as they only last for around 5-6 years.

Do not use, donate or try to sell these kinds of seats. Instead, it's best to use the trade-in program and take advantage of coupons that endanger another child's life.

Also, do not try to use or even donate car seats that have been in an accident.

Their safety has been compromised, and is no longer offering the safety they did once.

What if You Don't Have Access to the Trade-in Program?

If you do not have access to Target, Walmart, or the Clek car seat trade-in is too much hassle, you can always throw away the car seat or recycle it through your local recycling program.

Of course, I recommend doing this if the car seat is expired, damaged, or recalled. If not, you can always try donations or pass them down to the family.

1. Recycling

If you end up recycling it through a local service, you need to follow a certain protocol.

Start by removing all of the padding, fabric and cutting the harness straps-throw these away; they are not recyclable.

Next, take out the plastic shell (this can be recycled and the metal parts). Pack it up in the bag and send it to the recycling center.

Pat yourself on the shoulder; you just did a good deed for the planet!

2. Dumpster City

I know that throwing your well-loved car seat can seem like a terrible thing, but seriously, what else are you going to do if it just takes up the storage space?

Like the recycling program, you can't just throw the car seat in the trash and walk away.

Don't you think someone else will pick it up and use it? Many car seats that have not been dismantled end up in use again!

To prevent this from happening, I suggest you do the same as you would with recycling, but you don't need to remove the shell and the metal parts this time.

Instead, take a hammer and smash that seat up! Mark it with an unsafe to use label or a market.


What is the car seat trade-in event?

car seat trade in buy buy baby

A car seat trade-in event is a useful way of getting rid of the car seat your kid no longer uses.

Stores such as Target offer a semi-annual trade-in event held in spring and the fall. Walmart's last car seat trade-in program was organized back in 2019.

You can trade in the non-expired seat in a local Target store or Walmart and, in exchange, get a gift card you can use for other baby gear items.

For instance, Target offers a $20 gift card, whereas Walmart offers a $30 Walmart gift card.

Is Walmart doing the car seat trade-in 2021?

No, Walmart is not doing the car seat trade-in even in 2021.

The last Walmart car seat trade-in was in 2019, and it was shut down early on September 21st!

Nevertheless, they managed to collect more car seats than expected, over 1 million to be precise.

Due to the pandemic, the disposal of the old car seats has been delayed, so there is still no information on whether Walmart will organize another trade-in event for the following year.

Does Amazon do car seat trade-in?

No, Amazon does not do the car seat-trade in events.

Although many parents wish the situation were different, not everyone has close-by access to Target or Walmart.

However, Amazon does have a trade-in program for electronics and other media-streaming devices.

In addition, they will offer you a gift card!

Is Walmart giving money for old car seats?

car seat trade in program

During trade-in programs, Walmart does not give you money on hand, but they offer you a $30 gift card you can use either online or make in-store purchases.

How often does Target do the car seat trade-in-event?

The Target car seat-trade-in programs are held twice a year! Once during springtime and once in the fall.

You can benefit from the old car seat your kiddo has grown out of and get a $20 gift card to get another car seat or any other baby products.

The first Target car seat trade-in program was organized in the spring of 2016 and continues to be a massive hit among parents!

Is it OK to sell a used car seat?

If the car seat is not recalled, is in good shape, is not expired, and has not been in a car crash, then it's OK to sell it.

However, make sure you are completely honest about the car seat history before posting it online.

You do not want to endanger and risk the safety of its next passenger!

Final Words

So, what do you think about the car seat trade-in programs? Are you going to participate in one next time?

I hope you do because not only will you save some money, but you will also do a great thing for the planet! These are the three options I have listed for you.

I hope you found all of the valuable information because it's a great way to recycle and declutter your space!

Till next time!

Avatar of Kathy Warner

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here

1 thought on “Car Seat Trade-in: How to Recycle and Save Money Along the Way?”

  1. So there is no place you can trade a car seat in for a bigger one? Thought maybe hospitals and fire department might participate in this program….i need a bigger one than the almost new one i have…


Leave a Comment