It Just Feels So Wrong, but I Know It Is Right

Updated on May 22, 2011
A.F. asks from Morgantown, WV
17 answers

My daughter has finally outgrown her infant car seat that we used for both her and her brother. It is now 5 1/2 years old (yes past its expiration) and I feel guilty for throwing it out. It is still in great shape, but I know that the straps have had a lot of use, ect... so I know we are making the right decision.

So for those that have tossed perfectly good "looking" car seats, how do you deal with the guilt even when you know what you are doing is right?

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So What Happened?

Oh it is in the trash and was in the trash even when I typed the question. My problem I think is that we have been through a lot with that car seat. Bringing my son home from the NICU, him sleeping in it upright due to his reflux, bringing my daughter home, etc... I think I feel like I am throwing part of the family away : ) It is expired and the only reason I didn't throw it away earlier is that in the 3+ years between my kids it was stored in a climate controlled garage and wasn't exposed to any excessive heat/cold. I don't want to donate it, because 1. no one should accept it 2. and if they did and something happened I would feel terrible (not that I would likely know). It has just played a bit roll in our lives, but its purpose is done.

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answers from Washington DC on

I agree with taking the cover off first. then its just a heap of plastic, and it also prevents someone from trash diving and reusing it.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

You could take the cover off and sell it or give it away on craigslist if it's in good shape.... maybe ONLY throwing away the plastic part won't feel so bad. :o(

2 moms found this helpful

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answers from Seattle on

Recycling. They can become astroturf, or overpriced shoes, or park benches.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

Did you take the car seat out every time you got out of the car? I'm guessing not. It gets very hot in the car, and that sort of heat will cause the plastic to break down over time, though not obviously. That's why it's "right" to throw out the carseat. That's why the general guideline for expiration is about five years of reliable usefullness.

If you do try to do the second-hand route, beware, and call first: a lot of second-hand centers won't accept a used carseat - they may just throw it out, anyway. They have no way of knowing if you are being honest about it never being in an accident, and that the safety of the carseat is assured. I like the recycling idea best.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Youngstown on

I just tossed our good car seat out and I am pregnant with #3. It was past it's expiration date too. I guess you have to decide safety is more important than anything.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Why are you feeling guilty over tossing a car seat that's been through 2 kids?
It's served it's purpose, more than paid for itself. It can't be donated to someone else. I guess you could make a planter out of it.
No offense and all joking aside, let it go to carseat heaven.
It's just a "thing". It did what it was meant to do. Let it go and and let go of the guilt.

Best wishes.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

plastic can "look good" but it gets brittle when it's old. The last thing you need in a car seat used in an accident, crumbling plastic shards from a seat that isn't stable enough to protect a child.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

Check around your area, we have a auto collision place that accepts them and recycles them.

I agree with previous posts, pull off the cover, clean it and possibly donate or resell. I think the idea to cut the straps is very smart--just like removing the door off of old fridges!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Throwing it out is the right thing. How would you feel if you gave it away and later learned a child died in a car accident because the car seat he was strapped in broke and fell apart and failed to protect him? So, with all the memories its understandable why it means something to you,, So have the kids sit down next to it and get one last photo for the scrap book,, kiss it goodbye and cut the straps off. You'll always have the memory, and you'll know you did the right thing.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Williamsport on

We have 3 car seats to get rid of. I would not consider dumping that much plastic into a landfill. I feel like the whole "every car seat must be brand new" is sort of a marketing ploy and disaster to the environment when you think of the millions of seats. Just be sure to recycle!



answers from Pittsburgh on

Take a good picture of it. Those seats are very much a part of your life for the first year, it is natural to feel that way. Or, safe the seat cover-- but do you really need more junk? ;-)

But I agree with others-- cut the straps on the seat.


answers from Dallas on

It's not right. You wouldn't be feeling guilt if you thought you were right. Take it to a charitable 2nd hand store or leave it sitting outside one of those donation bins. Some poor mom out there could really use that. What a blessing you could be to someone else.



answers from Denver on

If it's not too late, could you clean it up, repair any rips or anything, and use it as a decoration? Lay one of their receiving blankets over it, put some of their toys in it that they had as infants, and either just use it as a pretty keepsake in the child's room, a place to put their favorite first teddy bear or dolly or their current stuffed animals. Or let your daughter use it, after you've thoroughly cleaned it, for a little crib or toy car seat for her dolls. As long as there's only a doll in it, she could even have it next to her in the car while she's in her safe, new, booster seat. That way you'll have it but you won't be subjecting anyone to any potential danger.



answers from Philadelphia on

I get it. I hate throwing things out & crowding the dumps. I think we throw things away too easily now. We turned ours into BBRUS when they had a trade in event & got the kids their booster seats. I hope BBRUS recycled them.


answers from Charlotte on

What guilt? It's past its expiration and potentially dangerous, so it needs to go. Besides, it's been through two kids already.



answers from Washington DC on

Why should there be guilt when you know it's expired? Take the cover if it's of any use/resell (and cut the straps/mark DO NOT USE) and get rid of something might hurt your child same as ANY other thing that might hurt your kid, no matter the "look".



answers from Milwaukee on

You should only feel guilt if you had sold or given this to someone. It's past it's expiration date. If you can, get it out of the garbage and either recycle it, or destroy it so no one can take it out and use it.

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