Target’s Car Seat Trade-In Event Saves You Money and Reduces Waste

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One of the eye-opening things you quickly learn as a parent is how expensive child car seats are.

Spoiler alert for the childless: Car seats are super expensive. Also, your growing child will cycle through various car-seat stages. Take it from me, a father of two.

These days, the average convertible car seat price is roughly $175 — although it ranges from $75 to $400 or more, depending on your needs, taste and budget.

One way to save money here is to take advantage of car seat trade-ins.

And just in time for National Baby Safety Month, Target is holding a nationwide car seat trade-in event through Sept. 22.

That means you still have a 10-day window to bring in your old car seat and get a coupon for 20% off a new car seat, booster, base or travel system. You can use the coupon in stores or online until Oct. 6.

What happens to the car seats that Target collects? It has teamed up with recycling company TerraCycle to have them recycled. Target and TerraCycle have kept more than 4.6 million pounds of car seat materials out of landfills since the program started in 2016.

If you’re a Penny Hoarder like I am, you’re always looking for ways to save money. Saving on car seats is no exception as long as my child’s safety is not compromised.

The Car Seat Cycle of Life

These car seat trade-ins are especially useful, because there will come a time when your child outgrows their current car seat or it expires.

The federal government offers car seat guidelines, along with a handy calculator to help you determine which seat is right for your child’s age, weight and height.

Consumer Reports has a few good tips on when to trade in your car seat:

  • When your baby is a year old.
  • When your baby gets too big for their infant seat.
  • When your car seat expires. Yes, car seats have expiration dates. Check your car seat’s manufacturing label. They’re typically good for six years. After that, you can’t resell them on Craigslist or at a consignment store.
  • The car seat has been involved in a crash.
  • The car seat is damaged.
  • It’s simply time for the next step.

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He has two little kids, and just writing this story is making his wallet bleed.

Tyler Omoth, a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder, also contributed to this post.