What do I do with my old car seat?

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Car seats are vital for young children travelling in cars, but when they’re no longer needed parents are often left wondering what to do with them.

Car seat recycling

Until the end of September 2017, old car seats can be dropped off and recycled for free as part of a trial at:

An estimated 200,000 car seats are disposed of every year. Most are sent to landfill despite containing at least 90 per cent recyclable materials. The recycling trial aims to test the feasibility of managing the end-of-life process for child car safety seats.

Removing worn or damaged child car safety seats from the market will not only better protect children and infants, it could help divert these products from landfill and set up a valuable resource recovery and recycling program.

Car seats as part of hard rubbish collections

Families unable to recycle their seats as part of the trial can dispose of them at hard rubbish collections. Contact your local council for details. 

Buying and selling car seats

RACV research has found that one in five second-hand child restraints sold online or in shops is not suitable for sale because they are worn out, damaged, too old or are illegal overseas models.

Be cautious when buying second-hand child restraints. And take care to remove seats that are unsafe or more than 10 years old from circulation as they can be dangerous.

For seats that aren’t brand new, complete the following checks:

Only buy a restraint that meets the Australian Standard

  • A sticker will show that it meets the AS/NZS 1754 standard. It is illegal to use overseas models or restraints meeting the 2000 or older standards.

Don’t use a restraint that’s more than 10 years old

  • A separate sticker should show the year of manufacture. Consider how long your child will need the restraint. Newer restraints are likely to be safer.

Check that all parts are in good condition

  • There should be no signs of wear and tear, and the buckle should click into place securely.

Know the history

  • Damage might not be obvious, so it’s important to check if the restraint has been in a crash. A restraint that’s been in a crash must be destroyed and should not be for sale.

Check the safety rating

  • Compare the safety of seats at childcarseats.com.au

Check that the restraint is suitable for your needs

  • Is the restraint the right size? Will it fit in your car?

Ask for the instruction manual

  • The manual will have instructions on fitting the restraint correctly. Some manuals can be downloaded online from manufacturers.
Written by Elvira Lazar, Senior Programs Coordinator
March 01, 2019