Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What to do with used child seats

I've got three big clunky pieces of plastic covered in some sort of flame retardant fabric hogging space in my garage. They are car seats from just one kid. They sit there because I kept envisioning them taking up space in a landfill for all of eternity. Car seats not only don't fit the kid forever, they expire quickly--after 6 years. And if they've been involved in accident they are obsolete. Because of this many agency that take donations refuse to take car seats. Still, I couldn't bear to throw them away. And now I've learned that I don't have to thanks to the efforts of Bill Flinchbaugh, a.k.a the Car Seat Guy.

Bill Flinchbaugh works with the Colorado Children's Auto Safety Foundation (CCASF). He started recycling car seats out of frustration over seeing dumpsters fill up with expired car seats. He started taking the car seats home, but soon found his garage was overflowing. He then worked with a municipal recycling contractor to develop a method for recycling car seats. As his volume increased he worked with the Court system and trained people working community service mandates to help out with the recycling. Eventually he established a method for recycling.

CCASF's primary goal is to keep kids safe by teaching car seat education. They even help people install car seats properly and may make house calls. Since car seats are quite tricky to install this is a valuable service.

I've also recently learned from a friend the the Vietnam Veterans of America will take used car seats, but I'm not clear on their rules--if they'll take expired car seats. All car seats are required to print an expiration date on the seat. It's often found on the bottom. Manufacturers also typically keep an expiration list and recalls on their websites.

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