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September 2019 Carseat Trade-In Events—Updated 09/20/19

Most towns and cities don’t have recycling programs for carseats*. When you’ve been in a crash, many carseat manufacturers want the carseat to be replaced, whether or not it was occupied during the crash (your manual will always specify what to do). Crash forces can do damage to the plastic we can’t see and engineers design carseats to absorb forces, just like our vehicles have crumple zones to mitigate, or lessen, crash forces. Many of us are left to throw out carseats when they expire or they’re crashed or we’re otherwise through with them—until trade-in events started. Babies R Us started the trend in 2010, partly to get recalled items out of circulation, and Target got in on the fun in 2016. This fall, Walmart joins in to offer discounts to those of us who want to ditch some seats for some coupons.

*Clek has a recycling program for their carseats and price is determined by seat.

So how do these events work anyway? I’ll break it down by store to make it easier since the rules differ slightly. The beautiful thing is that an old, broken, recalled, or otherwise nasty carseat is being recycled so a child won’t be put in danger! And no need to worry about cutting straps or writing “do not use” on these carseats—stores assure us that once carseats are in their bins, they are out of circulation as carseats are on their way to new life in other forms.

Target (September 3-13, 2019)

To celebrate Baby Safety Month, from Tuesday, September 3-13, 2019, Target will accept any carseat at the Guest Services counter. They can be expired, damaged, recalled, or perfectly good (hey, we can be enablers here!). All carseats will be recycled by the Waste Management company.

What do they take:
  • Rear-facing only infant seats (bases only have been allowed in the past)
  • Convertible seats
  • All-in-ones
  • Harness-to-booster (combination) seats
  • Belt-positioning boosters
What do they give you:
  • A coupon for 20% off a new carseat, stroller, or select baby gear for each seat turned in

The coupon is valid through Saturday, September 14, 2019, and the code can be used online if the brick and mortar store doesn’t have your preferred item.

Will they actually give you 1 coupon per carseat turned in if you have a bunch of carseats? Maybe. It seems to depend on the individual store and management. There’s a written policy, but the actual implementation of it is fuzzy.

Can I combine/stack coupons?

You can only use one (1) 20% off coupon per carseat or baby gear purchase, but you can stack the coupon with other discounts like Target’s Cartwheel and the 5% discount (and free shipping!) you get when you use your Target REDcard. Registry coupons have not been able to be combined with the 20% off coupon, but YMMV.

Once you have your coupon, spend it fast. For the last several trade-in events, stock has been low and sold out fast so it pays to do your research now and be ready to use that 20% off since Target won’t issue rainchecks. Amazon generally does lower its prices at this time, but there are Target-exclusive fashions, especially with Graco products. If you need help with your research, you can start with our Recommended Carseats List!

Do be careful with your coupon, though. Once you’ve spent it, it’s spent. If you return an item, you can’t get the discount back.

Walmart (September 16-21, 2019)

Walmart couldn’t help themselves and joined Target to recycle carseats during Baby Safety Month. WM (US stores only) is teaming up with TerraCycle (Check out all their recycling programs near you. They recycle *everything*, even hair!) from Monday, September 16-21, to recycle most carseats. Take your expired, damaged, recalled, or carseats you’re finished using to Customer Service and they’ll give you a $30 gift card with a limit of 2.

Update: The trade-in program has been so successful, that Walmart has decided to end it a week early (there have also been rumored reports of carseat thefts for trade-ins for the gift cards, but those have not been the reason for the end of the program). You can still run out tonight or tomorrow to turn in your old carseat (enter your zip code to see participating stores), but once midnight hits Saturday, it’s too late.

What do they take:
  • Rear-facing only infant seats (NO bases are being accepted separately)
  • Convertible seats
  • All-in-ones
  • Harness-to-booster (combination) seats

Note that WM is NOT accepting belt-positioning booster seats during this trade-in event.

What do they give you:
  • A $30 gift card (limit 2)

It’s a gift card, so it can be used online as well as in-store on anything and it doesn’t expire. Hey!

Not every Walmart is participating in the event. The Walmart Neighborhood Market grocery stores aren’t, but you can check if your local store is by clicking here and entering your location.

Unfortunately, reports show that what carseats individual Walmarts are accepting varies widely. Some will accept any carseat as long as it has a harness. Others won’t accept a harnessed seat if it converts to a booster—period. Some stores take carseats without their covers, others require the covers on them. Since there tend to be more than 1 Walmart in an area, I’d suggest trying a different one and lodging a complaint with corporate WM if your local store won’t accept your harnessed seat, since it states on their website that they’ll accept it.

Can I combine/stack coupons?

Yes. WM is giving out regular gift cards, which broadens the appeal of this trade-in event.

Which Is the Better Carseat Trade-In Event? Target vs. Walmart

Is a 20% off coupon better than a $30 gift card? Let’s take a look at actual numbers on some popular carseats.

Rear-Facing Only Infant Seat

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 in Tenley

Current Amazon price: $132.01

Target price: $99.99

Target price after 20% off plus 5% REDcard discount: $75.99

Walmart price: $99.99

Walmart price after $30 giftcard discount: $69.99

 

Convertible Carseat

Graco Extend2Fit in Gotham

Current Amazon price: $127.99

Target price: $159.99

Target price after 20% off plus 5% REDcard discount: $121.59

Walmart price: $137.99

Walmart price after $30 giftcard discount: $129.99

 

All-in-One Carseat

Graco 4Ever DLX

Current Amazon price: $269.99

Target price: $269.99

Target price after 20% off plus 5% REDcard discount: $205.19

Walmart price: $269.99

Walmart price after $30 giftcard discount: $239.99

 

Harness-to-Booster (Combination) Carseat

Chicco MyFit in Fathom

Current Amazon price: $199.99

Target price: $159.99

Target price after 20% off plus 5% REDcard discount: $121.60

Walmart price: $199.99

Walmart price after $30 giftcard discount: $169.99

This wasn’t necessarily a fair comparison because the online Target price for this carseat was already discounted at $159.99.

 

Belt-Positioning Booster Carseat

Chicco KidFit in Atmosphere

Current Amazon price: $99.99

Target price: $99.99

Target price after 20% off plus 5% REDcard discount: $75.99

Walmart price: $99.99

Walmart price after $30 giftcard discount: $69.99

 

For regular priced items over $123, Target is the winner if you are comparing the 20% coupon and 5% REDcard discount to one WM $30 gift card. But it may come down to which store has the carseat you want in stock.

 

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