Personal Safety Equipment

Child Car Seats, Cycle Helmets, Motorcycle Helmets etc

Safety equipment should not be resold or reused in case it has been damaged in an accident and no longer affords sufficient protection for the wearer or user. In addition, regulations stipulate that items such as child car seats should only be used for a maximum of four years. See Below.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be in the interests of the manufacturers of these products to consider their end of life, and because of the way protection equipment is made – with a tough outer plastic shell, usually filled with expanded foam for shock absorbing, foam padding and fabric lining – these types of items do not get recycled. This means that an ever increasing amount of these items are discarded and are dumped into our landfill sites.

(It is up to the individual if they wish to try to disassemble their product in order to recycle the components.)

We have been researching this problem since we started this project and so far we have not come up with an answer. We will continue to push the manufacturers for a solution and try to get them to consider the environment when they design their products.

A child’s car seat can be passed on to someone else only if it has never been in an accident and has not expired. Most manufacturers list an expiration date on the seat; if you can’t find one, four years is often considered the limit. This is because the materials degrade over time — especially from the intense ultraviolet light coming through car windows — and this compromises their safety benefits. Also because they are usually designed for a specific age group.

If you wanted to disassemble the seat yourself, you could then drop off the plastic, metal and fabric components at your local recycling facility.
Paula Felps says, “It took me about 15 minutes to disassemble my daughter’s outgrown car seat, (I was slightly disturbed by this), and separate it into its different components.”

Update – If you are in the market for a child car seat – you could consider buying a Graco Milestone which the manufacturers say will last from birth to approximately age 10 (depending on the weight of the child).  This would at least go some way to reduce the number of seats ending up in landfill!   

Second-Hand Buyer’s Note: Are you thinking about acquiring a secondhand car seat? To be on the safe side, only accept used car seats from people you know. You need to be able to trust their account of the car seat’s history.