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Hi Heather,

I was the one wondering what to do with old cars seats. It's a shame there really doesn't seem to be any organization that wants them. At the risk of starting a flame war, I have to say that I'd let my car seats biodegrade away in the basement forever before I'd give them to Pregnancy Resource Centers. As a pro-choice person I just couldn't give anything to an organization that that mourns the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade ( http://www.portlandprc.org/events.asp ) and that misleads women about the medical risks of abortion ( http://oversight.house.gov/story.asp?ID=1080 ).

Heather,

Sorry I forgot to say "thanks" for digging to find car seat information, I appreciate the effort.

Flaming on ReadySetMom? Unheard of! We are a gentle people.

So I just called up the knowledgable folks at the Segal's for Children store in Beaverton and asked them about this. The guy I talked to said the reason organizations don't accept seats is that they don't know whether they've been in an accident. An accident will compromise the safety of the seat. Plus he said that car seats have a lifespan of 6 years! After 6 years the plastic "fatigues" and starts to break down. He said NEVER buy a used car seat and get rid of them after 6 years. (This store has a lot of integrity and they are extremely vigilant when it comes to car seat safety, so I don't believe he's just trying to sell more car seats.)

He said that sometimes you can donate car seats to parenting classes who need them for instruction purposes. Other than that, they go to the landfill. I passed my infant seat on to a neighbor and then on to my brother. Giving to or receiving used seats from friends is probably the best way to keep more seats out of the landfill, but until someone develops a better seat, it seems that's the only option.

As for the Pregnancy Resource Centers -- I actually didn't know anything about them (thanks for the links), but politics aside, now I question the safety of the seats they are giving out to their clients. I might have to investigate this...I mean, how do they know if the seat is safe?

I called a Pregnancy Resource Center a couple of months ago to see if they accepted car seats and if memory serves me correctly, I was told I would have to sign a waiver stating the seat had never been in a car accident before. And along those lines, if you are ever in an accident, see if your car insurance agency will replace your car seat. My sister-in-law got a car seat allowance after her accident, but she really had to push for it. As far as the seats "expiring", most of the car seats I've seen have a "Do Not Use After" date stamped into the plastic. Another option for getting rid of car seats is to ask others if they would like to have a spare car seat for a second vehicle. Or we gave one to a new set of grandparents who watch their grandchild a lot.

If you are interested in learning more about your local pregnancy resource center, I recommend trying the honest approach. Walk right in there, even unannounced, and introduce yourself, politely asking for a tour and an opportunity to read through their material. I don't know anything of the CPC's in your area, but I hope they treat you kindly and respectfully.
Also, I've written an article on the services they provide and addressing the contraversy surrounding their services and the information they give. It can be found here: http://rsnider.livejournal.com/4365.html

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