With our move happening in a few weeks, I’ve been trying to declutter (as I always do). One item that caught my eye this time around was our infant car seat. With our oldest daughter turning seven in a couple months, I was pretty sure that the car seat was past its expiry date. I double-checked that with Wendy Silva, a fellow blogger and Child Passenger Safety Technician, who confirmed that it was indeed done.
My husband and I have an ongoing debate about whether car seat expiration dates are really about safety reasons or just about marketing and insurance purposes for car seat manufacturers. Either way, the car seat in question did have one small broken part on it (the latch for the handle) and a couple rips in the cover. So I pulled it out, ready to cut the straps up and tear the cover off to put it in a garbage bag for disposal, as Wendy had said.
Until the girls spotted it. Jade hasn’t used it in over six months now, but she apparently has fond memories of it (surprise, surprise!) and immediately curled up in it. Sunshine and Lily wanted a chance to try it too, which made me laugh and dig out the camera for some then-and-now pictures, since they barely fit in it. Jade wasn’t too happy about sharing the car seat, and when I pulled the sun cover off to prepare it for the garbage, she voiced even stronger disapproval. And I found myself hesitating.
I am the neat freak in the house, the organizer, the one who says “we haven’t used this since the last move so clearly we are not going to use it again and we should get rid of it” or “that’s broken and not worth repairing so it should go.” And I knew this car seat should go. It was past its expiration date, worn out. It had served us well for three children and clearly we couldn’t use it for another.
And yet… I remember going shopping for that car seat and stroller, way back before Sunshine was born, with my husband and his parents. We were full of the excitement of new parents and had no clue what we were looking for in a car seat and stroller. I don’t remember why we picked the ones we did—because they had a good brand name, or we liked the gender-neutral print, or the stroller-car seat combination seemed to make sense. We took pictures of each girl in the car seat for the first time (bringing Sunshine and Lily home after their births, and taking Jade on her first outing).
That stroller went with me to Jasper, along with Sunshine, on one of my girlfriends’ getaways. After touring around Lake Annette, I asked my girlfriends to fold up the stroller while I put Sunshine into the vehicle. I said, “Just push the red button and twist the handle and it’ll fold forward.” Then I got Sunshine settled into the car, closed the door, and came back around to the sidewalk to find my girlfriends standing around, staring at the stroller. What red button? “It’s a mom thing,” one of them said as I reached out with one hand, pushed and twisted and folded the stroller, then lifted it into the vehicle.
So many other memories of the car seat and stroller warred with the practical side of me, and I put the car seat back into the storage room to deal with when the girls weren’t around. I found a place here in Victoria that will recycle car seats (albeit for a small fee), which felt better than simply destroying it myself and throwing it out. (Seriously, if car seats expire, someone needs to start a recycling program for them, because that’s a TON of waste plastic and other parts going into the landfill.) I consigned the stroller, because now that I’ve been a mom for much longer, I also have a longer list of things that I’d like in a stroller.
And then I wrote a blog post to memorialize our very first car seat and stroller. 🙂
Are you more sentimental or more practical? How do you feel about passing along or throwing out items your children have outgrown or broken?