Now is the best time to buy a new car seat

Now is the best time to buy a new car seat

If your child has outgrown their car seat (or will soon) or if the car seat you have expired or had an accident, now is the time to buy a new one: Target’s biennial car seat trade-in event takes place until September 24.

Between birth and about age 12, most children transition from an infant car seat to a convertible car seat to a booster seat; many of these, including the ones we recommend for their safety features and ease of installation, cost upwards of a few hundred dollars each. (Not sure what type of seat your child should be in right now? We’ve got advice on how to know when to switch.)

Here is how the Target trade-in event works: Now through September 24, bring an old car seat or car seat (even if it’s damaged or past its expiration date) to a Target store and place it in the designated drop-off box at the Guest Services counter. Then use the Target app to scan the code on the box, which generates a coupon for 20% off any new infant car seat or car seat, including items on sale.

While old car seats are only accepted until September 24, the coupon can be used in-store or online for two separate purchases until October 8. The coupon is also not limited to just car seats; other children’s supplies such as strollers, swings, high chairs, rocking chairs, bouncers and other items are also eligible for a 20% discount. And if you have a Target RedCard, the store’s credit card, you can save an extra 5% by using it to buy your new baby gear.

according to purposeall used car seats collected during the event will be broken down and recycled through Waste Management, Target’s recycling partner, to recreate everything from steel beams and carpet covering to plastic buckets and pallets.

Our car seats and booster seats at the Target trade-in event

A major reason we recommend taking advantage of Target’s car seat trade-in event is that you can get our Graco baby, convertible, and booster picks at what may be the lowest prices we’ll see all year.

Still, Ingela Ratledge Amundson, editor of our Babies and Kids coverage, points out that even at their regular retail prices, these Graco chairs are excellent value. In particular, the Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 DLX Child Seat and the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Seat offer excellent value for money. “During our testing, we were particularly impressed with how easy these seats were to install and how many thoughtful, premium feel features they offered. They outperformed many other chairs that were much more expensive,” says Amundson.

Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 DLX

The Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 DLX is easier to install, adjust and operate than seats that are much more expensive. And it has an added safety feature: an anti-rebound base.

Our top pick for car seats, the Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 DLX is available at Target for $184 – 20% off the street price – and you can stack the 20% off coupon on top of that for additional savings. We named the Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 DLX our new top pick in May 2022 after our testing showed it “offers the total package of usability, quality and value”. It’s easy to install and comes with “some welcome bells and whistles usually reserved for more expensive seats, like a removable seat cushion for faster cleanup, harness straps that you don’t have to untie and re-thread to adjust, and a one-handed handle adjustment.” While all car seats, regardless of price, must meet the same federal safety standards, the Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 DLX has the added safety feature of an anti-rebound base, which “can help limit the amount that the seat spins (or rebounds) after the initial impact of a crash.”

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible

The Graco Extend2Fit Convertible does a superior job of keeping your child rear-facing for longer, and is easy to install and use.

If your child has outgrown an infant car seat, you can also get 20% off our premium convertible seat, the Graco Extend2Fit, at Target. In testing, the Extend2Fit stood out for its “quite easy installation, thoughtful features, and great value for the price.”

We’re optimistic about starting with an infant car seat and then moving up to a convertible seat, noting in our convertible car seat guide that “we’ve found that each individual type of seat tends to do much better on its own.” specific purpose than an all-in-one chair can.” But if you’re sitting on a chair that’s a one-time purchase, the Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1, a variation of the all-in-one chair we recommend, is available at Target at the same 20% discount. that we tested and recommended typically costs about $40 more than the standard Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 model because it has an anti-rebound bar, an optional extra safety feature, and a quick-release seat cover for easier cleaning; furthermore, the seats the same.)

Graco TurboBooster LX

The Graco TurboBooster LX lacks some of the comforts (and punch) of our top pick, but it’s a really good booster at a reasonable price.

For bigger kids ready to ride in a booster seat, the Graco TurboBooster LX sells at 10% off its usual price when purchased through We named the TurboBooster LX a runner-up in our booster seat guide; it converts from a high-back seat to a no-back seat, comes with two cup holders and was considered soft and comfortable by our child testers.

This article was edited by Annemarie Conte and Ingela Ratledge Amundson.