Monday, August 31, 2009

Car seats have expiration dates?

It makes sense, but I hadn't thought about it before a Toys "R" Us news release landed in my inbox.

Materials deteriorate over time. And if that happens, a child seat can't do what it's supposed to do.

But the fact that I, and lots of other consumers, haven't thought too critically about this stuff underscores the importance of latest marketing move by the giant toy chain.

Through Sept. 20, Toys "R" Us locations nationwide will accept returns of any used cribs, car seats, bassinets, strollers, travel systems (not sure what those would be), play yards and high chairs.

The customer turning in the stuff gets a 20 percent savings on the purchase of any new baby item in any of those product categories from selected manufacturers.

Through its "Great Trade-In" campaign, Toys "R" Us hopes to make consumers realize "certain used baby products, such as car seats and cribs, are not the best candidates to be handed down or resold."

"Safety experts have recently reported that sales of used products are on the rise and are warning consumers to be cautious about purchasing second-hand baby products that may potentially be unsafe, but are still in circulation. According to consumer advocacy organization Kids in Danger, in general, less than 30 percent of affected items are returned when a baby product is recalled."

The 20 percent discount is available to consumers on the day they trade in a used item.

Day care centers and organizations wanting to exchange items in bulk can contact the local store before bringing items to ensure adequate availability of new merchandise.

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