A terrifying fact is that the leading cause of death of children 12 and under is car accidents. One way to keep them safe and prevent harm is by using a car seat. However, it is of utmost importance that car seats are installed properly and are proven up to safety standards. It can be complicated to make sure you’ve installed the seat correctly and that it is the right size.
If you are completely unsure of what to do and want to make sure you get it absolutely correct, you can hire a CPST, or a child passenger safety technician who will make sure you’ve got everything up to standard.
Being a parent is stressful enough, with every minute detail you need to worry about and take into consideration. The last thing we need to worry about is the fact that there are many knock-off car seats on the market, but alas, here we are.
There are affordable options out there, but many of the cheaper models are in fact not only of a lesser quality, but they are also very unsafe. There are some pretty terrible people out there who are trying to make a quick buck by selling these knock-offs, and what’s worse is that they are totally unregulated, meaning there is no evidence that these are actually safe at all.
Unfortunately these companies are selling their products on popular sites like Walmart and Amazon, and some parents (many of which do not have any other options) buy these less expensive alternatives without any idea that they might be putting their kids at risk.
After an article in the Washington Post on the matter, Walmart and Amazon removed a majority of these knock-offs, but they are still widely available on other sites like EBay and AliExpress.
Certified child-passenger safety technician Lauren Schamber described one of these knock-offs: “It looked like a deconstructed backpack. It’s made of backpack material, no manufacturer name, no labeling, nothing.”
She continued: “There was no chest clip. There was nothing to hold the child into the seat of the vehicle.”
Chief executive of MiFolds, a legitimate car seat brand, Jon Sumroy also commented on these knock-offs of MiFolds. He said: “Parents and caregivers can’t be expected to know by looking at the product whether it’s good enough. You can buy the MiFold at Walmart or Target or Buy Buy Baby in the United States.”
So what can you do? Well, these are the things you can look out for when purchasing a car seat. Is the seat labelled properly? A properly labeled seated must have the following printed on it: “The child restraint system conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.”
Not only that, is it a recognizable product brand label? Do you see the brand label anywhere on the car seat? Is that brand listed on reputable sites that tell you about legitimate car seats? Is there a manufacture date and model number? Did it comes with a product recall registration card and an instruction manual? Is it listed on the Academy of Pediatrics approved list of car seats?
The best rule of thumb to go by is that if the price seems to good to be true, then it’s safe to assume that it is. A car seat is not something to save money on, unfortunately, as it may lead to devastating results.