Child safety experts express rising concern over the counterfeit car seat market. The danger lies in the fact these seats don't follow safety standards and regulations, potentially putting an infant's safety at risk.
Courtney Gleaton, an injury prevention coordinator at the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Florida, has noticed an increasing trend in the use of these counterfeit seats.
Counterfeit Car Seats: A Growing Phenomenon
Counterfeit car seats often appear similar to genuine products. Cassandra Herring, director of child occupant protection at Safe Kids Worldwide, notes they frequently lack safety labels and certifications and may not contain the same materials or parts. She emphasised the importance of checking for a statement on the car seat that reads 'this child restraint system conforms to all applicable federal motor vehicle safety standards.'
James Dodington, M.D., an associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at Yale School of Medicine, highlights that many parents unintentionally purchase these counterfeit car seats online due to their significantly lower cost.
Increasing Online Marketplaces Expand Counterfeit Presence
Gleaton states that the surge of online marketplaces and the shuttering of brick-and-mortar stores selling car seats has caused a rise in the distribution of counterfeit seats. With prices reduced by as much as 60 percent, buyers are easily drawn into purchasing.
Ensuring Your Car Seat is Safe
To ensure the purchase of a safe car seat, Gleaton suggests buying directly from the car seat manufacturer's website. If purchasing from a third-party platform like Amazon, it is crucial to confirm that the vendor is the actual car seat manufacturer. Walmart or Target are also appropriate physical store options.
In addition, users need to consider if their car seat is counterfeit or doesn't meet safety standards. If in doubt, they can reach out directly to the manufacturer to verify the product's information.
Being Cautious With Used Car Seats
While it may be tempting to save money by purchasing used car seats, safety standards change frequently and it's best to acquire a new car seat. If opting to use a secondhand car seat, it should be ensured that the seat's history is known, it hasn't been recalled, and is not too old.
Installation: Another Key Aspect
After verifying a car seat's integrity, it's crucial to ensure that it is properly installed. Approximately 46 percent of car seats and booster seats are used incorrectly, which poses a huge safety risk. Safety training and proper installation are highly advised.