Is your child’s car seat a fake? Counterfeit items put children at risk

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(NEXSTAR) – With the kids out of school during the summer, your family may be spending more time on the road. With so much time spent in cars, experts are warning parents to beware of a dangerous trend underway: counterfeit car seats that could cost a child their life.

These products may look like real products, but in the event of an accident, they work very differently.

These counterfeit items are not only marketed by shady websites – many have been sold by third party sellers through some of the world’s largest retailers, including Amazon and Walmart. The retail giants said that if there were any reported infringements, they promptly removed the items from their websites.

Quality control of third-party sellers is an ongoing issue for online marketplaces, especially for products like car seats, the effectiveness of which typically cannot be tested and reviewed by consumers.

“Counterfeit car seats are made with cheaper, more fragile materials that are not able to withstand the forces of a crash,” write Orlando Healthby Courtney Gleaton and Lina Chico. “These seats are not federally regulated in the United States. They may appear safe to the untrained eye, but in crash tests, counterfeit car seats have been shown to break into multiple pieces. Many have also been found to have high levels of chemicals and have highly flammable materials for upholstery.

In 2019, CNN tested a copy of a Doona car seat from a 3rd party seller on Amazon – seat broke when tested in crash conditions at 30 mph. During the investigation, CNN learned from several children’s brands that their products were actively being counterfeited by counterfeiters and sold specifically on Amazon’s marketplace.

While Doona told CNN that Amazon is good at removing copylists when they appear, legally Amazon itself is not responsible for defects on third-party items. The company told the Washington Post he constantly searches for lists of counterfeits.

Amazon responded to CNN by explaining that the company has a “high bar” when it comes to security and that sellers must meet those standards.

“We require all products offered in our store to comply with applicable laws and regulations and have developed industry-leading tools to prevent unsafe or non-compliant products from being listed in our stores,” a spokesperson said. Amazon. CNN.

Counterfeit seats have been a concern in recent years. As WaPo reported in 2019, as more imitation products are sold overseas than in the US, their presence as third-party sellers on trusted US retail sites is growing.

How do you know if a car seat meets safety standards? There are several ways:

  • The List of car seats from the American Academy of Pediatricswhich includes only approved items
  • NHTSACar seat and booster seat resources from
  • Only buy directly from the retailer or manufacturer (not from a third party)
  • Does the box and/or labels include a manufacturer’s phone number? A contact number should be listed (red flag if not). If a number is listed and you have questions, call for any recall notices or updates you may have missed
  • Compare prices – if two items of the same brand have very different prices, find out why
  • Buy in person, if possible

While vehicle accidents have recently been replaced leading cause of death in children in the United States by firearm-related injuries, vehicle-related injuries remain in second place. Collisions used to be the number one killer of children for years.

As well as making sure your child’s car seat is real and safety certified, it’s just as important to make sure you install and adjust the car seat correctly. Earlier this year, the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 46% of car and booster seats are worn incorrectly.

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