As an update to our child car seat safety article a year ago, there are new concerns about the proliferation of “knock-off” car seats. These are car seats that appear to not adhere to the car seat safety guidelines one would expect to protect your little one. SMG feels it is important to point out how to know which car seats would likely be safe.
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The Knock Off Problem
The Washington Post recently investigated a growing list of car seats being sold online that did not meet car seat safety guidelines. In the story, these car seats were considered “knock offs” of popular car seat brands. However, the car seats did not have proper straps and other safety mechanisms nor were they crashworthy. Additionally, the knockoffs were being found on Amazon, eBay, Walmart, AliExpress, and other online sites.
Affording to raise a child is tough. So, it’s no surprise that parents look for deals on everything from diapers, to baby food, to strollers, and clothes. But when it comes to car seat safety and stroller safety, avoiding a knock off matters. And for car seats, you want to stick to verifiable car seat safety ratings.
How to Find a Safe Car Seat or Stroller
The American Academy of Pediatrics has a vetted car seat list for you, ready to go. It lists car seats by several categories, along with brand names and basic details. Also, the organization lists brand websites with links (scroll down).
Many of those same companies will have safe strollers. Or, the car seat will integrate into a stroller.
The Washington Post also gives a great tip —
Is it being sold directly by a trusted retailer? Stores such as Target, Buy Buy Baby and Nordstrom sell only certified seats directly from the manufacturer. With other online sites, such as Amazon and Walmart, be absolutely sure the seller is not a third party and the seats are being sold directly by the manufacturer or the site itself.
TheCarSeatLady.com site gives a list of strollers (also car seats and boosters) that meet the high-quality safety standards. And also on that site is a great tip list about using car seats, such as a car seat safety check.
If you’re going to buy or receive a used car seat, HealthyChildren.org says on its car seat safety checklist —
Do not use a car seat that has been in a crash, has been recalled, is too old (check the expiration date or use 6 years from date of manufacture if there is no expiration date), has any cracks in its frame, or is missing parts.