By Nuvance Health Child Car Seat Safety Division
More people are turning to online shopping and that includes parents-to-be looking to buy their baby gear. Enticed by a daunting list of baby essentials, super online deals on infant and child car seats can seem like a win, but that low price may be too good to be true.
CNN, the Washington Post and very recently, a Nuvance Health maternal child health nurse, have reported knock-off car seats being sold online under name brands.
There are also products that look like a child safety seat but are just baby carriers and not intended to protect your child in a car crash.
How do you identify if a child car seat is the real thing and safe for your child to use? Here are some tips:
- Every child car seat sold and used in the United States must conform to all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). The child car seat must have a label showing that it does conform to FMVSS standards with the car seat’s manufacturing date and model number.
- The car seat must also have safety labels and directions displayed on the sides of the seat.
- Car seats are required to come with safety manuals and a registration card.
- Many counterfeit seats do not have a five-point harness or a chest clip, making the seat very dangerous to use.
Barbara Jones – a maternity nurse based at Vassar Brothers Medical Center in Poughkeepsie – was doing a car seat test for a late pre-term baby who was in the mother baby unit when she noticed the seat was a phony.
She noticed right away that the seat felt lighter than usual and had only a three-point harness. It had no chest clip or expiration date and displayed incorrect spelling on the label.
If you suspect that your child’s car seat is fraudulent or does not meet federal safety standards, notify the store and return it immediately. We encourage you to have your child’s car seat inspected three months before your due date and by a certified car seat technician.
You can schedule a no-cost seat check with our online appointment website here. Our nationally certified car seat technicians service the Hudson Valley and western Connecticut and will ensure that the child’s car seat is properly installed, not recalled or expired and is not fraudulent.
Wendy Hennessy is Supervisor of Nuvance Health Community Education and Peter Dandreano is the Nuvance Health Car Seat Program Supervisor. Both are nationally certified child safety seat technicians with Safe Kids with more than 15 years of experience.