Counterfeit Car Seats: Parents May Be Using a Knockoff Without Knowing It
Last month, a Cook Children’s Child Passenger Safety Technician found a fake brand car seat, which was a dupe of a popular brand. The car seats were eerily similar.
By Eline deBruijn Wiggins
Child Passenger Safety Week is Sept. 18 through Sept. 24. National Seat Check Saturday is Sept. 24, 2022.
Choosing a car seat for your baby can be overwhelming. There are so many different colors, styles and price points. But there’s one more thing to keep in mind – these popular brands are being knocked off to create counterfeit car seats.
These knockoffs may be cheaper, but are less likely to protect your child in a crash. Some parents don’t even know that their seat is a knockoff, due to ecommerce sites or purchasing car seats on social media. The dupes are eerily similar.
Last month, a Cook Children’s Child Passenger Safety Technician found a fake brand car seat, which was a dupe of a popular brand. There were a few differences that could be easily overlooked, unless you know what to look for.
Cook Children’s has Certified Child Passenger Safety technicians (CPST’s) who know how to properly use and install car seats within the Medical Center to ensure our patients ride safely. Under the Center for Children’s Health and Safe Kids North Texas there are also CPST’s who work in the community and have partnerships with fire departments, police departments and other community agencies to help educate the communities around us. “My fear is there is going to be more and more fakes out there and parents really need to be vigilant to make sure they have a true crash tested safety seat that will protect their child in the car at all times,” said Sharon Evans, RN, BSN, CPN, CPSTI, trauma injury prevention coordinator at Cook Children’s.
Cook Children’s Child Passenger Safety Technicians educate caregivers/patients/families on car seat safety and know what is required for car seats to meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. On the authentic seat, safety warning labels are much more informative with detailed, written information, which are required by law. The fake car seat had safety symbols and pictograms, but no wording.
Fake car seats may have incorrect features altogether, such as strap width, which when placed on authentic car seats will protect an infant or toddler’s fragile bodies in a crash.
The knockoffs do not meet federal safety standard guidelines set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Authentic car seats have passed rigorous safety standards and crash safety tests.
Parents and caregivers who shop online will want to stay extra vigilant for fake car seats. The best way to ensure your child’s car seat is authentic is to buy directly from the manufacturer or from a reputable retail store.
- Great deal on a car seat. If it’s “too good to be true,” it probably is.
- Do not purchase from someone on social media.
- Do not purchase from ecommerce sites, which allow for third-party sellers and can lead to a counterfeit car seat.
What can I do? Is my child’s car seat authentic?
- Call the manufacturer. They can help you determine if it’s a knockoff. Sometimes they will ask you to submit photos.
- Take your car seat to be checked by a certified child passenger safety technician. They are trained to help determine if it’s fake.
- Find a Child Passenger Safety Technician: Welcome! | National CPS Certification (safekids.org)
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration maintains a directory of many inspection stations.
- Additional information about car seat safety from the Texas Department of State Health Services
Car Seat Check Saturday: Sept. 24, 2022. Events are scheduled across Fort Worth and Willow Park areas.
- Register and view upcoming events at www.freecarseatcheck.org
Did you know?
Car crashes are a leading cause of death for children, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. On average, two children under 13 were killed and an estimated 374 were injured every day in 2019 while riding in cars, SUVs, pickups, and vans.
- 608 child passenger vehicle occupants died in traffic crashes in 2019.
- 38% of children who died in 2019 while riding in passenger vehicles were unrestrained, compared to 33% in 2018.
There hasn't been a “death-free” day on Texas highways since 2000, that's more than 78,000 deaths. #EndTheStreakTX (txdot.gov)
- This year so far 2,839 deaths, as of Sept. 14, 2022
- 2021 had 4492 deaths
- 2020 had 3897 deaths (10.5/day)
- 2019 had 3623 deaths (10/day)