Safety experts are warning parents about car seats from online third-party vendors after a family received a knock-off as a gift.
Specialists at St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital recently came across two “bogus car seats” during a routine safety check before discharging a woman and her newborn baby, the Associated Press reports.
Brittany Joplin, a car seat technician for the hospital’s Pediatric Education and Prevention Program in Boise, Idaho, said a woman brought out a car seat for her baby, but she noticed several details about the seat that would fail U.S. safety standards.
Joplin told KSVT:
“It’s pretty terrifying. There’s no way a child would survive a crash in a seat like this.”
A family member purchased the seat online. The safety expert said you could spot the car seat was fake by the flimsy construction and because the base of the seat was made of weak plastic and could easily bend.
There was also no chest clip to keep the baby from thrusting forward in a crash. Legitimate and tested car seats also require a series of warning labels and federally approved labels.
FAKE CAR SEAT ALERT 🚨 in the last week, @StLukesHealth found two fake car seats in the Treasure Valley during car seat inspections! I’ve never heard of this happening. How terrifying!!!
— Morgan Romero TV (@MorganRomeroTV) February 6, 2019
Jennifer Westendorf, the coordinator for Safe Kids Magic Valley, warns anyone looking to purchase a car seat online to not buy an unverified seat from third-party vendors on Amazon, Craigslist, or other websites.
“The seat that we caught here in the Magic Valley was a very high-end seat. It’s one that actually turns into a stroller so you’re looking at a price point $500 to $600 minimum and so if you’re getting that deal for $300 for this seat, chances are there’s something to miss there.”
A good car seat has strong straps and sturdy construction. They also warn that missing labels is a sign that there may be no way of knowing the history of the purchase.
Westendorf told consumers that a sturdy car seat is a worthwhile purchase and if an online price seems “too good to be true” it should raise some concerns.
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