It's not uncommon to discover that a bottle of perfume or a purse that you like is a knockoff. You may have even intentionally been looking for a knockoff to get the designer look without the designer price. We live in a world where knockoffs are totally acceptable...except when it comes to safety and car seats for kids.
The safety of a child is of the utmost importance and most parents don't play around when it comes to protecting their kids. That's why it was so upsetting when The Washington Post put out a report recently letting shoppers know that knock off car seats were showing up for purchase on online retail shops. Laurel Schamber, a certified child-passenger safety technician recently discovered one first hand.
In an interview with the The Washington Post, she told them while inspecting a car seat,“It looked like a deconstructed backpack. It’s made of backpack material, no manufacturer name, no labeling, nothing. There was no chest clip. There was nothing to hold the child into the seat of the vehicle.” The customer bought the car seat on Groupon, but when researched further, it turns out that similar car seats were available for purchase on multiple websites, including Aliexpress, Amazon, and eBay. The online retailers have since taken the car seats off of their websites but it's upsetting to know that they were there in the first place.
When it comes to car seat safety, parents are advised to play it completely safe and should only be using certified car seats. A certified car seat has gone through rigorous safety tests and inspections and has been certified as safe for use. Just like a good knockoff purse, at first glance, it can be pretty hard to distinguish a knockoff car seat from a certified car seat so parents have to rely mostly on intuition.
We all want to save money, but if you find a car seat on "sale" for a significant dollar amount less online than you can at your local Target, then there's a good chance that its a knock off. If shopping in an actual store or on their website, it's probably safe to assume that you're getting the real deal as long as the site doesn't use third-party sellers.
Additionally, The Washington Post advises that parents always check the product on the manufacturer's website prior to purchase and as an extra precaution, the American Academy of Pediatrics publishes a list of certified car seats that you can double-check to confirm that your car seat is not a knock off.
The appeal of these car seats is that they're cheaper than their named brand counterparts, sometimes half as much. The issue though is that car seats typically go through safety tests to ensure that they'll protect your child in the event of an accident and these knockoff brands have had no such testing. So while consumers may be saving money, it may be in vain if the car seat that they're buying doesn't do what it was meant to do.