Boise Hospital Finds Counterfeit, Illegal and Deadly Car Seats
Is saving a couple bucks worth your child's life?
“It’s pretty terrifying," St. Luke's car seat technician Brittany Joplin told KTVB. "There's no way a child would survive a crash in a seat like this."
It is believed online scam artists are preying on parents of the digital era that may be seeking lower prices.
KTVB reported Joplin came across a bogus car seat during a routine car seat check before discharging a woman and her newborn from St. Luke’s hospital in Nampa. The car seat was a gift from a family member, ordered on Amazon, and the mom had no idea it wasn’t safe.
It was at that point that Joplin realized the seat was not made to any legal or structural standard at all.
Joplin said the entire seat was made of plastic. She said one conclusive point was that there was no chest clip, which is a necessary item on all car seats in the United States.
Not only is this unsafe, it is very much illegal to use a car seat like this, as it doesn't meet federal testing standards.
Allegedly, the fraudulent child's seat did not come with a manual or registration card, nor did it contain any of the federal labels or stickers required on car seats, such as the manufacture date.
Equally shocking is one warning label on the chest straps that doesn’t make sense, reading: “Warning: Please use safety belts immediately after your baby can sit by himself.”
Joplin told KTVB that all legitimate car seats in the U.S. also have chest straps, and harness components are typically made of metal.
Be warned: if car seats are being advertised on a marketplace like Amazon as “buy one, get one free” or any other deal, they are not legitimate. They also warn of the language and grammar on the seat.
“If the English used to explain the car seat or any features is jumbled or doesn't use proper grammar it’s another big red flag that it’s likely not a legitimate car seat,” Joplin added to KTVB.
It can be tough to tell on the internet if something is a knock-off, often because the scammers will use real legitimate pictures of the brand they are impersonating. The counterfeit car seat shown to KTVB, complete with base and a stroller, was listed for around the same price as a real car seat, which can cause difficulty for a consumer to flag it.
“The biggest thing that made me upset was thinking of these companies, these businesses profiting off families just trying to keep their children safe,” Joplin said.
Joplin and others offered some advice, which we thought was important: watch out for car seats sold online through a third party vendor. If you're on Amazon, review the ratings and verified purchase comments; your safest bet is going with an item shipped from and sold by Amazon. Also, be wary of purchasing a used car seat on the internet.
NOTE: In addition, St. Luke's provides child passenger safety seats for families who may not be able to afford them.
Great work KTVB, and St. Lukes for bringing this information to light. We hope everyone thinks a little more carefully before purchasing something so important off the internet.