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9/19/23 blog post

don't compromise on safety: how to detect counterfeit car seats

mother putting child in her car seat

Counterfeit car seats being sold through online retailers are becoming more common within the last few years. These seats usually appear to be knock-offs or cheaper options of more popular car seat brands, so to a caregiver, they may appear perfectly safe to buy.  

But be warned, there is a big risk to using these fake car seats! 

Car seats are made using a safe, thoroughly tested design; while counterfeit car seats are usually made with cheaper materials and non-federally regulated designs that are unsafe. The materials and engineering in these counterfeit car seats have not been tested and are not considered safe. They may even have some missing safety functions like chest retaining clips and correct harnesses.  

So what can you do? How can you spot a counterfeit seat?  
  1. Check the labels: Federally compliant car seats are required to have many safety labels, specifically a warning label with a yellow header that states, “This child restraint system conforms to all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).” Look for this label on your car seat. Other signs could be spelling errors or missing labels altogether.  
  2. Check the paperwork: All car seats are required to include manuals and registration cards. Check the box and your car seat to see if your seat has these items. 
  3. Speaking of that registration card… fill that out and send it back! This will help you learn about recalls, safety notices and claiming your warranty in the event of a car crash.   
  4. If it looks wrong, or obviously different, it may be counterfeit: Many fake car seats are missing at least one required element. The most common missing piece required in the United States is the chest clip. If it doesn’t have the clip, even if it is a European seat, it isn’t approved to be used in the United States.  
  5. Know your retailer: When looking for a store to make your car seat purchase, be aware of third-party sellers and generic brands. Check out brands that are being sold in stores and see if the seat you have chosen is even sold at that retailer on the car seat manufacturers website. Also, check and see if that car seat is shipped directly from the manufacturer.  

Unsure if your seat is counterfeit or have car seat questions?  

Make an appointment to visit a child passenger safety technician at a car seat fitting station today! Check this map to find a fitting station near you.  

Abbey Pettiford

Injury Prevention Coordinator
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car seat safety

A Dayton Children's car seat technician will work with you to make sure your car seat is properly installed in your vehicle. Most car seat checks take 30 to 45 minutes.

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