Fake child car seats are being sold in the UK via online auction websites
It has recently come to light that fabric ‘child car seats’ are being sold on popular selling sites.
Many parents and childminders throughout the UK are being fooled into believing that these child car seats are safe to use for their children.
We had a look through one of these sites and read some of the sales posts - here’s an extract from one description on a seat we found:
“The portable baby safety seat is treated as the savior of baby’s safety in Europe and a new star among the family of baby car seats. The restricted and reasonable design, it is not only as safe as the traditional baby car seats but also to install, carry and wash easily.”
The manufacturers/sellers are claiming that these seats are just as safe as traditional car seats. Many people believe that if they’re allowed to be sold, then surely they must be just as safe – and surely they must have gone through all the same testing to be able to claim that?
The very sad fact is that the manufacturers/sellers of these killer car seats are lying.
These seats have been through NO official crash testing to allow them to be used in the UK. When Surrey County Council's trading standards team put these harnesses through their paces, the results were horrifying... they will bring a tear to any parents’ eye and send a shiver down their spine! (video above)
So what tests do seats have to pass to be sold in the UK/EU?
Any child seat sold in the UK must pass at least ECE R44.04, R44.03 or R129 i-Size and carry an approval label to show that it has been through the testing. The approval label will be on the child car seat in the form of an orange, yellow or white label. Below we have included several examples of official approval labels.
Approval R44.04: This part of the label will list what approval standard the seat has been tested to. In the UK and Europe, seats tested to R44.03, R44.04 or R129 i-Size may be used.
Weight Limits: The label will also detail the weight limit of the seat. This seat is a high back booster group 2,3 so the weight limit is 15kg – 36kg. If the seat is R129 i-Size, a height limit will be detailed.
E–circle: This shows the seat is tested to the European standard. The E stands for European and the number after it refers to the country it was tested in.
Serial Number: This number relates to the seat itself, the first two numbers “04301170” on this seat, refers to the approval the seat has (so an R44.03 seat will have “03____”) This number relates to where everything on the seat was sourced, what batch the harness and buckles came from, what machines and who manufactured it. If there is any requirement to do a recall on the seat or if anything is found to be wrong, this number is used to narrow down exactly what seats are affected. Under R44.04, every 5000th seat must be re-tested to ensure quality – this allows any faults to be picked up quickly and easily.
These fabric seats do not carry this label, and they have not been approved to any crash standard for the EU/UK.
That’s not to say that other seats sold online are official either. The Transport Research Laboratory released footage of counterfeit child car seats sold online, and these fake seats DO carry approval labels – albeit false ones!
Top tips for getting a good quality seat!
- NEVER buy a second hand car seat that you do not know the full history of or if you are not 100% sure that it will fit into your car.
- Always try and purchase at a retailer who can give you advice and check fitment – many retailers have budget seat options if money is tight.
- If you have to buy online, only buy from a reputable retailer - and always find out what is suitable for your car and child first!
- Check for the ECE label or i-Size label.
- If it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- If you are thinking of buying a seat you haven’t heard of before, go online and look for reviews, visit the manufacturers website and use search engines to find out more on the company.
- Check the instructions – instructions must be written in English (and will have other languages) – ensure the English is good and written correctly. Mis-spelt words and sentences that don’t make sense can be indicators to a fake seat!