Let the buyer beware when it comes to infant car safety seats being sold in the Northwest, according to Safe Kids Missoula Co-Coordinator Kira Huck.

“Recently, our Safe Kids colleagues in Idaho and Washington state have come across knock-off infant car seats being sold through online third party vendors like Amazon,” said Huck. “These seats do not meet federal standards, meaning they would not protect a child in a crash. We’re trying to get the word out so that parents can be on the lookout for these car seats.”

Huck said there were no particular brand names mentioned, but that all appear to have been manufactured overseas.

“They’re missing a lot of things that are required,” she said. “All; car seats sold in the U.S. are required to have certain labels and safety warnings on the car seat,” she said. “One of those labels should certify that it meets the federal standards for use in motor vehicles,” she said. “It should also have the name and contact information for the manufacturer along with the date of manufacture, it should have the minimum and maximum weight limits for the car seat listed as well as some basic instructions for installation. In addition, some of the car seats did not include a chest clip, and that’s a good sign that it’s not a child car seat.”

Huck said these knock-off seats don’t come cheap.

“They are being sold as ‘travel systems’ that are priced at up to $500.00,” she said. “As a parent, you would think that a car seat that expensive would be legitimate, but they’re not. Any car seat at a box store is far less expensive and meets all federal safety standards. In addition, be mindful when purchasing used car seats on Craigslist or any other site, and avoid purchasing them at yard sales or from people you don’t know, because the car seat that’s been in a crash or hasn’t been taken care of properly may not be safe, and when you buy from these sites, you can’t be sure of the car seat’s history.”