Illegal and ‘potentially deadly’ car seats available online

09.05 | 19 February 2019 | | | 4 comments

Image: Which?

Child car seats which are illegal in the UK are being offered for sale online, despite repeated warnings, according to the consumer group Which?.

Which? says the seats, which sell for as little as £8 and are made of fabric, could be ‘potentially deadly’ if involved in a car crash.

The online sites in question – Amazon, eBay and AliExpress – all say they have removed the seats from sale, but in a press release published on 16 February Which? asks: “Why are eBay and Amazon still selling these ‘killer car seats’?”

Which? Goes on to say that online marketplaces ‘cannot continue to turn a blind eye to dangerous and illegal products being sold on their sites’.

Alex Neill, managing director of Which? home products, said: “Parents will be horrified at the thought they could be unwittingly putting their child’s life at risk with one of these ‘killer’ car seats.

“Online marketplaces cannot continue to turn a blind eye to dangerous and illegal products being sold on their sites.

“The UK’s product safety regime is in dire need of reform. More needs to be done by big businesses and Government to protect consumers from dangerous products.”

Surrey Trading Standards first warned that fabric car seats were available to purchase online in 2014, dubbing them ‘killer car seats’.

Which? says that, despite warnings, they have repeatedly re-appeared for sale online ever since.

Image: Which?

Both Road Safety GB’s specialist advisors with regard to child car seats are united in their condemnation of these car seats and the online sites where they have been offered for sale.

Jan James, CEO of Good Egg Safety CIC, said: “When are we going to have a serious conversation about online sellers of child car seats? This isn’t the first time this particular ‘seat’ has been sold online.

“Amazon, eBay and AliExpress have seriously failed their customers and if anything happened, heaven forbid, they must accept culpability for it.

“There is a bigger issue here, however, than this rogue seat, alarming as it is. Buying seats online is one of the greatest threats to child in car safety. Why? Because to do its job effectively it must fit the car and child first.

“Unless it’s iSize (in an iSize car) a child seat has to be tried in the car before purchase.”

Julie Dagnall, director of Child Seat Safety, said: “There are so many products on sale that initially look like a good idea for helping transport children safely, but it’s vital that consumers know that it passed the appropriate safety tests, before they consider purchasing them – and sadly so many do not.  

“It has been a concern of ours that products like this can be sold – and we brought this product to the attention of Which? back in January 2017.

“We have been highlighting the dangers with these and other products and accessories in our IOSH qualification since the courses began back in 2011, so that the messages about the lack of testing and certification of these products can be passed on by qualified advisors to parents and carers.”

Which? says any customers that have bought one of the seats should stop using it immediately and return it, ‘as it’s not fit for purpose as required by the Consumer Rights Act’.


 

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    Hugh
    We can show you many photographs of written off cars with the child seat ( and more importantly, the child) still intact.
    Read one of our case studies in our Good Egg Guide ( digital.goodeggsafety.com) about little Brooke whose life was saved due to her seat.
    While obviously it’s best to avoid a collision in the first place, crashes can and do happen. It’s the responsibility of all of us to ensure child occupants are in the safest seats possible to minimise harm.


    Jan James, Saffron Walden
    Agree (13) | Disagree (0)
    +13

    In those scenarios Jan, you’re confident a legal, safe seat would prevent death or injury are you? I wouldn’t be, so I would avoid the crash in the first place, which is the best thing we can do to ‘help protect our kids in cars’ and which we owe them and not hope for the best when the crash happens.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (2) | Disagree (14)
    --12

    Hugh

    Two scenarios

    1. The driver transporting their child in that illegal seat is hit by a less responsible driver through no fault of their own and their child is potentially killed or seriously injured.
    2.The driver makes an error (their fault) and the child in the illegal seat is potentially killed or seriously injured.

    Common theme? In either scenario, the child, an innocent and vulnerable little passenger potentially loses its life. Please don’t make inane comments like this. It really doesn’t help protect our kids in cars.


    Jan James CEO Good Egg Safety, Saffron Walden
    Agree (17) | Disagree (2)
    +15

    The emotive word ‘killer’ placed before ‘child car seat’ could equally be placed before the word ‘car’ or ‘driver’. It’s the car that crashes, not the seat and it is the driver that has ultimate responsibility not to crash, not the manufacturer/retailer of the car or in this case, something that goes in the car (the child seat), it seems to me.


    Hugh Jones
    Agree (0) | Disagree (11)
    --11