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.
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’.