BBC TV’s investigative series Panorama has discovered potentially dangerous child car seats for sale on Amazon’s UK store.
The issue has been raised with Amazon, which says they have now been removed from sale.
In 2019 we found fabric child car seats available to buy from eBay, Amazon and AliExpress, despite repeated warnings from Trading Standards and Which? about them being potentially unsafe.
Opt for a safe option and choose a Best Buy child car seat.
What’s wrong with these car seats?
Surrey Trading Standards first warned about these types of car seat in 2014.
Footage was released of a fabric car seat disintegrating during a crash test. The crash test dummy, representing a three-year old child, is shown being catapulted into the front of the car by the forces created during a 30mph crash. The fabric child car seat is ripped apart at the seams.
Our 2019 investigation also identified safety labelling issues:
- Listings marketed the fabric car seats as being suitable for children from 0-5 years old, when the seats quite clearly lacked the kind of support needed to protect young babies and toddlers in a collision.
- The seats were described as, ‘strong, durable, comfortable, safe’ and boasted ‘advanced side protection: lateral energy absorbers reduce force in the event of a side impact’.
- Some listings contained small print warnings that the seat should not be used in a high-speed car, despite the listing title quite clearly stating the product was a child car seat.
Watch what happened in a crash test and find out more about why these seats are unsafe by watching our video from our 2019 investigation.
Sue Davies, head of consumer protection at Which?, says:
‘It’s extremely concerning that Amazon doesn’t appear to have taken the basic steps needed to keep these potentially lethal car seats off the market, a year after we first exposed the serious safety issue.
‘This is an issue that we’ve exposed time and time again across a whole range of products, and it’s clear that consumer protections on online marketplaces are nowhere near strong enough.
‘As the government looks to increase regulation of online platforms, it must make marketplaces legally responsible for preventing unsafe products from being sold on their sites.’
What does Amazon say?
An Amazon spokesperson told the BBC:
‘Safety is extremely important to us and we regret that these products were available from third-party sellers using our stores.
‘After a thorough investigation, we identified the issue and are removing these products, and we’re also contacting each customer who purchased one of these products to explain the situation and issue a refund.
‘We will continue to leverage and improve our tools and technology to ensure only safe and compliant car seats are available worldwide.’
How to buy a safe child car seat
If you are looking to buy a baby or child car seat, follow these tips:
- Check that the car seat has a label with ECE R44-03, ECE R44-04 or ECE R129, which shows it’s legal to be sold on the UK market.
- Buy your car seat from a retailer who can give advice and help you fit the car seat correctly into your car.
- Never buy a second-hand car seat as you can’t tell whether it has been in any crashes just by looking at it. There could be internal damage, which could compromise the structural safety and isn’t obvious from the outside.
- Car seats should come with instructions written in clear English.
- If a car seat seems extremely cheap, the price is probably too good to be true.
For more tips on buying a child car seat that’s safe and durable, read our guide on how to buy the right child car seat.
Which? car seat testing
We crash test every baby, toddler and child car seat we review to reveal which ones give the best protection in a crash, and which you should avoid.
Our experts have specially designed the crash tests, making them more demanding than the legal minimum standard requires. We feel this more accurately reflects what could happen in a real crash.
Read our how we test baby car seats advice guide to find out what makes a Which? Best Buy car seat.
The Panorama programme Amazon: What They Know About Us will be broadcast on BBC One at 20:30 GMT.