Families with young children are warned not to buy illegal car seats which are supplied direct from China and fail all UK safety standards. West Sussex Trading Standards officers are working with online retail giant Amazon to have the products removed from their marketplace site.
The seats are made from fabric and not solid construction like most car seats. They also have four catches securing the straps, which is illegal – there must only be one quick release mechanism that releases all straps at once so the child can be removed quickly after an accident.
Amazon have stopped listing the products but other foreign websites are still flouting UK law and selling the seats online to British customers.
The Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has been alerted to the problem.
Peter Aston, West Sussex County Council’s Trading Standards Manager, said: “With a truly global market these days, foreign companies with no EU presence are increasingly advertising in the UK and shipping direct to customers. Such companies are incredibly difficult to regulate as they are not subject to UK law.
“We are aware of similar car seats that have been tested and this has shown that they provide totally inadequate protection and I have no doubt that in a car accident there is a strong possibility that any child in one would be killed.”
Jackie Boyle, Community Fire & Road Safety Officer for West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service, added: “As a fire service, sadly, we see the aftermath of road traffic collisions on a regular basis. Even in a minor collision if a child is not properly restrained in a correctly fitted car seat, the consequences can be devastating.
“These seats are downright dangerous. There is no such thing as a bargain when it comes to buying a car seat so please don’t put your child’s life at risk. Go to a reputable retailer and look for a label showing a capital ‘E’ in a circle. That means its EU safety approved.
“If you need advice about the correct car seat for your child then the Good Egg Guide has great information on how to find the best seat for your child’s height, weight and size.”
The illegal car seats are labelled ‘Paibi Bear.’
If you have bought one, the advice is to stop using it immediately.
If you see any of this type of car seat on sale at markets or car boot sales then you can let Trading Standards know online or by phoning: 03454 040506.