A child safety expert is warning the public that cheap car seats sold online might not provide all the safety a child requires.
Katherine Hutka, a health promotions specialist with the IWK Children’s Hospital in Halifax, stumbled upon a cheap child car seat offered through a third-party seller on Walmart’s online store, but doesn’t believe the seat would provide the proper security for a young child.
The “portable baby safety car seat” -- which costs less than $35 with taxes -- is much smaller than a certified car seat and has clips resembling those on a backpack. The chair is no longer sold on the Walmart website.
“It looks more like something you could strap to a high chair, or something you might wear as a snuggly or a baby carrier,” Hutka told CTV Atlantic.
“In the event of a crash, is this going to protect the child from falling off of the seat onto the floor? Possibly,” she added. “Is it going to protect a child in a collision, in a crash? It is not. It's not going to keep a child safe and secure in their own seat.”
Hutka says car seat shoppers should look for a five-point harness, a Canada safety seal, a manual and a warranty card. The chair should cost around $100, she adds.
Some consumers also voiced their concern about the product.
“It's so flimsy,” said Maria Sardovia. “There's nothing on it. Even if it's like a booster seat, then it doesn't give you the protection that is needed.”
Child Safety Link, an injury prevention program at the IWK Health Centre, was curious how these seats would perform in the event of a collision and found crash test video where the seat launched so far forward that the dummy went through the windshield.
CTV Atlantic reached out to Walmart Canada, which said it is looking into the product.