What would you say if I told you there’s a car seat good from age 6 months to 8 years, weighs less than two pounds, and can easily fit into any backpack? Oh, and it costs a mere $31. Does that sound too good to be true?
Well, yes. Yes, it does. And when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Now and then someone will post on the car-seat.org forums about questionable foreign seats (usually sold on ebay) that don’t meet US safety standards… or any standards for that matter. The typical (and correct) response is to say that they’re dangerous and illegal and to stay away.
Although I’d never use it, I’ve always been tempted to purchase one of these seats, just because. A few years ago, an American company called Grandma Knows was marketing a horribly unsafe-looking sling-like seat that I tried to buy, but by the time I called, armed federal officials had broken into their warehouse in the dark of night and had seized all their merchandise. Or at least that’s what I envision having happened. In reality Grandma Knows probably received nothing more than a harshly worded letter from NHTSA. In any case, I didn’t get one of the seats.
So the other day, when a Chinese seat that clearly doesn’t meet federal safety standards became available on Amazon—a mainstream US retailer—I knew I had to act fast. At just $30.99, how could I pass up such a bargain? Plus my Amazon Prime membership made shipping fast and free. With just one click, my illegal foreign seat was on its way!