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Black Friday and Cyber Monday Car Seat Purchasing Advice

What is the Best Booster to Buy?  Who has the lowest price on a Britax Marathon?  Is that great deal too good to be true?

The biggest deals of the year are usually in the weeks around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and child safety seats are no exception!

Unfortunately, car seats are also no exception to scams and knockoffs.  Finding out you bought a carseat from a phony store that never delivers is bad enough when you missed out on legitimate bargains, but putting your baby into a lookalike that is untested and non-complaint with federal safety standards could be even worse!

Here are five important tips to getting a good deal on a safe car seat this shopping season:

  1. Buy from reputable stores.  Amazon, Target, Walmart, BuyBuyBaby, Albee Baby or other major online and brick & mortar baby stores have a real presence for customer service in the USA or Canada.  Read our article on spotting fake and scam web stores that advertise on facebook with prices far lower than anyone else.  Haven’t heard of a website even though it has authentic brand logos?  Call the manufacturer or message them on facebook to see if it is an authorized retailer in your country.  Car seats can be expensive to ship back if there is any issue, so ask first if they offer free return shipping or in-store returns.
  2. Even at Amazon and Walmart, be wary of third party sellers.  Many are legitimate, but a few are fake storefronts or sell knockoff products with no possibility of customer service or returns.  For example, the safest buys at Amazon are carseats listed as, “Ships from and sold by Amazon.com” with, “FREE Returns.”  If you’ve never heard of a third party reseller, read their reviews and make sure they have contact information including an address and try their phone number to ask about their return policy!
  3. Avoid unknown brands.  Read our report on cheap, portable carseats that are not compliant with government standards.  Car seats that meet government regulations require extensive/expensive design, testing and certification.  These major corporations have customer service staff for questions and warranty issues.  Un-certified, cheap carseats sold directly from overseas do none of this and those shill companies are likely to disappear when their products are found to be defective or illegal.  Brands you trust like Clek, Maxi-Cosi, Graco, Cosco, Chicco, Evenflo and others are major companies with legitimate retail presence online and in stores.
  4. See our guidelines on secondhand car seats.  Read about used or like-new carseats before buying on eBay, Craigslist or other auction sites or resale stores.  A gently used car seat in very good condition handed down from a relative or friend may be fine to use, but one with an unknown history may not be!
  5. Watch for DEALS!  We have a Car Seat Deals Tracker that our experts update manually at least daily during the shopping season.  We notify quickly when the best deals hit, so bookmark our tracker, “like” our facebook page and follow our deals post for the latest sales and coupon codes over Black Friday and Cyber Monday!  Only legitimate name brand products from reputable websites make our list!  Not sure what to buy?  Check our Recommended Carseats list with Editors’ Picks in each budget category from our expert staff or ask us on facebook.