PARENTS are being warned to make sure their child’s car restraint meets the mandatory Australian safety standards after a dodgy car seat was spotted being sold to unsuspecting parents online.
The warning from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) comes after safety officers noticed the non-compliant car restraint being promoted online as “Safety Baby Child Car Seat – Toddler infant convertible booster”.
Although this particular unsafe product is no longer available online, the OFT warns similar non-compliant products are still being sold on sites such as eBay and Gumtree where they are listed under various names.
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These car restraints have been found to be similar in design and marketing to goods that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued a Public Warning notice about back in 2011.
The Office of Fair Trading warns these products are likely to fail to protect children adequately in an accident, with suppliers incorrectly claiming the products are safe for use.
Consumers are being warned not to buy these products and anyone who may have already purchased one is advised to stop using it immediately.
In Australia, car restraints must comply with a mandatory safety standard, including meeting various requirements for performance, design, and construction.
If a car restraint does not comply with the mandatory safety standard, it is not fit, nor safe, nor legal to be sold in Australia as it would potentially place lives at risk.
Fair Trading Executive Director Brian Bauer said the easiest way to confirm a car seat or restraint is safe is by checking whether it meets the mandatory Australian safety standard.
“Look for a label that says Complies with Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754 – if you can’t see this, don’t buy it,” Mr Bauer said.
“If a car restraint does not meet the mandatory safety standard, it is unlikely to be able to protect a child adequately in a car accident.
“Don’t gamble with your child’s safety by purchasing an unsafe car restraint.”
The following should be followed when purchasing children’s car restraints:
- Look for a label that says Complies with Australian Standard AS/NZS 1754 – if you can’t see this label, do not buy the product.
- Make sure the seat or restraint is suitable for the type of car, and age and size of child.
- If buying second-hand, check the condition of the product. Do not buy if it shows signs of wear and tear, such as cracks or frays in the straps.
- If buying second-hand, ask if it has been in a car accident. If it has, do not buy, even if it looks fine.
- If you are buying a product second-hand, check the Product Safety Recalls website to ensure it hasn’t been subject to a previous safety recall.
- Do not buy or use a product more than ten years old. The date of manufacture is often stamped in the product.
- Compliant products will always come with manufacturer’s instructions for installation and use. When installing, follow the instructions. If you do not have instructions (for example, if you purchased second hand), contact the manufacturer or an authorised safety restraint fitting station.
- It is important to remember that children’s car restraints in Australia must be fitted with a top tether strap, even if they have the ISOFIX system.
Suppliers may face heavy fines, enforcement action and safety recalls if they sell child car restraints that do not meet the standard.
Further information on the child car restraint standard and product safety recalls can be found here.
Consumers and traders can report unsafe products to the OFT here, or by calling 13 QGOV (13 74 68).