The first discovery of a fake car seat was in 2019 at St. Luke’s Pediatric Education and Prevention Program in Idaho by a car seat technician helping the parents of a newborn baby leave the hospital. She noticed that appropriate safety labels were missing and the moving parts were not moving correctly. She also noticed the car seat was missing its chest clip. The family said the car seat was part of a three-part travel system branded as “SafePlus,” a name similar to a product line of a popular European brand. The car seat had been given to them as a gift and ordered through Amazon.

Since then, numerous counterfeit children’s car seats have been discovered, most sold online.

“Unfortunately, the $350 counterfeit seat that parent purchased likely wouldn’t do much in the event of even a minor accident,” says Yoav Mazar, founder of Doona, the world’s first complete and fully integrated travel system, allowing parents to move from car seat to stroller in seconds. The Doona retails for about $550.

Mazar’s team has tested multiple counterfeit versions of the Doona in the same lab they use to test the real thing. “The results were horrific,” according to Mazar. The dupes failed flammability tests, tested positive for dangerous chemicals in the textiles, and in the crash test the dummy babies fell right out of the car seats.

“Those making the fake car seats use materials that appear to be similar to those used on the real thing but aren’t as strong or fire-retardant as the authentic version. This results in expensive dupes that offer little actual protection to babies,” said Mazar.