Transport Canada says after market products for car seats could be dangerous
MISSISSAUGA- Third party products sold to parents as safe and comfy options for children in car seats could pose a hazard to children in the event of a collision, according to Transport Canada.
What’s more, the products aren’t regulated.
Suzanne Tylko, the chief of crash worthiness for Transport Canada, Suzanne Tylko says the products are not regulated simply because there are too many of them.
“With such a variety of attachments, I really can’t see how you could come up with a regulation that would cover all of this.” says Tylko.
The products range from bunting bags, to shoulder straps, head rests, toys, even mirrors for rear facing child restraints.
“In a collision, the forces are very, very severe,” Tylko said. “Everyone in that vehicle is going to move around – possible, quite violently.”
According to Jen Shapka, a child safety seat technician, some of the products can become displaced and turn into projectiles. Other things, like bunting bags, may look warm and comfortable says Shapka, but can create so much slack between child, seat, and strap the baby will move up the seat could be ejected.
The government agency advises parents to communicate with the manufacturer of the child restraint and read the instruction manual.
“Ask them if they approve the use because all of the testing that is done for compliance and certification of that child restraint is safe enough for use, does not include aftermarket products,” Tylko said.
Transport Canada does conduct crash tests for side and front impact collisions but not for aftermarket products. Tests for third party products are only done if a specific incident is being investigated. One product that has been tested is a mirror for rear facing infant restraints.
Tylko said the test shows the infant seat acting as it should, with the seat lifting forward in the vehicle. What that motion does however, is force the face of the test dummy into the mirror.
“You can imagine, “ she said. “For a face to come into contact with that, is probably not a good idea.”
Transport Canada says if a child is seated properly in a restraint fitted for his or her weight and height, the seat should protect the child.
“If you add accessories around the seat, “ Tylko said. “You have to be careful that you don’t degrade the excellent protection that’s available to him there.”