Think twice before using things in your car seat that did not come with the seat..Infant Support Inserts, Head Rests, Pillows, and other Comfort Items
January 16, 2015
This is a reprint of a great article published by our friends at Car Seat for the Littles. The article discusses all the different products that are marketed to 'help' children in their car seat.
Here we see little Freya in her car seat with a boatload of non-regulated products. She looks comfy, but this isn’t safe for our Little. As a general rule, products sold separately from your child restraint should not be used, due to the fact that these products may affect the safety of your restraint in a crash. Even a seemingly minor change to your restraint could alter the way is designed and tested to perform in a crash, resulting in serious injury or death. Many products have a label that says “Crash Tested!” and even add “to FMVSS standards” on the box or in the product manual, but this is a little misleading since there is nothing in FMVSS that covers these items; hence the term “non regulated”.
There is no way to know how a mirror, harness pads, seat protector mat, or anything else that doesn’t come with the seat will change how it performs during a crash. There’s no crash test performance standard or benchmark for testing, so while companies do claim to test items like harness pads or inserts, we just don’t know what is being done, or how, and what the results of the tests were. We do know that any item which comes with your restraint or is approved for use by the manufacturer with your restraint has been tested with it, and so we know that they’re safe to use when used properly. There are, of course, gray areas and we wish to provide with the information you need to make an informed decision. Below we have listed some of the most common non regulated products, the concern the may pose, and our recommendations for safe alternatives when applicable.