• Steve Schmidt - Drive Safe Missoula

Can you spot the Fake?


So, you are shopping for a car seat for your new little one? You understand that your child will be the most important cargo you will ever transport. You want the best car seat for your budget. If you are like me, you might start your research by watching hours of “The Best Car Seats of 2022” videos and reading 30 or more “Ultimate Car Seat Buying Guide” articles. Naturally, it’s a rabbit hole, filled with so much information you’ll have a difficult time keeping track of all the details. However, it boils down to a few things:


1) Safety

2) Convenient

4) Budget


Now let’s say you find the perfect seat. It has a top notch safety rating, it’s easy to install, and super uber convenient. However, when you see the price tag, you feel a pressure deep in your chest.


Your next step? Shopping. Visit local stores, search Amazon, eBay, and even Alibaba.

Find the best price. Boom….There it is!


The exact car seat for a couple hundred dollars less than anywhere else. The only other time money flew out of your pocket this fast was when Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released on DVD.

Now just wait a minute.



Really? A $150 dollars less? YES…I’m saving money….Let’s Go! I’m a deal maker and besides, it’s the same exact car seat. See, look at the pictures!


Now let’s play that Old Sesame Street Game, “One of These Things is Not Like the Others” In this case, it two of these are not like the other.and there sould be some red flags...can you spot them?




Let’s take a closer look at the Google search for some of the Red Flags


Red Flag #1

Does not have the “Doona” logo on the pivot point of the handle

Red Flag #2

“Like Doona” – Meaning it looks like it but this seat hasn’t been crash tested “Like Doona” and your child could die in a car crash.

Red Flag #3

$399? That sound too good to be true…and it is. The Doona car seat sells for $550.That’s $550 from the manufacture or $550 any other outlets. I've never seen a price drop on this seat, so if you find one for $399.95, from an online store…what do you think you might have? A Fake Seat!

Red Flag #4

I’ve blurred out the name of all the companies selling the car seat, but I truly never heard of the two companies selling the knock-off seats on the right. Might as well be named Fake Car Seats-R-US. Please buy directly from the manufacture or a reputable business.

Red Flag #5

Trusted Site! Trusted by who? The person who typed the words “Trusted Site” on the ad? Yep. They trust that if you give them your money, they will keep it and give you a fake, untested, and horribly dangerous car seat in exchange. Maybe. Have a problem, need to return, expect a reply back? Trust, that’s likely not going to happen.



Red Flag #6

Again, No Doona Logo

Red Flag #7

Who is Mr.Doona and why would you let him care for your children? He just wants your money. I believe a Mr.Doona is featured in the YouTube video below. Check it out.

Red Flag #8

Again, with the price tag.


Note the car seat that is pictured on the left is a real Doona car seat. So why is it more expensive? It's being sold with the optional bag that is seen hanging from the handle.



Don’t Take My Word For It!


Other Tips


Once you purchase a car seat, be sure to register it with the origional manfacture. Each car seat comes with a unique serial number. If the manfacture doesn't recognize a serial number, you might have a fake seat.


Visit a Car Seat Fitting Station or have the seat checked by a Certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technician. They should be able to help you determine if you have a "Real" car seat and as an added benefit, they will spend time with you so you learn how to install the car seat correctly. This is important because 4 out of 5 or 80% of car seats are not installed correctly. In my personal experiences as a CPS Tech, I've found that over 90% of the car seats I've dealt with haven't been installed correctly.




Check out the Child Passenger Safety section of DriveSafeMissoula.com for some of the latest information and links to other resources to ensure you and your children are always riding as safely as possible.


Thank you and Drive Safe Missoula







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