Alaska Child Passenger Safety Coalition

Non-Approved? Aftermarket? Is this safe to use?

Items purchased separately for a car seat are either approved or non-approved (depending on whether or not they are approved for use by the specific car seat manufacturer). Products that are not approved are sometimes called "aftermarket" products and are advertised as improving the comfort, fit, appearance, or installation of car seats and/or seat belts. Examples include infant head-positioning pads, sheepskin car seat liners, retractable suction vehicle window shades, strap-on mirrors, and seat belt tightening devices.

There are no Federal standards for these products. For example, a seat belt adjuster label may say the product "meets all applicable federal standards" when no Federal standard for the product exists. Carefully read all manuals and instructions, including vehicle and car seat manufacturers' instructions and recommendations. Many vehicle and car seat manufacturers warn against using non-approved "extras" with their products.

Some devices can cause injury if not properly secured during a crash. Suction window shades and mirrors are two examples of objects that can harm vehicle occupants if they become projectiles during a crash. Window shades that cling to the windows are better to use.

*Note: some car seat manufacturers sell additional products that are approved to use in their specific brand of seats. Manufacturer-tested and approved accessories such as toys for their own brand of car seats are examples. Check product labeling for approved uses.