Even when purchasing a new car seat or booster seat, make sure it has the required Federal sticker which allows for use in the United States. This sticker is always required. It has valuable information such as manufacturer and model name, date of manufacture, expiration date, etc. This sticker informs you that it is allowed for use in the United States. It also provides information needed to check for recalls and related use information.
This sticker is white, generally rectangular in shape and can be found on the bottom or back of the car seat or booster seat. For infant, rear-facing only car seats, there are two stickers, one for the car seat carrier and one for each base.
Look for the required Federal sticker on your car seat (similar as to the above). This shows any expiration dates, information to check for recalls and illustrates that the seat has met Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) Number 213 of Title 49, Part 571 and legal to use in the United States. In addition, the car seat or booster seat will have contact information in the U.S. to contact the company for recall, problems, registration information, etc. If the car seat or booster seat does not have this sticker, do not use it! If it is a new car seat or booster seat without one, return it for a refund immediately!
If purchasing a car seat or booster seat ONLINE, make sure it has this sticker and appropriate instructions that show it is allowed for use in the United States. There are some car seats for sale on trusted websites such as Amazon and eBay, for example, that do not have these stickers and are not allowed for use in the United States. Remember a car seat or booster seat without this sticker is NOT safe, nor legal and has not been crash tested under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard 213. As a result it is not clear how that car seat or booster would perform during a car crash. This puts your child at risk of severe injury or death in the event of a collision. Further the driver and/or parent are at risk of being ticketed because of driving with a child without a U.S. approved child restraint system. So if it does not have this sticker, return it for a full refund immediately. Anytime you are unsure always talk with a Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.