Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Non-Toxic Car Seats: A Much Needed New Study

By far, the post that I have written that has resonated the most, that has been read the most and commented on the most are the two associated with choosing a non-toxic car seat.   Clearly, exposing our kids to chemicals like brominated flame retardants on a daily basis, chemicals that have been beyond proven harmful to our children, is something that many parents are whilling to go to lengths to avoid.

One of the biggest frustrations by parents (including myself) looking to buy a new non-toxic car seat is finding companies, which have pledged to remove chemicals from their car seats, who have either not made any changes or have replaced toxic chemicals with new, but just as toxic, chemicals.

For example: in 2012 Graco disclosed that it had indeed removed cancer causing flame retardant chlorinated Tris, but in its place Graco is now using TBBPA... another quite harmful chemical that has been shown to affect thyroid hormone activity.


Yes, to an extent it makes safety sense for a car seat to have flame retardants - in case of an accident you would want your munchkin to be protected from any fire that could break out. However, companies like Orbit Baby have found non- halogenated (i.e. not as toxic) fire retardants that can be used and are just as effective.

The type of fire retardants we want to avoid are brominated and chlorinated flame retardants (BFRs & CFRs). These are mostly added to plastics and have been associated with thyroid problems, learning and memory impairment, decreased fertility, and behavioral changes.  


Good luck.  It is really hard.   Except for a few good companies (see them listed in our post 'Chemical Conscious Parents  UPDATE on Non-Toxic Car Seats' ), most major car seat retailers have been really wishy washy and kist not honest about what is in their car seats. 

Luckily, the folks at HealthyStuff.org are trying to make the process of choosing a non-toxic and safe car seat much easier for parents.   They already have created an online database which ranks popular products and their toxicity levels .  Now, they are looking to complete a new study that will test the most popular car seats sold in the US and find out if they have made any changes to their products regarding chemicals used.  Finally some answers.

A study like this, however, needs funds.   This is why HealthyStuff.org contacted me recently and asked if I could share with you what they are trying to do: they have launched a crowdfunding campaign via IndieGoGo to help fund these tests this summer.  For me, its a noble cause.  This study will not only help parents know what car seats are exposing their kids to what chemicals,  but it will - hopefully- make the manufacturers live up to their promises and force others to take out unnecessary toxic chemicals from their products,

In 2011 over 60% of tested car seats were found to contain at least one known toxic chemical- its definitley time to see what is going on in 2014!

If you are interested in donating to or sharing the campaign , please visit their Indigogo Campaign page today!


  1. Would you recommend Phil and Ted? They stated no flame retardants are used in their car seats and strollers. Do you have any information on this company

    1. Hi! Thanks for bringing Phil and Ted to my attention - they have great strollers so I contacted the company and it appears they do not add flame retardants to their products. This is what they had to say:
      Thanks for getting in contact. All products sold here meet ALL other worldwide standards as North America has some of the toughest product standards. We not only pass, but exceed every safety standard worldwide!

      No Phil and Teds or Mountain Buggy stroller and high chair products sold in the USA have been treated with fire retardants We work closely with our supply network to ensure our products do not contain harmful flame retardants such as all major diastereoisomers and Alkanes, C10-13, chloro (Short Chain Chlorinated Paraffins). Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (brominated flame retardant) is something generally used in the electronics industry for wire coatings. It is not something that is usual in our industry unless a product contains electronics.

      Chemical testing of all materials used on phil&teds products is something that is taken seriously by phil&teds to ensure the safety of your child. We test our products to European, Australia, New Zealand, and American standards and legislation, including the relevant European directives. These have strict requirements for chemical testing of children's products. As an example some of the chemicals we test for are as follows: Lead, Cadmium, Antimony, Chromium, Barium, Mercury, Selenium, Arsenic and Phthalates. All our products adhere to, and exceed the chemical requirements as stipulated by respective legislation in all our markets of operation.

      For more information about the tests each of our products have undergone, please see www.philandteds.com/certificates. You can download the certification for the product you are interested in.
      At phil&teds safety comes first that’s why we pride ourselves on attaining relative standards for all our products and keeping up to date with legislation in all our markets. The main worldwide recognized standards are the British/European (BSEN), Australian/New Zealand (AS/NZS) and American (ASTM). We exceed these and product safety standards in all 50 countries that we operate in. Also proving our dedication to the cause we’re the first and ONLY juvenile hardware company to achieve full CPSIA compliance with the new CPSIA standard in the US -"

      The link they provided for the certificates is not working, so I am waiting to hear back from them so that I can take a detailed look at these before officially saying I recommend them - I will let you know. Thanks for your comment!