We all know that child car seats are designed to protect and shield our little ones from the dangers and hazards of driving on the road, but what about the dangers of the chemicals used to make them. By law, all safety seats in the US are required to be made with fire retardant materials, but the toxicity of some of the chemicals that manufacturers use to achieve this can be alarming. A recent study found that nearly three quarters of the child seats being sold today contain some form of potentially hazardous flame retardant chemicals. This may mean that while your child may be safe from the forces of a crash, you may be unknowingly exposing them to something that may pose a health risk down the line.
This may be shocking to hear at first, because we all try to do the best for our children to protect them and keep them healthy, but all is not lost. There are some child seat makers that have recognized that the use of these types of chemicals in their seats is not the best practice and their are some models that are safer than others in this regards. We found a few options for parents that may be concerned about this issue and want a safer alternative for their children to ride in on a daily basis.
Car Seats With The Least Exposure
Below are just some of the manufacturers that have taken steps to reduce or eliminate the use of the more harmful flame retardant chemicals in their seats.
Surprisingly, the Britax seats that were test were proven to be some of the safer options on the market. They contained the lowest level of chemicals and offered the lowest level of risk to children. This is surprising because they are also one of the biggest and most popular brands out there. The latest convertible car seat ratings bear this out. Since their car seats are so readily available online, this gives parents a good option at more budget friendly price points. Of the child seats that test best, Britax makes the most affordable models so you will not have to break the bank to find a lower toxic seat.
Three of Britax’s car seats were test, 2 booster seats and 1 convertible safety seat, and they scored the best with the lowest amount of exposure risk according to the study.
Clek Foonf Convertible Seat
Not only is this a safe seat as far as crash protection, but it also scored better than the other seats test, other than Britax. The one downside about this Clek seat is that it is rather expensive. For anyone on a tight budget this will probably not be an option as they typically run north of $400. However, if you can afford its price tag then the Foonf is definitely worth the price. It is generally highly rated by owners.
Main Areas of Concern
The two main areas of a car seat that get treated with chemicals is the seat cover and the underling foam. Some seats may not treat their covers with flame retardants but their foam may contain them. Of the 15 seats that were tested, the Britax and Clek scored the best and if you are truly concerned about exposing your child to the potential dangers of these chemicals then they are probably going to your best options at this time. None of the seats were completely chemical free, but these two had the lowest amounts and represent the safest choices currently available. Graco, Baby Trend, and Orbit scored the worst. Orbit has actually gotten some bad press from this study as one of its main selling points was how safe it was in this area.
Hopefully as more parents become aware of this issue, the more attention car seat manufacturers will pay to the chemicals they use. It is a major selling point and we don’t see why this should not become a trend, especially for price that some of the current seats on the market go for. If you currently have a car seat and are concerned about this hazard then one alternative is to replace the cover with something organic and chemical-free. This will be a less expensive method than buying a whole new seat that help reduce your child’s exposure.