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Which car seat is the best choice? Which is the worst choice?

Always use a car seat regardless of our test ratings. These are critical safety devices. First, select a seat that meets your needs and has a high crash safety rating. Then, you may use our recommendations and test results to help you choose. All the 2016 car seats we tested contained at least one flame retardant chemical. We have grouped the seats into high, moderate and low recommendation categories. Unfortunately, the high and moderate recommendations are high-end seats that won't fit many people's budgets. That's why we are calling on car seat companies to make lower-cost seats that don't contain added flame retardants. We are confident it can be done. An affordable car seat should not have to come with a chemical exposure cost.

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Which car seat brands are the safest in crashes? Are certain car seat brands safer than others?

A variety of government and other independent organizations evaluate car seat safety.  Please refer to one of the following sites for detailed evaluations:

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Can I use past car seat studies to make educated decisions about purchasing specific car seat brands and models?

Car seat companies may have changed the materials and chemicals they use in their seats since previous reports. In some cases, we know for certain that major changes were made. The older results thus may not apply to current car seat models. Also, over time, our test methods have changed. We now test for additional chemicals with different analytical tools. As result our earlier testing is not directly comparable to our current test results. A summary of previous results are available here.

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The car seat I have is similar to a model tested in your study. Can I assume it will have the same results?

Our test results are valid only for the specific product tested. However, it is probable that a given company uses similar materials and chemicals in their different seat models. While we cannot guarantee this for any particular seat, we have seen this kind of similarity when we have tested more than one model of a particular brand.

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The specific car seat model that I would like to know about is not included in your report. Can you comment on my seat’s chemical safety?

We cannot provide information on car seats that we have not tested. We encourage you to contact the company and manufacturer about what chemicals have been added to a specific car seat. If the company won’t provide this information, let them know that consumers want and deserve to know what they are buying.

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I contacted the company and/or manufacturer of a specific car seat. They’re claiming that their car seats are safe and free of harmful chemicals. Can you confirm this?

We encourage all companies to provide complete and verified disclosure of the chemical composition of their products. Companies can do this through working with third party labs to validate any claims they are making.

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How often do you test car seats?

We have tested car seats six times since 2006. We will be testing products again in the future but do not have a specific date set.

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When will your next car seat study be released?

We would love to release data more often, but testing car seats is very expensive and time-consuming. Each seat costs our lab between $300 and $600. We are doing everything we can with the resources available to us.

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Can you notify me when your next car seat report comes out?

Yes, of course! Please join our mailing list to receive updates about our newest studies.

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Where can I find your past car seat reports?

Our recent reports on children's car seats were in 2015 and 2011. Please be advised that many companies use different materials and/or chemicals than they did in previous years. You can also view our archived car seat database. 

         
IMPORTANT NOTE: HealthyStuff.org ratings do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product, or any individual element or related chemical.