We Want Affordable Non-Toxic Car Seats!

"We want affordable, non-toxic car seats!" This is the call of our new campaign, the Car Seat Detox Challenge. After the recent release of UPPAbaby’s innovative Mesa Henry infant car seat—which relies on wool instead of chemicals to achieve flammability standards—we are asking all car seat manufacturers to detox.

The Ecology Center’s HealthyStuff program found brominated flame retardants in 87% of (13 out of 15) seats recently tested (Read the report: Traveling with Toxics: Flame Retardants and Other Chemicals in Children’s Car Seats). Flame retardants have been shown to migrate out of products to contaminate air and dust and can be absorbed dermally as well. Brominated flame retardants, in particular, persist in the environment, bio-accumulate in our bodies, and are associated with an array of harmful effects, including reduced IQ, developmental delays, autism, hormone disruption, reproductive harm, obesity, and cancer. And they are not needed!

UPPAbaby is leading the charge for non-toxic car seats. And a small handful of companies may not be far behind. Two of the models we tested (by Britax and Maxi-Cosi) were free of all brominated FRs. And two other models (by Clek and Orbit Baby) only contained brominated FRs in minor components, such as velcro or on the warning label. These brands, however, still rely on other flame retardant chemicals, which are thought to be less toxic.

But, with prices ranging from $190 for a Maxi-Cosi seat to $450 for a Clek seat (with UPPAbaby’s Mesa Henry tagged at $350), these less toxic and non-toxic options are not options at all for most people.

Industry-wide innovation is required to keep these harmful chemicals out of our children’s car seats—and make them affordable for everyone. According to our testing, lower cost car seats, such as those made by Graco, Baby Trend, Cosco, Evenflo, and Safety 1st still contain brominated FRs, including in the fabric and other components, which directly contact babies and children.

Therefore, the Ecology Center has joined with national partners to create the Car Seat Detox Challenge. This campaign challenges car seat manufacturers to advance their designs to eliminate hazardous chemicals. We are asking these five major manufacturers—Graco, Baby Trend, Cosco, Evenflo, and Safety 1st—to take on the challenge because an affordable car seat should not have to come with a chemical exposure cost.

Please visit—and join!—the Car Seat Detox Challenge Facebook group and sign the petition.

The Ecology Center’s HealthyStuff program has tested hundreds of children’s car seats over the past ten years. Visit HealthyStuff to see the 2016 car seat report.


Published on May 30, 2017