Flame retardants found in baby goods and furniture is nothing new. In fact, earlier this year, one study found that possibly 80% of car seats, high chairs, strollers and other baby products contain polyurethane foam may also contain potentially toxic flame retardants. However, what’s a little more unsettling is new research released today from by the nonprofit Ecology Center at the consumer-friendly site, HealthyStuff.org. What this new research shows is that many 2011-model car seats were found to be virtually free of dangerous chemicals. That’s great news! Now we know, for a fact that car seat manufacturers CAN make healthier car seats. Sadly though, what this research also reveled is that 60% of 2011-model car seats tested did contain at least one dangerous substance. Shame on those manufacturers. Keep reading to learn what substances were tested for and which car seats are safest for your child if you’d like to avoid chemicals.

flame retardants, health problems, healthy pregnancy, high PBDE levels, Higher PBDE Levels, safe furniture, toxic-chemicals, toxins in pregnancy, baby car seat, baby safety, car safety, car seat, eco-friendly car seat, green car seat, infant seat, organic car seat, recycled car seat
Photo © Flickr user Joe Shlabotnik

All-in-all, researchers at Ecology Center tested 150, 2011-model car seats for bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC and plasticizers); lead; other heavy metals and allergens. All of the substances tested for have been linked to allergies, birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity and cancer. Worse, the researchers state that heat and UV-ray exposure in cars may accelerate the breakdown of some of these chemicals, which may increase their toxicity and leave your baby more open to exposure. Obviously car seats save lives. A car seat is a must-have baby item. Still, if it’s possible to make a car seat with fewer toxic substances, you gotta wonder, how come more car seat manufacturers aren’t on board? You can make a difference though, by choosing one of the less dangerous car seats shown on the next page.

flame retardants, health problems, healthy pregnancy, high PBDE levels, Higher PBDE Levels, safe furniture, toxic-chemicals, toxins in pregnancy, baby car seat, baby safety, car safety, car seat, eco-friendly car seat, green car seat, infant seat, organic car seat, recycled car seat
Photo © Flickr user Neeta Lind

Jeff Gearhart, the Ecology Center’s Research Director agrees that car seats are an essential product, yet he also points out, “Our research shows that some car seats contain more harmful chemicals than others. HealthyStuff.org makes it easier for parents to research the best car seat for their child.” Following are some of the best and worst car seats of 2011.

MOST Toxic 2011 Car Seats:

  • Infant Seat: Graco Snugride 35 in Edgemont Red/Black & Graco SnugRide 30 in Asprey
  • Convertible Seat: Britax Marathon 70 in Jet Set & Britax Marathon in Platinum
  • Booster Seat: Recaro Pro Booster in Blue Opal & Recaro ProSPORT Toddler in Misty

LEAST Toxic 2011 Car Seats:

  • Infant Seat: Chicco KeyFit 30 in Limonata, Graco Snugride 35 in Laguna Bay & Combi Shuttle 33 in Cranberry Noche
  • Convertible Carseat: Graco Comfort Sport in Caleo, Graco MyRide 65 in Chandler and Streamer, Safety 1st OnSide Air in Clearwater, and Graco Nautilus Elite 3-in-1 in Gabe
  • Booster Seat: Graco Turbo Booster in Anders

To see the full list of car seat rankings and chemical compositions of said car seats visit HealthyStuff.org. You can also check out their quick list – 2011 Best and Worst Car Seats.

+ Ecology Center

+ HealthyStuff.org

Lead image © Flickr user Prince Roy