Non-toxic Car Seats

orbit nontoxic car seat
Jack in our orbit baby car seat

This article was updated on February 20, 2016

I’ve spent hours and hours looking into this, and I was surprised to find that there are NO organic car seats for sale! In fact, most car seats are sprayed with carcinogenic flame-retardants!

The best option I was able to find was the only Oeko-Tex certified car seat- the Orbit line. I emailed Britax and they said they are “reducing or eliminating all chemicals containing bromine or chlorine” from their products. It’s better than nothing, but Orbit has none of those chemicals, and who knows what they mean by “reducing.”

orbit nontoxic car seat baby
orbit baby car seat

The orbit car seats are Oeko-Tex certified which guarantees they don’t have many toxic chemicals. They do testing to make sure there is no lead, arsenic, or mercury on their seats (see here). The upholstery of the seat is made of polyester which is not great, but sadly there are no better options right now. They also use no flame retardants on their fabric, but sadly as of 2014 they started using foam with flame retardants like all the other companies. They are still the most non-toxic option however.

People also like the Clerk Foonf convertible seat. It fits 14 pounds to 45 pounds rear facing so it’s great that you can keep your child facing the rear which is safer for longer than most car seats. It’s also recycleable. However, the fabric is only Greenguard Select Certified which tests only for gasses coming from the fabric (VOCs) and NOT heavy metals or PVC or pesticides. Another thing I was not a fan of about the Clerk seats is that you can’t remove the fabric, and you can only spot clean it. With kids, throwing up at some point is inevitable in the car, or having a potty accident, so I’ve been thankful to remove the Orbit fabric a few times to clean it.

foonf recyclable carseat
Foonf convertible car seat

If you can’t afford the expensive Orbit line, you can try to look up HealthyStuff.org since they tested many car seats several years ago. However, they tested store models, which is why some like the Orbit tested positive for things that did not come up in new products. Also, many models they tested are from years ago and no longer available. If you are trying to save money, one option is to borrow or buy a cheap infant car seat (Orbit’s infant one is from 4-30 pounds) and in a few months buy the Orbit toddler seat (15-65 pounds).

Another option is to buy an organic car seat cover. This blog has a nice review of some of those options. We didn’t do that because it might interfere with the car seat safety and can also be expensive. Also, keep in mind that there are likely flame retardants in the foam of most car seats, so that can get through a cotton cover.

It’s hard to make a good choice if you have limited funds though! Especially since you aren’t supposed to buy car seats used since you don’t know if it was in an accident.

Overall, here are some pros and cons about our Orbit which we have used for 6 months now:

Pros:

  • Oreko-Tex certified
  • No flame retardants
  • Good-quality foam makes it very safe
  • Egg-like shape protects baby well from sides
  • Soft handle is slightly easier to carry
  • Has a nice sun shade
  • Has a circle-shaped dock that snaps in easily and pivots
  • You can remove the fabric to clean

Cons:

  • Expensive!
  • Too heavy for me to carry
  • I have a Toyota Corolla, and it just fits in the back seat, so it’s hard to unwedge and remove. (Not  a big problem for me though since I always babywear)
  • Not organic fabric (polyester)
  • Separate base is expensive! (for husband’s car etc)
  • You have to lift baby up over the side to get him in, so it’s hard for me not to wake him up while doing that

 

Britax car seat chemicals

Jack asleep in his Orbit non-toxic car seat

Jack asleep in his Orbit non-toxic car seat

I was excited to see that last year, Britax said it was phasing out brominated and chlorinated fire retardants from its car seats. However, I emailed them last week to get an update because I couldn’t find anything online, and I was disappointed to receive the email below (after following up due to a previous vague email). They said that they are reducing the chemicals, which could mean anything, and is far from the Orbit brand which removed them completely. It’s a shame that such a large car seat manufacturer is continuing to use chemicals which have been linked to lowered intelligence, hyperactivity, and hormone disruption in children.

Here is the full email I received:

Thais,

Last year we announced we would be revising our internal chemical compliance specifications.  These revised specifications require all Britax suppliers to reduce and/or where possible, eliminate the use of all chemicals containing bromine or chlorine from all components used in our car seats and all other products — while still ensuring their ability to pass federal government standards for flammability. We set a target for our suppliers to be compliant to this new standard by the end of 2012.

 

We are pleased to report successful progress. Our suppliers have worked very diligently toward meeting these more stringent chemical compliance specifications and have successfully reduced and/or eliminated the use of all chemicals containing bromine and chlorine in all components. Britax remains committed to working closely with our suppliers to ensure continued leadership in the area of chemical compliance specifications.

 

In Britax’s ongoing continuous improvement efforts, we have been phasing in new components as quickly as our suppliers have been able to comply.  This approach has and will continue to ensure Britax products fulfill our pledge in providing parents and children with the best and safest child mobility products.

 

Our commitment remains to keep you current on our progress and new products.  Please check our website for any future updates.  And thanks for your continued interest and support.

Tracy Thompson

Customer Service Administrative Lead

800-893-2447

 

Britax Child Safety, Inc.

4140 Pleasant Road

Fort Mill , SC 29708