When I was pregnant with my first child and deciding on the ever-important initial car seat, the only criteria that mattered to me were the safety ratings. After all, the physical safety of your baby should be prioritized above everything else. Now with my third baby, my criteria spread from not only the safety ratings, but also finding a car seat that isn’t exposing my baby to hazardous chemicals every time she is in the car. Fortunately, there are now options for parents to choose a car seat with great safety ratings AND free of harmful chemicals. This makes mamas like me very happy.:)
Why is choosing a carseat without fire retardant chemicals important?
First off, car seat manufactures add flame retardant chemicals to car seats to slow the spread of fire and, thus, meeting auto flammability standards. However, these chemicals are very ineffective and highly toxic creating serious health hazards (i.e. impaired neurological development, impaired child development, and endocrine disruption, to name a few). In addition to fire retardant chemicals, there are PFCs/PFOAs (Perfluorinated chemicals). These chemicals work as water, stain, and grease repellants in the fabric treatments. Unsurprisingly, these chemicals have been linked to other serious health concerns. In short, the majority of car seats are INCREDIBLY toxic with chemicals we certainly want to avoid putting our precious babies near.
From my research, I have discovered four fabulous companies that manufacture car seats without fire retardant chemicals. Fingers crossed that more companies in the near future will follow suit. These companies include:
- Clek. I was first introduced to the Canadian-made Clek car seat in the parking lot at my son’s preschool. We were wooed and wowed by their heavy-duty nature and unique look. (Yes, a car seat can produce woo-ing, believe it or not.) Not only do they have great safety ratings on paper, they look it in person! In addition to their great safety ratings, Clek has been known for their eco-minded, high-quality car seats. Their Infant Liing Car Seat, which just debuted in April of 2019, was my first choice. Since I was worried about going into labor early and wanted a car seat at least a month before my due date, I did not purchase the Liing since it hadn’t come out yet. However, I have replaced all of our convertible and booster car seats for my boys in our vehicles with Clek’s Fllo Convertible and the Oobr Booster (with a back) seats and could not be happier. The non toxic material they use is 100% merino wool. (Note: The Clek Foonf is also another non toxic carseat available by Clek.)
- UppaBaby. The infant carseat we chose for Baby #3 was the UppaBaby Mesa Jordan, which has a Merino wool-poly blend making it naturally flame resistant. (Both the Mesa Henry and Jordan models contain no retardant chemicals, nor perfluorinated chemicals.) I love that the wool is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, (for those of you like myself who pay attention to the always important certifications). Since we use UppaBaby strollers, it’s super convenient as it’s compatible with the UppaBaby Vista and UppaBaby Cruz models. Additionally, the NHTSA rating is 5 stars for ease of use. Note: UppaBaby just came out with a convertible carseat last month called the UppaBaby Knox Jordan.
- Nuna. This European-based, eco-friendly company makes an infant car seat, Nuna Pipa Lite, with fabric made from wool and TENCEL (made from wood pulp). The nice thing about TENCEL material is that it is biodegradable, moisture absorbent, and anti-bacterial. Moreover, the Nuna Pipa Lite weighs less than 6 lbs and is the lightest infant car seat on the market. Their non toxic convertible car seat is the Nuna Rava (with the exception in the Verona option). I love Nuna products and even though I don’t have their car seat, I appreciate how all their products are responsibly made with smart designs.
- Britax. I had an infant Britax car seat for my second baby, and I was very excited to see they were among the companies to join in on the new trend. Their chemical-free infant seat, Britax Endeavors in Otto Safewash, is made with a polyester blend. It is compatible with all Britax strollers, and their fabric is fully machine washable. They also make a convertible carseat, Britax Advocate ClickTight ARB in Otto Safewash, in the same safewash fabric without chemicals.
It’s truly a shame that most car seats use these harmful fire retardant chemicals and PFCs/PFOAs. Not only are the chemicals toxic, but they also accumulate both in the body and environment overtime, creating even greater health hazards.:( Thank goodness we now have options from manufacturers who are making chemical safety a priority in their car seats. When you spend time everyday in the car with your ever-so-precious cargo, nothing beats having a peace of mind in knowing they are in a safe and non toxic car seat. Lets hope more companies will start making car seats free of harmful chemicals the new normal.