Making healthy babies and keeping them healthy, happy … and safe.

What’s in your car seat?

Posted by NonToxic House on July 23, 2008

A new report from the Ecology Center, a Michigan-based advocacy group, warns parents that car seats contain certain dangerous chemicals. The group released its second annual guide to toxins in car seats this week. Read on for the details… 

The group tested 60 car seats for bromine (associated with flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of PVC plastic and pthalates); lead; and heavy metals that are said to “off-gas” or become part of the air we breathe, saying:

Since the average American spends more than 1.5 hours in a car every day, toxic chemical exposure inside vehicles is becoming a major source of potential indoor air pollution…

They examined seat bases, clips, EPS foam, shades, trim and arm rests – parts they believe are most likely to be touched or to contribute to human exposure. 

What’s interesting is that results varied widely between brands, and even among models within the same brand. Here’s a cheat sheet listing the car seats of most and least concern. Or take a look at the complete list , which can be viewed by type (infant, convertible or booster).

To be clear, the Ecology Group says:

Based on available evidence the chemicals we tested in car seats do not pose an immediate health concern. However, children are exposed to these chemicals from numerous products. Altogether, these exposures can and often do result in higher levels in children over time.

If you’re in the market, why not buy according to these test results? If you already own a car seat, see where your model fits in. If it gives you more, er, breathing room, you might also consider an organic car seat cover to help keep the nasties at bay.

[Image via Flickr]


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