Well, here I am writing about car seats again! If you remember, I first discussed the topic back in October when I originally saw HealthyStuff.org’s car seat safety rankings, which is based on the presence of hazardous flame retardants and chemical additives. Since then, I have accessed the list for my own purposes as I have been doing research in order to buy my growing son his next seat. It seems that HealthyStuff.org has expanded their list and added some other features to make it easier to search for particular brands.
Because picking out a car seat is one of the more important and costly decisions a parent has to make, I thought I would revisit the topic. If you are going about it the right way, you have probably spent an immense amount of time trying to find the safest car seat for your child. I know that for this recent purchase, I have spent hours. I talk to friends about what they have, I look for the seats with the best car crash safety ratings, I read user ratings and then I cross reference that list with HealthyStuffs.org’s list.
Here’s why HealthyStuff.org’s information so important. “Over 150, 2011-model car seats were tested for bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC and plasticizers); lead; other heavy metals, and allergens. These substances have been linked to allergies, birth defects, impaired learning, liver toxicity, and cancer. Heat and UV-ray exposure in cars can accelerate the breakdown of these chemicals and possibly increase their toxicity. Babies are the most vulnerable population in terms of exposure, since their bodily systems are still developing and they spend many hours in their car seats” (HealthyStuff.org). While there were some car seats that were found to have little to no chemicals, over sixty percent of them do! Before buying your next car seat, please see this link to HealthyStuff.org’s list.
Where to start your research: When it comes time for you to purchase your next car seat, start by looking at the HealthyStuff.org’s Car Seat List. Use the list to locate the brands and models that are rated as having ‘low’ or ‘no’ toxic chemicals. Then take those models and research their crash test, user and third party reviewer ratings. It’s important to note that one model of car seat containing a low rating for containing toxic chemicals may be rated high in another color or fabric choice!
So what else can we do? Besides choosing to buy the car seats that have rated at LOW or NONE on healthystuff.org’s ratings, we can get in touch with the car seat manufacturers and demand safer options, asking them to get rid of the chemicals – perhaps they do not know that wool is a natural flame retardant that they can use instead!
Gearhart, Jeff. Hazardous Flame Retardants and Chemical Additives Found in over Half of 2011 Child Car Seats Tested by HealthyStuff.org. HealthyStuff.org. August 3, 2011. Web. December 2011.