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A Safe BUT Non-Toxic Car Seat

naturalbabymama@hotmail.com Baby, Car Seats, Car Seats, Flame Retardants, Kids, Toxins 982 Comments

See my latest car seat post as a follow up to all of the information below!

 

UPDATE 4/8/14:  Recently Orbit has made some changes to their car seat and the Oeko-Tek certification.  They use to be the only car seat manufacturer to have both the fabric and foam Oeko-Tek certified.  They no longer use the same company for the foam.  I was told that the foam company went out of business.  Orbit will not disclose any information about what flame retardant is being used in their foam.  I read a report that a third party tested the foam and it contained brominated flame retardants.  Orbit still claims that they don’t use brominated flame retardants.  They will not give me any information about when this change was made.  I am sending a sample of the foam from my car seat away to get tested to find out what flame retardants they use.  Until we have more information I personally would not buy the Orbit.  I don’t have an answer about which one I would buy though.  I will update this as soon as I know more. 

 

4/30/14 –  I had the foam on my Orbit tested and the foam inside the fabric came back positive with TDCPP flame retardants.  The Stryofoam attached to the car seat came back showing no flame retardants.  I no longer recommend Orbit.  I will update more soon.

What is TDCPP?

TDCPP, or tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate, is an organophosphate flame retardant that is being used to replace PentaBDE. TDCPP, which is used as an additive flame retardant in resins, polymers, latexes, and foams, is most widely used in the US (annual estimations are 4,500-22,700 metric tons).1 There is evidence that TDCPP is a probable carcinogen and a developmental neurotoxicant2, as well as an endocrine disruptor in fish.

 

I have spent many of months agonizing over my son’s car seat.  I know that they have chemical flame retardants sprayed on the foam, the cover and the sun shade and it bugs the crap out of me each time I put him in the car seat.  It’s so, so bad for him.  Obviously, I’m aware that the car seat is keeping him safe and safety is my first priority which is why I keep using it.  I’ve gone back and forth and done tons of research trying to find the perfect car seat.  Here in the US there isn’t a car seat sold without the use of flame retardants (since it’s a federal law requiring it).  The thing I don’t understand is that wool and cotton are natural flame retardants – why don’t car seat manufacturers use those?

Before our son was born we went to a big box baby store and bought a car seat that rated well, and well frankly, we ended up buying the one with the fabric we liked the best.  We have the Chicco Keyfit 30 in Cubes.  As I was learning more about toxic items that my son was using when he was little I learned about how toxic a car seat can be.  I stumbled across the Environmental Work Group’s database and searched our car seat.  You can search your car seat here.  It ranked low for toxic chemicals which made me feel better.  Then of course I kept researching and realized that the EWG, while great, isn’t testing for everything.  Even though my car seat ranked “low” it actually just had a different chemical flame retardant used in it than what they were testing for.  When I looked up that chemical online I wanted to cry when reading the symptoms it can cause and the organs it affects.  So I began the search for the convertible car seat we would need to use since he was bigger.  I kept wanting to find one that didn’t use any chemicals which lead to many months of procrastinating.  This now makes me sad since my son continued to use his chemical filled car seat BUT we don’t even use the car seat daily (at least that is how I am rationalizing the continued use).  I also read that the sun shades are loaded with fire retardants so I took that off right away.  My search kept bringing me back to Orbit.  They are the ONLY car seat manufacturer to be Oeko-Tek 100 certified.  This means that they are the only car seat on the market in the US that tests for, and does not use, 100 toxic chemicals including most flame retardants and lead.  You can read more about Oeko-Tek 100 standards here.  You can also read more about Orbit’s safety here.

There has been a lot of talk about companies not using flame retardants in car seats anymore since so many parents are upset about it.  I’ve seen that Brittax is saying this (which from everything I’ve read is that they are using some of the worst chemical flame retardants still on their car seats).  From what I understand, they are NOT removing chemical flame retardants from their car seats but instead no longer will be using the chemicals they are currently using and will just be using new ones.  It’s a federal law to make sure the car seats are fire proof so the ONLY natural way around this is using wool and cotton.  There isn’t one company that is moving that direction, not even Orbit.

So what it comes down to is picking the least toxic car seat you can find with good safety ratings.  My choice for our convertible car seat is Orbit.  I know that they have to be tested according to Oeko-Tek and that makes me feel better.  I wish I had known all this information before our son was born and I would have started with the Orbit.  When you know better you do better.

If you want to go even a step further you can replace your car seat cover.  On Etsy The Sassy Stork makes some organic car seat covers.  She doesn’t have covers for every car seat brand.  This does remove the warranty on your car seat so if you are comfortable with that then go ahead.   Nollie Covers also makes organic car seat covers for most all brands of car seats.  They aren’t cheap but it may be worth it to you.  I have heard that using Nollie Covers doesn’t not void your warranty as she is the only car seat cover that is approved by the car seat companies.  I HAVE NEVER VERIFIED THIS.  I would verify this information before purchasing though.  Update: I’ve purchased from both.  Nollie Covers was horrible to work with.  Major delays, lack of communication and not make all that great.  Sassy Stork has been great to work with, better quality and better price!

A lot of people think that if they wash their car seat that will remove most of the chemicals which is not true.  The flame retardants are meant to stay in there and not be easily removed.  Using regular detergent will not remove the flame retardants.  I’ve read that using soap flakes can remove the flame retardants over time and many, many washes.  Using soap flakes is not recommended by car seat manufacturers and I believe it voids your warranty as well.  If you are trying to remove some of the chemicals that your baby is touching soap flakes may work.  Update:  It does not work to remove them completely.  My car seat still tested positive for Tris after I washed it many times.

UPDATE:  There are a lot of comments on this post related to Diono and if they use flame retardants in their car seats (fabric and foam).  They have told many commenters, and myself, repeatedly that they do not use flame retardants in the Radian car seat in several fabric colors.  I literally called Diono at least 10 times trying to get to the bottom of this but they kept saying that they didn’t use FR.  It came out today, months after they were telling us they didn’t, that they actually DO use flame retardants in their foam.  They won’t disclose which FR either.  There is no way to pass federal flammability legislation without the use of chemical flame retardants while using foam in a car seat.

Good luck in finding a solution that works for you and your family!

PS – I decided I should have a disclaimer.  The disclaimer is this:  this is a decision you should make for  your family.  These opinions are my own.  I am not being paid to have these opinions.  You need to factor in the safety of any option that you choose.  I am not responsible for any decision you make with regards to which car seat you choose.

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Comments 982

  1. What about the clek foonf ?I hear that the fabric they use is green certified Krypton fabric. I do know that they have a small amount of bromine on the bass of the seat I looked it up on healthystuff.org I called the company they told me they did on the base but it’s not touching a child skin. Can the clek foonf Be next best seats from orbit? I did get the orbit seat but unfortunately it does not recline I had to return it 🙁

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      Sorry for not getting back to you sooner – I was having WordPress issues. Just out of curiosity why did you have to return it because it didn’t recline? I’ve seen other people post that in reviews too and have always wondered about it. I have never owned a different convertible seat so I have never had the recline option (which is why I guess it hasn’t bother me).

      Yes, I looked at the Foonf briefly about a year ago. Flame retardants can and do get in the air. If Bromine is on the base I would just make sure you open your car windows on warm / hot days to let the car air out a bit to try and minimize the amount of chemicals you breathe in. I ended up calling Clek to see what they used in their fabrics to make it flame resistant. They told me about that they use Crypton fabric and told me to look at their web site. I did and was confused / concerned about the chemicals that they use to make it stain resistant, etc. I called them and the 2 different people I talked to couldn’t tell me what chemicals were used. The first person did tell me that they use a “chemical bath” on the fabrics. So, to answer your question, at this point I don’t know – sorry. They took down my email and said they were going to talk to their chemists and get back to me. I will keep you posted!

  2. Have you heard of Radian GTX? I was going to get the Orbit for my one year old but my mom was told the Radian is cheaper and did not have the chemicals. I am thinking it is the same thing. That the chemicals may not be on the fabric but they are on the base.

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      I have heard of Radian. I’ve heard other people asking / say that it doesn’t have chemicals either but from what I have read they just stopped using some and replaced it with others. I’ll try and dig into a little more and get back to you. The only car seat on the market that is tested to be free from toxic chemicals is Orbit. I wish there were more options out there!

  3. Hi I just spoke to Diono who makes the radian car seat today. i was told that two fabrics in the R series the storm and rugby use materials that are inherently flame retardant. They do not add any chemicals to it because the material is naturally flame retardant. If you look at the safety area on dionos website i eventually found a statement regarding this information as well. As far as pvc and lead the woman told me there is none of that either. i am debating between the orbit, clek foonf and now the diono R120 or Rtx in those specific colors.
    Let me know if you find this to be true? the woman i spoke to said she is 100 percent positive. I think that this car seat sounds like it may be free of flame retardants if the fabric naturally is flame resistant don’t you think?

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      Thanks for the email! This is really interesting news. I ended up calling them too just to ask some questions. They said, as they told you, that they don’t add any flame retardants to their fabric. That is great. It’s a polyester fabric and since polyester melts when near a flame they don’t have to add extra chemicals. They also said they didn’t put any chemicals on their base. I asked about the foam and they said they didn’t put any chemicals on that either. However, a lot of foam is already sprayed with fire retardants before companies get the foam. The foam would go up in a fire, and the law requires that it be fire retardant, so that is the only place that there might be chemicals. I asked them if they knew if the foam was sprayed before they got it and she didn’t know. She took down my info and was going to get back to me. I talked to her two days ago. I will keep you posted if I hear anything back. It’s just kinda like your couch. The foam cushions are sprayed with fire retardants but the fabric isn’t. We still are inhaling and absorbing the fire retardants from our couches. I also asked them why they didn’t get any extra certifications, like Oeko-Tek, if they are non-toxic (it seems like it would be a huge selling point for them) and she is going to get back to me on that too. SO…. I don’t know how much time you have before you are going to purchase your car seat. Hopefully they will call me back. I personally wouldn’t buy the Clek because they use Bromine on the base and whatever the “chemical bath” is that they dunk their fabrics in. I still like the Orbit and I also like that Diono doesn’t use chemicals on their fabrics. It would be good to know about the foam (I don’t see how it couldn’t be sprayed but I definitely could be wrong!). Thanks again for your email!

      1. Have you ever seen bad crash ratings for the orbit car seat? i have seen some but am confused whether those were old or new? That was my reason for looking if there were any other options even though i already have the whole infant orbit system. i cant tell for sure whether that was on the infant car seat or the toddler car seat? lastly is orbit certified for the foam as well as fabrics?
        I am willing to do the research and keep using my infant car seat (which technically she still fits into) until i know for sure which one i think is the least toxic. so if you hear anything from Diono please do let me know.
        Thanks
        Perl

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          Yes, I did see those crash ratings when I was researching the toddler seat and from everything I read they are old. Some changes were made and now they have very good ratings.

          Orbit is Oeko-Tek certified on the entire car seat including the base, foam and fabrics. Oeko-Tek does allow the use of fire retardants but they have been studied and proven to be non-toxic. It’s a federal requirement that car seats be fire resistant. Diono would have to come up with a way to make sure the foam is fire resistant. Here is a statement from Orbit on being Oeko-Tek certified. “We go above and beyond to certify that there are no dangerous flame retardant chemicals in our fabrics. All Orbit Baby G2 products use fabrics certified by the International Oeko-Tex® Association to be completely free of PBBs, PBDEs, TRIS, TEPA, HBCDD, SCCP, and TCEP. Most fabrics and foams require treatment with some flame retardants in order to meet federally mandated car seat requirements. Of our fabrics that have been treated, they contain non-toxic flame retardants that have been extensively tested and thoroughly analyzed by the Oeko-Tex® Association. This Association’s toxicologists approve only a short list of flame retardants because all of these substances have undergone a thorough assessment by Oeko-Tex® from a human-ecological point of view. Oeko-Tex® has toxicologists in Germany and Switzerland review literature, history, test data, and toxicology reports before approving that the substance is harmless to human health.” Hope that helps. I will let you know if / when I hear back from Diono.

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          I followed up with them last week since I hadn’t heard back and they told me that they were still waiting to hear back from the foam supplier. She said she would call me by Monday but I still haven’t heard anything…

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      I hear you! It is totally frustrating. It took me months to pull the trigger. I had called them when I was researching and came across the same thing at healthy stuff. I was going to copy their response here but they have a disclaimer saying I can’t copy it. I would call and ask them about this. They will send you an email that really put me at ease. The basics of what they say is that healthy stuff tests things that are out in the open in stores (sometimes for a really long time before they test it) and that someone could have touched or placed something in their car seat that had lead or fire retardants on it. Then it would show up on the tests. Oeko Tek does random testing on their materials and they have to pass those random tests. I felt ok / good about the random testing of Oeko-Tek. Also, Oeko-Tek is NOT newer than 2011. With all of that info I ended up buying the toddler seat in Mocha just to be on the safe side :). The Oeko-Tek includes both their fabrics and the foam too.

      I hear you about the crib thing too! It’s just crazy to have to spend so much to try and protect our little babies.

  4. Not to be a pain, but now that I am looking more closely at the Orbit site itself,m they only claim to have Oeko-Tex rating for the FABRICS used, and specifically the ones that actually touch the baby. Nothing at all is said about the filling or foam, or the base. So freaked out. Did you get better information from the company itself? http://www.orbitbaby.com/en/articles/certified-fabrics/ Thanks! 🙂

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      I realize I didn’t totally finish answering your question in my other response. So, yes, both fabric and foam is Oeko-Tek certified. The base is plastic so no flame retardants are needed. This is all per Orbit. Also, in their email response to me asking about the Heathystuff findings they said that they did third party testing after those tests came out and they verified the safety. Hope that helps.

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  5. I noticed that the toxicity levels for the car seats on most of these websites is from 2011. Is there any kind of updated data out there nearly two years later? Thanks for taking the time to write this blog – very helpful information.

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      You are welcome 🙂 I felt I needed to share all the research I was combing through since I figured I wasn’t the only one! A lot of the testing is old. 2011 and even 2008! Healthystuff is great but the are small and only can do so much. I haven’t heard if they are going to do any more updates. I would hope they would soon. If I hear anything I’ll let you know.

  6. After reading your blog and the comments above I feel confident that orbit is probably the least toxic choice in our country. However, this is my first child so my knowledge on this subject is small. I told my husband, who is very knowledgeable and health conscious, about the expensive orbits car seat and he claimed to think that the only toxic component of car seats was the fabric and foam. He suggested getting a cheaper car seat and replacing the cover within an organic one. Will this approach solve the toxicity issue? Or is there toxic materials in the plastic car seat itself? I already know about BPA in plastics, but what do you know about car seat plastics? I am willing to spend the money on an orbit one but at the same token, if I can get one cheaper and put an organic cover, that might be an option. Just wanting to remain open minded. Although I do pretty much refuse to expose my child to toxic materials, if at all possible. Any recommendations or advice? Hope to hear from you soon. Two more questions: can you buy an orbit infant car seat without the base? I read it can be used without the base. Maybe that would save some money. Seems like the toddler one is sold without the base. And can the toddler one be used without the base too? How long can your infant use the infant seat? I read until 30 lbs or 32 inches……when will that be? When the babys one? After one? What’s your general experience, moms?

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      Hi! You are right, an alternative is to buy an organic car seat cover and replace the existing cover. However, that voids your warranty so you should be aware of that. That is a choice you will have to make. If the foam is sprayed with flame retardants, then they can still get in the air (even if you are using a different cover). As far as I know most have flame retardants since it’s a federal law to make sure that a car seat is flame resistant. It’s hard to know how much but it’s the same concept as your couch. The foam is toxic and it gets through the fabric and is found in the dust on your floors. So, it is an option but it’s something you will have to weigh to figure out if it is right for you or not. As far as the plastic base, you don’t have to worry too much about that since they don’t have much contact with it. Some companies do spray the base with flame retardants – like Clek does. Orbit and Diono do not. I haven’t looked into the bases of other companies but if there is a car seat you are looking at I would definitely give the company a call and ask.

      I believe you can buy the infant seat without the base. We didn’t get the Orbit for the infant seat (I didn’t know how toxic car seats were when we bought our infant seat). For the toddler seat the only purpose of the base is so that the seat can swivel when getting your child in and out. It’s a really, really handy feature. I know that the toddler seat would work without the base. I would have to assume that the infant seat would as well but I would double check with Orbit first.

      So, the height and weight restrictions all depend on how big your baby is. We have a larger baby / toddler. He has always been big. At 16 months he is probably 27 pounds. I’m not sure how tall he is. Most likely you would hit the height restrictions before the weight. He still fit within the requirements for the infant seat we were using but he really didn’t like being in it anymore. Once we moved to the toddler seat he liked it much more. He could see out the windows and had more room. So, I think that for most people your child won’t hit the requirements before you want to move them just for their comfort.

      As far as general advice to avoid toxins – it’s hard. I do my best and keep my home as non-toxic as possible but the world is a toxic place. I have to let go a bit when we are out and about. I really struggled watching him play with something when I knew it was toxic (when we weren’t at home). I have had to come to terms with that because I can’t control everything :). So I guess my advice would be make the things your baby uses everyday as non-toxic as you can. You will be doing more than most!

  7. Thank you soooo much! Very helpful! I did read on several websites that the infant orbit car seat can be used safely without the base. If the infant seat can be ordered separately then hands down, that is my choice for sure. I haven’t been able to find it sold separately and may need to contact the company directly. Thanks again for your help!

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  8. Hi, thank you for all the information! Outside of the orbit what carseat would you consider to be the least toxic? I really wish we could go that high but really can’t. I think we could possible go as high as the Diono…do you think that would be the next best option?

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      That is such a hard question. Diono never called me back to tell me if their foam was free of flame retardants or not. I called twice. I like that they don’t use chemicals on the fabric or base. So maybe that would be my 2nd choice. The hard thing is not knowing about the foam. If it has toxic chemicals then they will get through the fabric and in the air. I’ll try calling them 1 more time and see if I can get an answer. Also, it’s only a few different fabrics that Diono has that are flame retardant free. I’ll get the names of those too and let you know!

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      I don’t know for sure but if I had to guess their toxin use is WAY better than ours. Same goes for Europe. From what I understand companies can’t / won’t ship those types of items to the US because of our laws. I’ve even heard of people having friends in other countries ship car seats, strollers, etc because they have way less, or no toxic chemicals, and they get confiscated. Our laws on these types of things are way behind the rest of the world.

  9. Hey there..Again! Lol!

    I saw that you were looking into Diono, and I just wanted to let you know I talked to a lady today (And yesterday, lol). I asked her If the carseats contain Lead, PVC, Arsenic, bromide, chlorine, chloride, BPA, cadmium, PBB or PBDE’s, and the answer to all of those were no.
    She said that the Storm and Rugby don’t have any flame retardants added, and she also said that foam was NOT treated (I said that I thought it was a law, and she said not that she was aware of, that she had contacted the manufacturer of the foam they receive from and they said no retardants are added. I guess maybe because it’s a California law and they assemble their car seats in Washington? I’m not sure, but that is what I was told.) I was also told that they didn’t have Oeko-Tex 100 certification because only two of their car seats meet the criteria for the certification—the Rugby and the Storm.

    Just thought I’d pass the info along!! 🙂

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      Thanks for letting me know! I contact them after you sent me this and they still didn’t get back to me. I went on vacation and am now getting back to this 🙂 I now have 3 calls into them after they said that they were waiting to hear back from the foam manufacturer. That is good to hear that they told you that. I wonder why they never got back to me. I’m glad there seems to be another option!

  10. Hi, I am writing from Canada. Unfortunately, the Orbit toddler seat is not approved for use here – and it is actually illegal to use a non approved carseat. It is frustrating because the Orbit infant seat is approved. So, I am looking for the next best option and am trying to decide between the Diono Radian in Storm or the Clek Foonf. I like the fact that the Foonf is made in Canada but do not like the stain resistant fabrics – even if they are GreenGuard certified. As for seats purchased in Canada being safer, Canada is such a small market compared to the US that we get all the same version of products that you get, we just get less selection 🙁

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      That is good to know about Canada. Yes, I agree, I don’t like the stain resistant fabrics of the Foonf and I don’t like that they use bromine one the base. It sounds like Diono is saying that their foam doesn’t have flame retardants and they don’t use any flame retardants in the Storm & Rugby colors. They also don’t use flame retardants on the base either.

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  11. Hi! Thanks so much for all of your research, I know from my own hours spent how time consuming and frustrating this can all be. I need a booster now, my son is 7, and can’t find any new info on safe ones. Since that last report was done in 2011, the boosters mentioned have been discontinued, at least the ones I was looking at that were USA made, which is important to me as well. Do you have any tips?

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      I’m sorry, I don’t. I haven’t even started looking at boosters. It can be so frustrating that it is so hard to find something that seems like it should be common place – safe and non-toxic. I’ll reply again if I come up with something!

      1. Thanks! After much reading I’m leaning to the Clek oobr, it was rated really well on the healthy stuff list, it’s made in the USA, and looks like it’s the safest (so far) bet. I hope so.

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          I would also call and ask them about what flame retardants they use. I know they use Bromine on the base of the convertible seat which is not good. I think that safety wise they are great. I also didn’t get anywhere with the company that makes their fabric but anything stain resistant makes me leery. Healthy Stuff is great but only tests for a handful of chemicals. My infant seat rated really well on HS but I later found out it used some pretty toxic flame retardants that Healthy Stuff didn’t check for. Did you also check Diono?

          1. I know, I thought the exact same thing – stain resistant material is just not good. However, I’m thinking I can always get an organic cover. According to the rating, the oobr rated really, really low for flame retardants (bromine), 96 for base, 0 for seat. I’d rather have none…And it bothers me that the ratings vary from model to model. Especially, since there’s no way of knowing how this years models compare to the ones tested. I checked out Diono, but they’re made in china, which is just not good either. I won’t buy it if it’s made there. Did you just read the article about the kids’ shoes caught as they were imported from there? Burned them all, because of high lead content. Besides the fact that I just don’t buy stuff made there, period. I spend way too much time on the computer researching product information. We just shouldn’t have to be the ones doing the leg work. 🙁 All in all, so far the best rated one I can find is the Clek oobr. I’m hoping they only got better since 2011.

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            I agree with you 100% about buying things from China. Besides my stainless steel water bottle (since that is where they all come from), the Orbit was my only other purchase from China. I talked in length to Orbit and felt ok about it only since it was Oeko-Tek certified and there is 3rd party testing done. Other than that, I won’t buy toys, shoes, clothes, etc from China.

            Yes, the shoes with lead is crazy! I have been meaning to do a blog post on shoes because it took me forever to find a couple of companies that make truly non-toxic shoes that aren’t made in China. Have you seen Soft Star Shoes? I love them!

            I think your decision is a good one about the booster seat. Did you find out what flame retardant they use on the foam? If you did, can you let me know? I just like to keep up to date. When I called them previously they couldn’t give me an exact answer about the convertible seat (and I never asked about the booster).

          3. I need to find that out (the fire retardant) for sure. According to the healthystuff site, there’s nothing in the seat itself, just the base. I wasn’t aware Orbit was made in China, I didn’t get that far since they don’t have boosters.
            YES! we get soft stars for our family! 🙂 I have a pair and Caleb has gone through many. I love that they are made here and with eco-friendly materials, but I do wish they were a bit more durable. Granted, Caleb is a young, active (very) boy, but we have had to have every pair so far resewn after the toe box has come apart. 🙁 Can’t have it all, it would appear. Can’t wait to see what you put together for that. 🙂

  12. Thank you so much for your blog! I too have been procrastinating on the convertible seat and have been doing tons of research. It can be exhausting! But thankfully there is so much more awareness now about toxins etc. and I wonder if the healthy stuff car seat study has prompted many manufacturers to change things with the car seats. We have a Britax infant seat that rated low on their study and I love the Britax brand. We are also looking into the Orbit or the Diono. Thank you for all of this information! Did Diono ever call back about the foam?

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      Hi! Diono never did call me back after calling them 3 more times…. which I feel like it tells me what I need to know. I have another reader that said that she called them and they told her that it didn’t have any FR and that they asked the supplier. I would have felt better if they had told me or called me back. They did call me back to tell me they would call me back when they had an answer but then I never heard again. Also, Britax is great for safety but sadly one of the worse for toxins. They use FR’s that Healthy stuff doesn’t test for. I do think HS has created a lot of awareness and is prompting change – which is great!

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      I finally heard back from Diono! I’m sure it’s been almost 2 months since my first call. I’ve literally called them almost 10 times. She finally got the answer for me. More details are in the last comment but they don’t add any flame retardants and still comply with the federal law.

  13. Hi again! I told you I’d let you know what Clek had to say, so here it is:

    “As for all of Clek’s seats we consider the health of our children and the environment when designing and selecting materials and components for manufacturing.

    Recently healthystuff.org, an organization that tests for toxic chemicals in everyday products found our Olli and Oobr booster seats to be among the best in the booster seat category (http://www.healthystuff.org/departments/childrens-products/product.seatsbestworst.php). We will be testing our convertible seat shortly but we are looking at basically the same or similar components and materials as we use in our Oobr seat.All of our components must also comply with the restricted substances covered in the Global Automotive Declarable Substances List, Washington State RCW 70.240.020, US CFR TITLE 16 Part 1303 and US CPSIA Section 101a.

    The partnership we have with Crypton Super Fabrics is one we formed mainly due to their ecological approach and the performance of the products. The fabrics repel moisture, bacteria and stains and contain no formaldehyde. The fabric uses a fluoro-based chemistry opposed to bromine or chlorine. You can find more detailed information on their products by downloading their Green Guides here: http://www.cryptonfabric.com/Resources.html. Crypton fabrics are also Green Guard Select Certified.

    Also, you may already be aware that our seats are recyclable through our recycling program. Right now we are the only car seat company who offers this. We have formed strategic partnerships in both Canada and the United States to manage the disassembly and recycling or reintroduction of the plastic, metal, foam and fabric components into other products.”

    Still trying to find out about their one fabric choice that differs and is less money, the Drift.

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      Thanks for updating! That link to the resources says it’s no longer available. When I called Crypton they couldn’t tell me what they used other than a “chemical bath” to make it stain resistant. I was just trying to figure out what that was but never got anywhere with them. Just doing a quick google search on fluoro-based fire retardants it looks like it is the same technology (for lack of a better word) as Teflan – which would concern me. We know cooking with Teflan is BAD so what about sitting on it (and having it absorb through your largest organ / skin)? I found this on the EPA’s website – http://www.epa.gov/opptintr/pfoa/pubs/faq.html#concerns:
      What is PFOA?
      PFOA is an acronym for perfluorooctanoic acid, a synthetic (man-made) chemical that does not occur naturally in the environment. PFOA is sometimes called “C8.”

      Companies use PFOA to make fluoropolymers, substances with special properties that have thousands of important manufacturing and industrial applications. PFOA can also be produced by the breakdown of some fluorinated telomers, substances that are used in surface treatment products to impart soil, stain, grease, and water resistance.

      EPA’s efforts on perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are not limited to only PFOA. EPA is also investigating other PFCs, including perfluorooctyl sulfonate (PFOS), higher homologues of PFOA and PFOS, and other partially fluorinated chemicals that are potential precursors of these chemicals. Read more about definitions of other perfluorinated compounds.
      What are the concerns related to PFOA?
      PFOA is very persistent in the environment and has been found at very low levels both in the environment and in the blood of the general U.S. population. Studies indicate that PFOA can cause developmental and other adverse effects in laboratory animals. PFOA also appears to remain in the human body for a long time. All of these factors, taken together, prompted the Agency to investigate whether PFOA might pose a risk to human health and the environment at the levels currently being found, or at levels that might be reached in the future as PFOA continues to be released into the environment.

      Top of page

      What are fluoropolymers and telomers and how are they used?
      Fluoropolymers impart valuable properties, including fire resistance and oil, stain, grease, and water repellency. They are used to provide non-stick surfaces on cookware and waterproof, breathable membranes for clothing. They are employed in hundreds of other uses in almost all industry segments, including the aerospace, automotive, building/construction, chemical processing, electrical and electronics, semiconductor, and textile industries.

      After reading this and several other pages really quickly I would NOT feel comfortable having my child sit in this car seat from a toxicity stand point.

      1. Great. 🙁
        I then sent a message asking about their Drift color/fabric option and this is what they say: ” the Drift fabric is a vehicle grade fabric that we receive from an automotive supplier. We are currently testing this material so we can provide you with a breakdown.”
        That doesn’t make me feel any better. But then, what car seat will? I’m stumped. All of the others are just as bad or worse. We’ll just walk. Not really joking here, I try to have us bike and walk just about everywhere anyway, now this is just extra encouragement. 🙁

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          That’s funny about walking… and not all at the same time. It is crazy that it is so hard to find a locally made, non toxic car seat. Regulations have to change!

          I hear you though about walking. I try to walk most places too but we definitely need our car! I don’t use it daily though. So is buying an organic car seat cover out the question? It starts adding up so quickly!

          1. Oh I know, it does add up. But they are so worth it. It’s just a shame the burden has to lie on us and not the manufacturer. I had already made up my mind to buy an organic cover regardless, so I think at this point that’s all I can do. He has to have a car seat in the car. So I’ll go with the one that seems like the best option, and right now that seems to be the Clek, and get a cover for the seat. Unless something changes drastically tomorrow, like a new “green”, made in America car seat company, there’s not much choice. It would be nice to have a government that worked for us and not the corporations, wouldn’t it? 🙁

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  14. Did you get the sun shade for your orbit car seat? I know you said sunshades contain chemicals but wondered if that also applied to orbit’s? Again thank you for your blog. I have been looking for information like this – that takes all the research out there and puts lists together of recommended items 🙂

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      Thanks for your comment! Our toddler seat doesn’t have a sunshade (unless we took it off in the beginning and I already forgot!). I would think since it’s Oeko-Tek certified that the sunshade would be ok to use 🙂

  15. I have been quietly following along this post and all the comments over the last month or two as I too procrastinate buying a car seat for our daughter as I do endless (and disconcerting) research on the toxins in them all. My husband actually told me (in reference to an outdoor swing) that while he appreciates my research and concern for our family’s health, I sometimes take the fun out of things because we can never just go out and buy something; I need to tirelessly investigate every single thing first! I’m okay with that. 🙂

    Thanks in large part to this site, we narrowed it down to the Orbit and Diono. Like everyone else, I wish they weren’t manufactured in China but have to weigh that against other pros/cons and try to put at least a small amount of trust in the companies and third party testing! I did want to just chime in that I too contacted Diono and they answered with no hesitation that there are NO flame retardants in their foam, and the Storm & Rugby fabrics are also FR-free. I’d love them to have the certification that Orbit has, and I do feel that Orbit is probably the very best out there in terms of toxicity, but weighing all factors (toxicity definitely first and foremost, but also cost, size/bulkiness, portability…), I think the Diono is the right fit for our family. Everyone will and should obviously make their own decisions, but I did want to share my experience with Diono customer service in case that helps anyone else in this process!

    Thanks, naturalbabymama, for your site!

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      I’m totally that person too! I research and then over research and can never just go out and buy something. You can tell him at least you are saving money by not impulse buying :). For an outdoor swing it’s totally important to research. Treated lumber is SO toxic. I would only buy cedar and then you would have to finish it yourself (probably yearly which is a pain) with a non-toxic sealer. Also check out Kettler – http://www.kettlerusa.com/toys/swingsets. They are made in Germany (which has some of the strictest standards in the world) and have metal swing sets that are painted with lead free paint. I think that would be a great option.

      Thanks for updating me on Diono. Your comment prompted me to call them again. I was feeling annoyed that they hadn’t called me back. What I was told yesterday was that they still haven’t heard back from their foam manufacturer after reaching out to them 3 times. So they have never received an answer if the foam is coming to them with FR or not. She said again that they didn’t use FR though. I asked how they complied to the federal law that requires car seats to be fire resistant since foam is flammable. She didn’t know. She tried calling one of their engineers to find out. She called me again today to let me know the engineer is out until Friday but she will call me when he gets back to find out the answer. Something doesn’t seem right about their answer of no FR because of the federal law. I’m not sure how they are getting around it. I hope they prove me wrong! Anyways, not to confuse you any more but I do think it is great that they are going in the right direction. It’s so nice that they are offering fabrics that are FR free! IF, and I really hope I do, I hear back from them I will let you know.

      Thanks for your comment!

      1. Hmmm, I would be very interested to hear what they say. We are (were?) decided on the Diono but are on vacation and were waiting to order it until we get home, so now I might wait to hear what they tell you. I have wondered how they comply with the law…

        Thanks for the swing info too. In an effort to be more “fun” but still relatively safe, we compromised and bought a little tikes baby swing (because we could go out to a local store one Saturday and have it hung and ready for swinging that afternoon). It’s plastic, but BPA, PVC & phthalate free, and made in Ohio, so we felt pretty good about that. I love the look and idea of a wood one but we were also concerned about the finishes. There are some neat options on Etsy too – worth looking into.

        Thanks for your reply!

      2. One additional question: I am confused at how Orbit meets federal law without flame retardants in their foam… I know their fabrics are certified but in trying to figure out about the foam, I realized I don’t understand how Orbit seats handle the regulations and can’t quite find anything that explains it through a google search and looking at their site (unless I am missing something). You seem to have a great grasp on this so any explanation would be much appreciated!

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          There isn’t a car seat on the market that doesn’t use flame retardants. Oeko-Tek has a list of approved flame retardants that aren’t toxic like the traditional flame retardants that all the other companies use. Orbit’s fabric and their foam is Oeko-Tek certified. If you go back into my comments, I was talking with someone about this issue. Orbit sent me a statement on it but I felt like I couldn’t publish it here based on their disclaimers. A reader found it published on another blog and gives the link to it. Read that link, it is really helpful. Hope this helps 🙂

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        Hi Sarah,

        I couldn’t figure out how to reply to our last thread but Diono did confirm with me that no flame retardants are used. They use foam that is not highly flammable. I’m glad they finally gave the details I was looking for.

      4. I also couldn’t figure out how to reply further down the thread, but just wanted to thank you again for doing all this research and following up again and again to get that answer about the foam from Diono. We were away but I was planning to call again when I got home before biting the bullet and buying the Radian. Now I feel more confident and I am going to do it today (so interesting about the foam – why is everyone not using this?!). Thanks also for your explanation of Orbit’s foam flame retardancy – I knew I had read it somewhere but couldn’t remember where, and reread your whole post (as well as looked on their website), but I didn’t think to reread all of the comments.

        Keep up the good work!

  16. I over research too and it drives my husband nuts! Maybe they should form a support group. Ha. Thank you for the link to the swing sets. That is another item on our purchase list!

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      Honestly, I have done any research on it. I think that using your existing one with a new cover would be fine. I’m become really leary of anything that comes out of China. I’m ok with the Orbit because it is third party tested. When I have some time I am going to go back through my blog and write where things are made. I just don’t trust things coming out of China – especially for kids. I mean they are finding lead paint in toys, high levels of lead in shoes, Halloween costumes, back to school supplies all coming from China. So I feel like if a company says they aren’t using toxic chemicals things are still happening there. So the long answer is that if it was me I would buy an organic cover for your existing car seat 🙂

    2. I e-mailed Uppababy to ask about what they use in their strollers and car seat, here is their reply:
      “All of our strollers are tested to the following industry standards:

      ASTM F 833-07 Standards for Carriages & Strollers

      16 CFR 1303 Lead content in surface coatings

      CPSIA 2008 Improvement Act (Ban on Lead in substrates, Ban on Phthalates)

      ASTM F2194-07 Bassinet Standards

      CARB ATCM (California ) Formaldehyde emission levels

      The following is a list of chemicals and whether they are used in our stroller manufacturing process:

      Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDE)- No
      Polyurethane foam- Yes
      Polyvinylchloride (PVC)- Yes, Phthalates free
      Bromine- No
      Lead- No
      Chlorine- No
      TDCP (Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate)- No
      TCEP (Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate)- No
      Phthalates- No

      Our Mesa meets the following regulation standards:

      – FMVSS 213 (Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards for Child Restraint Systems)

      -FMVSS 302 (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for Flammability of Interior Materials)

      -ASTM F 833 (Standard Consumer Safety Performance Specification for Carriages and Stroller)

      -CMVSS 213 (Canadian Motor Vehicle Safety Standards)

      We do not conduct test that are not yet required by regulatory agencies, such as side impact testing. The flammability standard referenced above, FMVSS 302, is intended to prevent harm to occupants in the event of post-accident vehicle fires.

      As I do not have a more detailed list of chemicals and content, I suggest going onto the JPMA website for further information.”

      Any comment on whether the Mesa is any better than the other options out there? The stroller materials seem to be better.

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        I would want to know what flame retardants they are using and where. They are only telling us that they don’t use one of the really bad ones. I also am somewhat surprised they use PVC. I am guessing that it is in the rain cover for the stroller but would be curious about that one too since PVC is not good. I’ve been really busy lately and haven’t had the time to call. If you call them again to find out about the FR will you let me know what they say? I’m also curious about the PVC. Keep me posted. From the info they gave you I can’t tell if they are any better or not…

      2. So when I asked what specific fire retardant chemicals are used, and more specifically how they meet the flammability standard referenced, FMVSS 302, she couldn’t tell me. I responded asking where they used the FRs and PVC. I’ll report back when I get a replay. They have been really speedy and open with information which is great. I also felt ok with the PVC since it is phthalates free, are there still other harmful reasons not to use it?

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          So I had a couple spare moments and tried calling them too 🙂 The PVC is only used in the rain shield like I was thinking. No where else do they use it. PVC is not good so it’s best to avoid if at all possible. Which is why using rain shields aren’t good. It traps all the toxic stuff inside the stroller with your little one. She told me that they use non-chlorinated Tris on the foam only since it’s required by law. She said that it is the only way that can pass federal testing (which makes me wonder about Diono again!). Anyways, Chlorinated Tris is really bad and the Non-Chlorinated Tris is suppose to be not as toxic. I did a quick google search and couldn’t find anything more about non-chlorinated tris. Tris in general is bad but mostly that is the chlorinated tris. I honestly don’t know anything about non-chlorinated. I’ll see if I can find anything more when I have more time.

          1. Has anyone tried calling the federal agency in charge of the FR regulations to see how the Diono might be able to pass without FR? Would it be the FHTSA?

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            It’s been on my list of things to do and your posted prompted me to do it! I got in touch with the correct department. They called me back today and left me a voicemail. I will give them a call back tomorrow and let you know what they have to say.

          3. Thank you so much for doing this! Which agency did you call? I wasn’t even sure where to start. Looking forward to hearing more about what you find out!

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            US Dept of Transportation. I called someone else before and they directed me there. I returned their call yesterday and haven’t heard back yet. We’ll see what I find out!

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            So I talked to the gov’t agency Friday. All I found out is that they require car seat manufacturers (and cars as well) to meet certain flammability requirements. They don’t want the cars or seats to go up in flames before people can get out. That’s it. They don’t really care how it is achieved / they don’t require any chemicals to be used but it just needs to pass their test (that doesn’t burst into flames within a certain time frame). I’m still confused as to why EVERY car seat manufacturer (as well as car) uses chemicals instead of the foam and fabric that Diono is using. I’m just going to believe Diono I guess. I usually always take a company for their word because that is all you really can do. For some reason I’ve been having a hard time with this one…

          6. I agree naturalbabymama, I also have a hard time with Diono’s claim, mainly because I don’t understand why others, especially Orbit, wouldn’t be using FR free foams and fabrics. But all I can do is take their word for it and hope that the seat is really what they say.
            I called about the stain resistant fabrics I saw advertised on the box, and the customer service rep went to check with someone and came back telling me that no, Rugby and Storm are not stain resistant, only 2 other colors are (can’t tell you which ones but as long as it isn’t Rugby and Storm it didn’t matter to me). So that made me feel better about the seat.
            Unfortunately I am not able to replace the cover with Nollie Cover, I called and she told me she doesn’t make them for Diono, it has to do with the way Diono makes their covers that it is too difficult to replace. So we will be keeping the original, but since it is supposedly FR free and not stain resistant I am ok with that. Overall I am happy with the seat.

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          8. I think it’s possible that Diono is paying more for the materials than a company might pay for FR. If that’s true, though, I’d think they’d be announcing the lack of FR in marketing campaigns. It is a strange thing, but I’d assume that it comes down to cost when trying to answer why most use chemicals when they could just use the foam and fabric Diono is using.

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          10. If everybody were concerned about FRs then I’m sure they would put it front and center in their marketing campaigns. But honestly, a lot people either aren’t aware of the risks or are unconcerned. Proudly saying “Our car seats don’t have flame retardants” might scare away a lot of potential customers. I remember seeing some Amazon reviews for various car seats. Somebody brought up the dangers of FRs and many people said they were glad they DID have FRs. So I imagine that Diono is trying to appeal to all sides without alienating any potential customers…

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            It’s funny how people make comments like that – that they are glad they did have FRs. It just goes to show how uneducated most people are about this. ALL car seats have to maintain a certain standard when it comes to flammability. So if a car seat doesn’t use chemicals then they are achieving the same safety that the next safe seat that uses chemicals does. I personally don’t want my car seat going up in flames, as does everyone else, but I also don’t want my son sitting in a toxic, chemical filled seat either. For me that is a known risk that is happening daily. If companies would just use materials that were naturally fire resistant the problem would be solved! So for Diono they should be promoting the heck out of it. Saying that they meet all fire safety standards without the use of chemicals would catch a lot of attention – and maybe even change the car seat industry slowly.

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          13. RE: Diono finally admitted that they DO use FR in the foam. How horrible that they were lying to everyone along the way.

            This makes me SO mad! We bought the Diono after doing an insane amount of research and hours of debating which was the right seat for us for so many reasons, #1 being toxicity. We have been using it for about 6 weeks and have really loved it. But if this is true, I want to see about returning it – not only because of the FRs but also on principle!

            How did you find this out, naturalbabymama? (I believe you completely, of course, I am just curious how this came out?) And not that it is excusable because they absolutely SHOULD know what chemicals and materials are in their products, but do we know if they were just mistaken or if they really seemed to intentionally lie/mislead?

            Ughhhhhhhhh. So mad and frustrated! But thank YOU, again, for all the work you are doing on this and for the community and wealth of information you have created here.

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            It came out today on Organic Baby University’s facebook page. I’ve had commenters from my blog post similar questions there. She was told the same thing that they don’t use FR in the foam. She kept questioning them and after talking to their supervisor they told her they do use FR in the foam. I ended up calling them after and asking one more time. They still were a little evasive and I asked again if they used FR in the foam and they finally said yes. I would be so mad too. I would hope that they were misinformed but the woman I talked to at least 10 times reached out to their engineers and other contacts within Diono. It makes me feel like they were lying. They have a script now that they read out. I would contact them and let them know that you were told by them that the foam didn’t have FR and now they are saying it does. I would ask them to take it back if that’s what you want to do. Also since they won’t disclose what FR they use it’s a little iffy. The good thing is that the fabric doesn’t use FR. The foam will break down and the FR will be released. It’s a choice that you will need to make. I’m going to update my blog just so everyone doesn’t have to read all the comments to figure this out.

      3. I got the same info back in an e-mail on the PVC and also where they use FRs.

        “PVC is only used on the rain shield not other parts. Flame retardants are used on the bassinet liner and pad. It is also used on the fabric parts of the Mesa.”

      4. Since Nollie does not make covers for Diono specifically, does any one know where I can get flame retardant free & stain resistant free padding & covers for the Raidan RXT seat specifically? I just sent a message to the Etsy store mentioned in the post, the Sassy Stork, to ask if she makes them since I didn’t see any in her store, but I’m looking for a back up option. Thanks!

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  17. You ladies have been very helpful even though I am still confused. I had decided to get the orbit but can’t get in Canada, then I settled on the Britax but after going to pick it up today saw the Diono and actually had on the tag, chemical free – non toxic. Hubby wanted to get them right away but I wanted to research. I am so confused. Can they boldly just state non toxic if there are still toxins in the foam or wherever. I have sixteen month old twins and really want to get them out of their infant seats.

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      Well, they have said that they don’t add chemicals so that is why it probably says non-toxic. Non-toxic can mean many things and sadly I have found that a lot of times it doesn’t really mean non-toxic. I’m not saying that is the case here though. My question to them has been if the foam comes pre-treated (which it does in many instances). They have not been able to answer that question and the have not called me back – once again. I will try them again this week and see if I get anywhere.

      I’m impressed you still have your 16 month olds in infant seats! My son started hating his infant seat. I’ll post if I ever hear back.

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        I gave them a call today and what I found out is what they have been saying. They don’t use any flame retardants in the foam. They also were finally able to verify from their foam vender that they do not add flame retardants before it gets to them. I asked how they are able to meet the federal flammability law without the use of flame retardants. She checked with her engineer and called me back and said that they type of memory foam that they use is not highly flammable. It all depends on the grade and density and what they use allows them not to add any chemicals. She also did tell me that the foam is just for comfort and can be removed if there are any concerns. Anyways, there you have it! It’s interesting that other companies are using flame retardants because of the law if it really just comes down to a type and density. I’m glad they finally answered my question 🙂

  18. I hear you on how frustrating and upsetting this search can be. We, too, had decided on Orbit until I looked them up on Consumer Reports and found that their car seat did not do very well in tests. It ranks in about the middle of crash safety for car seats. It’s “good,” putting it in the middle of their scale. I’m willing to compromise on many things, but the ability of my car seat to keep my baby safe in a crash isn’t one of those things. It’s very frustrating. We ended up going with the Chicco KeyFit 30 in Limonata. Of all the seats made by Chicco, it’s the fabric that tested lowest for heavy metals and other chemicals in HealthyStuff.org’s tests. (http://www.healthystuff.org/departments/childrens-products/product.details.php?getrecno=22277) and it’s the highest rated seat for crash safety by Consumer Reports. I still feel like I’m borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. It’s horrific that we have to compromise on either our child’s health or our child’s safety. 🙁

    Thanks for blogging about this and sharing your research!

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      Hi! Thanks for your comment. Sorry it took me so long to respond but I have been enjoying the last of summer before it ends. I also had the KeyFit for my son. As I’ve stated before HealthyStuff is great but they only test for a few things. There are many other toxic chemicals that are used that they don’t test for. The only flame retardant tested is bromine which the KeyFit doesn’t use and which is why this car seat tests low. From what I have been told the KeyFit used phosphate ester’s as their flame retardant. I wanted to share with you what I know about this flame retardant. First, it’s a nerve agent (which was enough for me to know I needed to get him out of that seat). It also hasn’t been tested officially on the safety of humans. Some tests have been done and this is what I found: Even at relatively low levels organophosphates (which is what phosphate ester’s are) may be hazardous to human health. The pesticides act on a set of brain chemicals closely related to those involved in ADHD, thus fetuses and young children, where brain development depends on a strict sequence of biological events, may be most at risk. A 2010 study has found that organophosphate exposure is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Another study from the same year found that each 10-fold increase in urinary concentration of organophosphate metabolites was associated with a 55% to 72% increase in the odds of ADHD in children.

      Above was low level exposure. Regular use in a car seat would probably increase the exposure. Other known issues caused by this flame retardant are: increased cancer, kidney, liver and brain lesions, decreased fertility and studies on animals showed a decrease in live births.

      What is known is that your child will be sitting in a car seat that uses a flame retardant that is also a nerve agent. For me, the risk of the daily exposure to phosphate esters is a huge risk and a risk that I wish I never exposed my son to. If I had known I wouldn’t have. All car seats have to meet a safety standard. Consumer Reports additional testing is great and I am more than happy that my son is not absorbing harmful chemicals through his skin and lungs and that the seat was rated “Good”.

      I am glad that you were able to make a decision for your family but wanted to write you back so that you had the full information available to you. You, like me, were only making decisions based off of HealthyStuff which is not the full picture for this car seat.

  19. I’m about a week away from buying the Orbit Baby car seat but I just spotted the Nuna Pipa when ordering the Nuna Leaf. Says it’s made with certified Oeko-Tex® fabric. Your thoughts on this?

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      Sorry – did you already buy? I don’t know anything about this car seat. I would just double check with them that the foam is Oeko-Tek certified as well. If it is then I would think it would be a great option. I would ask if they use any FR on the base too.

  20. That is awesome to know about the Diono!! It is good to know there are some choices. Hopefully with more research more non toxic ways can be found to make things. Thank you so so much for all your research!!!! It is sooooo appreciated!!

  21. I am currently looking for a convertible car seat for my daughter and I keep delaying the purchase (and we really need it NOW) because I am so indecisive on which one is the best option. I narrowed it down to Diono Radian RXT in Rugby and the Orbit G2, but I just can’t make a choice between the two. I read the whole comment section here and it is very informative (thank you!), but I am still not able to make a decision I feel comfortable with. From what I just read it seems that Diono may even be a better choice since they claim to not need to use ANY fire retardants, since their foam density doesn’t require it, and they also claim to not use them in those 2 fabric colors. The frame is made from metal so no plastic to worry about either. It seems like that would be the best choice? Orbit, even though they use ‘better’ FR, they still do use them in both the foam and fabric, am I right? And the frame is plastic rather than metal and the plastic has to have some chemicals too. I was leaning towards the Orbit since it is certified and seems to have better reputation as far as the chemicals go, but isn’t it better to not have any FR in the fabric and foam (due to its inherent nature) plus the metal construction of the Radian, than to have some FR (even though safer but still chemicals) AND a plastic construction of the Orbit?? Thank you for all the research. I really hope I can finally order the car seat soon as my daughter is getting pretty tight in her infant car seat.

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      Hi there! I think all your comments are true and I agree with your thought process. I don’t like that either seat is made in China because you hear time and time again of them finding toxic substances that aren’t suppose to be in the item showing up (lead for example). I felt some reassurance that Orbit seats were subject to random third party testing with the Oeko-Tek. That being said, I think either seat would be good. I do like that Diono is using no FR’s. I would also go to a store and look at both if you can. I had a friend tell me that Diono reclines really far back and wouldn’t fit into her car (and she doesn’t have a really small car). Good luck!

    2. Kami, how old is your child? As far as I can tell, there isn’t any foam in the Orbit car seat. It seems to be a kind of styrofoam (which could have its own problems, but I doubt has any flame retardants). There is also very little plastic on the Orbit, and probably a little more on the Diono, as the base of it is entirely plastic and larger in diameter than the Orbit base. As far as I understand it, there are no flame retardants used in the fabric of the Orbit car seat.

      In reading the comments about car seats in general on Consumer Reports, they noted that for young infants, an infant car seat–like the Orbit–is safer, as the baby is more “curled up” and therefore needs a curved seat to better protect them. Convertible seats, like the Diono, are not as safe for infants because they aren’t curved. In addition, if you use a seat like the Diono, you’ll have to remove the baby from the seat every time you stop, which could wake them up and be tricky with an infant that can’t support their own head well.

      Therefore, our plan, thanks to the comments here, is to use the Orbit until our baby reaches the weight limit (30 lbs) and switch to the Diono until they meet that weight limit.

      Hope that helps a bit with the decision!

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        1. Laurie, my daughter is about to turn 14 months, so head support is not a problem. She is 23 lbs and 31 1/4 inches so she is rather tall for her age I think. And yes you are right, there is plastic in Diono, I went to look at it at a local Buy Buy Baby today, somehow I imagined metal base meant just metal no plastic but that is not the case, it is plastic with some metal. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find Orbit in any store, no one seems to carry it so I can’t look at it, just online. They told me at BBB that a new G3 is coming out this fall, I wonder how it is going to be different from G2, but I can’t wait that long. That’s good to know that there are no FR in the fabric and foam of the Orbit. Where would the FR be then, in the plastic base? (since they admit to using some but safer alternatives, they don’t claim to be FR free).
          We are most likely going to FF the seat from the beginning, I know it’s not recommended for as long as we can keep them rear-facing (and i am sure some are going to judge me for it) but my daughter absolutely hates her infant car seat, going anywhere with her is almost impossible as she will scream and cry hysterically and it isn’t easy to just ignore it, she gets herself really worked up. We are very limited in where we go because I always dread her losing it in the car seat. So we are hoping that the problem is she doesn’t like rear-facing and will be happier when looking forward (several people I spoke to whose kids hated car seats got better when they switched them to FF, and many ended up doing so as soon as legally allowed because of this). So unless my daughter equally hates FF (in which case it doesn’t matter and I might as well keep her rear-facing) we will be using the car seat FF from the start. So the swivel feature of the Orbit is not something we will use (not planning on getting the base), and I also heard that neither Diono or Orbit recline in the FF position. A person I spoke to at BBB actually suggested Diono if I plan on FF now since it has the metal base and so more protection for my daughter than most other car seats (he said his son hated RF too and they switched him at 1 year so he had a lot of sympathy for me, he was also very knowledgeable). But you have a good point too, that the Orbit may be more curved and so safer for younger babies. I also wonder which one is less upright?? They both seem to be pretty upright and don’t recline in FF and I would prefer a little more recline so my daughter can sleep in it (we hope). Diono says it does recline in both RF and FF but at BBB they told me that it doesn’t in FF and the only way to recline it is to put a wedge under the seat (not sure how this counts as 2 recline positions as I saw advertised).
          We don’t plan on taking the seat out with my daughter in it, I have a hard time lifting her in her infant car seat already.
          And does anyone know how the re-threading works in the Orbit?
          Thanks!

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            Orbit doesn’t recline at all – facing either direction. It is pretty upright. Most of the negative reviews on amazon are because it doesn’t recline. I hope your daughter likes the convertible seat better! My son was starting to hate the infant seat too. He is much better being able to see out the windows.

            I decided to call Orbit and find out a few more answers. The foam they use is a EPP foam which is a high grade foam according to Orbit. They do treat both the foam and the fabric with an Oeko-Tek certified FR. They buy the fabric and foam though a Oeko-Tek manufacture and they are already pre-treated but in accordance with Oeko-Tek and claim to be non-toxic. If you look at the Oeko-Tek website you will see what is allowed. I asked if they thought of using foam or fabric that is naturally FR and therefore wouldn’t have to treat their products and she told me that according to the federal regulation of car seats “fire retardants have to be used”. She said that they make foot muffs that are wool and cotton and don’t have FR but they are able to get around the FR on those because it isn’t part of the car seat.

            It’s such a confusing industry. Diono says they got around it and Orbit is saying that there is no way around using FR. Anyways, that’s the info I got today 🙂

          2. I have to say that your decision to not place her RF has a plus side. I’m with Forget Me Not USA and we see case after case of children being forgotten in the car because the seats are placed in the wrong spot in the rear (behind the driver, where they can’t be seen) and when they are RF, the driver cannot see them and is extra prone to forgetting that they are there, especially while the child is sleeping. I know, seems impossible. Good luck with the tough choice, I’m still having a hard time not only finding a non-toxic booster seat but one that’s made here in America as well. 🙁

          3. naturalbabymama: That is interesting and more confusing for sure! So Orbit claims they have to use FR in their fabric and foam, and being the most eco-friendly car seat company you would think they would prefer not use any if they had the option legally, while Diono (who is not even advertising the non-toxic nature of their seat that much) claims that they don’t have to use any FR in their fabric and foam. Sounds fishy to me. IF this is true, Diono would seem like the better option, but somehow it is hard to believe that Orbit would choose to use FR if there is a way to use fabric and foam that doesn’t require the use of any, being that their customer base is the most eco/ health conscious bunch and they should try to appeal to them as much as possible (and not using any FR would be a great selling point). Diono, on the other hand, doesn’t even use the fact it doesn’t have any FR to their advantage enough if that is really the case. Somehow something doesn’t seem right. Either Diono is lying (or giving away wrong information unknowingly) or Orbit uses FR when there is a better way. I am never going to buy my daughter’s car seat at this rate, why does it have to be so hard and confusing to make the best choices for our babies?
            Cherryl: Yes, forgetting your baby in the car seems like an impossible thing to do but I did see a mother telling her story on Oprah of how that happened to her, she left her baby in the car all day while at work (she forgot to drop him off at daycare and didn’t realize it till the end of the day) and unfortunately her baby died. I didn’t know something like that could happen but like you said sadly it does. Even though my husband likes to joke ‘just don’t forget the baby’ (I do tend to be forgetful and forget items all the time), my daughter and I have been joined at the hip since birth, I am a co-sleeping SAHM and I haven’t spent much time apart from her so when I do leave on occasions I feel like I am missing a limb. LOL! And I don’t know if there are any seats not made in China (that are available in the US)?

          4. Yep, there are; the Clek is made in America. 🙂 One of the highest safety ratings as well. But, like all of them, there is a negative; the fabric has a stain resistant chemical. Somewhere here in the comments we discussed it in more detail. It’s probably the one I’ll go for, I’m just procrastinating in the hopes of discovering the perfect seat.
            Yes, it is so sad that so many children are being forgotten in cars. Average of 38 per year, just in the U.S. Every week. 🙁 The good thing is that they are totally preventable, all it takes is awareness and taking the few seconds it takes to implement the safety steps. When you’re aware, as you said that you are, that everyone has moments of forgetfulness (driving and getting to your destination without realizing how), that’s the time to put a plan into action. Even if you KNOW it can’t happen to you. The easiest and cheapest is to make it a habit to look into the back seat every time you exit the car. The “Look before you lock” campaign. There are so many other tips. You can find some at kidsandcars.org and forgetmenotusa.com. And regarding the comment your husband made, I saw a news report about a dad who forgot the couple’s baby in the car (who died). The mom said she had just seen a news report where a dad had forgotten his baby and she told her husband if he ever did that she’d kill him. He scoffed and said only a moron (something to that affect) would do that. Days later he did the same. So sad, and the thing is he KNEW it could happen and did nothing to prevent it. 🙁

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            Cheryll – thanks for the good links and topic about remembering to look before you lock! We only have 1 car seat so that car has become our son’s “car”. Whenever we are driving that car it means he is with us. I also am with him a majority of the time so if he is not with me it is unusual. I’ve heard of people also saying to put the diaper bag, work bag, purse, etc in the back seat so that you always have to open the back door. So sad when it is so preventable.

            Good luck with the booster seat. I so wish that the perfect seat existed too. It should, it’s crazy that it doesn’t!

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            Yes, it is super confusing. I found getting info from Diono really, really hard. It didn’t make me feel good about it. The customer service rep was really nice but didn’t know anything. She would always say she would call me back then nothing. She did get huffy with me a couple of times too. However, at the end of the day she claims to have reached out to several people and claims that they don’t use FR. I agree with you that if they are really NOT using FRs then it’s something that the customer service reps should know. There are only 2 customer service reps at Diono so it’s not like it’s a super big company and getting information out is hard. There is another woman who is big into non toxic baby items also and she thinks that Diono is not telling the truth because of what she knows about the federal laws. I tend take someone’s word for what they are telling me. I mean that’s all we can really do. However, I have always felt uneasy / questioned Diono and their no FR. If I knew about Diono when I was making my purchase I still would have picked Orbit because of Oeko-Tek. You should go to the Oeko-Tek website and look at the allowable FRs. You will get a good idea of what they are using. If you have the budget you can have a cover made and you would be totally fine. Also, I don’t know if you read the link earlier in the comments about what Orbit has to say about all of this.

            I like that Clek is made in the USA but agree with Cheryll that I don’t like their fabric and I don’t like that they use bromine on the base. I can’t remember if we ever found out what they use on their foam?

            I agree with you that if Orbit had a way to not use FR I think that they would. They already show that they know how to make products that naturally FR (the foot muffs).

            It took me a really long time to make a decision too. After I made my purchase I felt a lot better. I still did wash my Orbit cover in soap flakes and vinegar at least 7 times though 🙂 I just had to get my son out of his infant seat because the chemicals in that seat were far worse.

            Good luck 🙂

          7. Where can I get an organic cover for a car seat?
            I am going to call Diono today, I did call them once some time ago and the person who picked up had me wait for just a minute while she looks it up, then read from some paper that no, there are no FR in those 2 colors, and I asked about the foam and she said foam as well was free of all of that. Seems to me that if that is the law they would have to add some, even though there are some fabrics that are inherently fire resistant, polyester I think. Does anyone know what the Rugby and Storm fabrics are made of? And what about Orbit, what fabric do they use? I know some pajamas say fire retardant when there are no added chemicals because the fabric (polyester I believe) is not very flammable. Cotton, on the other hand, is. So I guess in theory they could make the fabric meet all the fire requirements without the need for FR. And the Diono said that their foam is such that it doesn’t need any FR. That I am not sure of, I thought all foam was flammable but I don’t know enough about foam materials so I guess there could be some that are inherently not. But then why would Orbit use ANY FR if they could find both fabric and foam that could be FR free? Makes no sense. I feel like i am back at square one and I really want to get the car seat now! Like you said, naturalbabymama, my daughter is also using one that is not the best (plus she hates her infant car seat so we can’t wait to try a convertible), when I was buying her infant seat I went by the healthykids information that rated Chicco Keyfit 30 very highly so I bought that one (in limonata which was one of the colors getting a great rating) but since also found out that they didn’t test for some very important chemicals. I now wish I researched it more and I would have probabbly gotten Orbit system from the beginning. My regret includes the stroller which I am sure has FR (Uppababy Vista, anyone knows much about those?). Thanks!

          8. I thought I read it here, but somewhere I read that the fabric in the Diono is made of something–polyester, I think–that basically evaporates when heated too much and/or subjected to flame. So putting a flame retardant on it would be useless.

            I was given this site’s name for car covers: http://www.etsy.com/shop/smallsproutsbaby?ref=search_shop_redirect Looking around, I don’t see anything that says organic, but you should probably ask, as she uses a ton of different materials.

            If you search on Etsy, you’ll find other listings for organic car seat covers, too.

          9. Thank you Laurie.
            Well, I just spoke with an Orbit representative and he said their cover is also made of polyester, and they do treat both fabric and foam because it is required by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (if I remember the name correctly). So I am even more confused. Why would Diono not be required to treat theirs as well? And I thought polyester was inherently fire resistant? About to call Diono as well. I wish i could just make a decision, but I am starting to think I will just have to make up my mind without being sure what is the least toxic option.
            Also, how much of the FR, that are not chlorinated or brominated, actually get into the air? Maybe as long as I cover the seat, either option is going to be fine, as long as the chemicals are not getting into the air.

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            Right, my understanding all along is that FR are required by law which is why I never understood what Diono was saying. Maybe the next call should be to the dept that does the regulations to fully understand. I think getting a cover would ease your mind. Oeko-Tek is in place to keep toxic products out of textiles. So they are able to make FRs that aren’t horrible like the toxic ones being used by most other car seats.

            I had the same infant seat as you Kami and the FR they use in that seat is a nerve agent. My son spent a year in that seat. It makes me feel so sad. If you have the budget get a cover for your new seat and that will ease a lot of your concerns :). I didn’t get a cover for the Orbit right away but one is being made for me now by Nollie Covers.

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            Also, Uppa is a non toxic brand so your stroller is good 🙂 The only negative about them in my mind is that they are made in China. Otherwise, they have no FR or other toxic chemicals in them.

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          13. Well, I just spoke with a Diono representative and she told me very confidently that the Rugby and Storm do NOT contain any FR. She said the fabric is made in a way that it is inherently fire retardant so it didn’t require adding any FR, and that the other colors do have FR but they never used chlorinated or brominated kind on any of them. She said their memory foam also is made in such a way (it has to do with the density) that it doesn’t require any FR. So I asked her if it is safe to say that their seat in Rugby and Storm has NO FR and she said yes. I felt like she was telling the truth, she didn’t seem hesitant at all and was very confident in her answers, but it still leaves me confused as to why Orbit would not try to find fabrics that don’t require any FR. Still not sure what I will choose, but I think I will try to find a good organic cover and hopefully either one is a decent choice.

          14. Kami, this is just a guess, but after looking at both the Orbit G2 infant car seat and the Diono in Storm and Rugby, I think the construction requires different types of fabric. The Diono fabric seemed to be stretched over a frame (no clue what the frame is made of, as I didn’t try taking the fabric cover off). It seemed to be very thin, stretchy, and malleable. The fabric used on the outside of the Orbit infant seat is very hard and stiff, as it makes up the majority of the outside edge of the seat. The inside fabric is similar in feel to the Diono, so perhaps they might be able to make that out of the same fabric, but maybe that wouldn’t qualify for Oeko Tek? Anyways, the outside fabric of the Orbit is more like a canvas. I have no idea if they could manufacture that type of fabric so it would have similar properties to the Diono, but that might be part of the issue.

            Although I am concerned about safety from chemicals–after all, I think there’s much more chance a child would be harmed by them than from a car crash, considering they are definitely exposed every day, if in a car seat full of them, whereas you could easily go their whole lives without them being in a crash–the crash safety is technically the whole point of putting them in a car seat in the first place. I’m wondering how much changing the car seat cover or covering up the car seat cover would endanger my child’s safety in the car seat. I realize it voids the warranty, but what does that actually mean? I wish we had more information on that, but I’m not really sure whom I could even ask. NHTSA?

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            I think that Nollie Covers are approved by car seat manufactures and using her covers does not void the warranty. You should verify that with her before purchasing though. The covers of off Etsy would definitely void your warranty. I don’t know much about it but I don’t understand how different fabric would make a difference in safety. It’s not like you are change anything structurally. However, I don’t make car seats and I don’t know how that would change things. A lot of the people on Etsy say that their covers are suppose to go over the existing cover not replace it. It is up to you to decide, and to take that responsibility, to remove the cover your seat came with. Check with Nollie though 🙂

          16. Per getting a different cover for a car seat, would that be safe and/or void the warranty? I looked at the Etsy site of a woman who makes organic fabric car seat covers, but wasn’t sure if they would in any way make the car seat less safe.

            By the way, not necessarily connected to this discussion, but I did talk with Orbit about their footmuff (which goes underneath the car seat straps) and they said they’ve done crash testing with the footmuff in place, and it was safe. That was comforting to me.

      2. Oh, and by the way, the getting the baby out of the car seat tricky part? I have a solution that doesn’t require the back-breaking carrying around of a car seat carrier. 🙂 I used an organic cotton sling with my son and just placed him in the car seat while in the carrier; when it was time to remove him, I gently lift the sling up, with him in it, and pull out. Of course this only works for the time that they are small enough to still fit into the sling, but there ya have it. Hope this helps someone. 🙂

  22. I recently purchased two organic covers from Nollie (yikes, expensive!) and wanted to clarify – Basia (the person in charge of Nollie Covers), would not say that using their covers does not void the warranty. She did not even answer the question directly. Her exact reply was, “If you ever need to return your car seat, you simply take your NollieCover off and put the original cover back on. We have a perfect 9 year safety record.” I personally think that even if it does technically void the warranty, it probably isn’t any less safe. The covers are supposedly the exact same fit as the original carseat covers so it shouldn’t alter the safety.

    Another thing I asked was where/what country did they get the fabric/organic padding from. Because we all know how reliable items from China and some other places can be, claiming things to be “organic” when they aren’t. She said that was propriety information and would only tell me that they order it through a company in Los Angeles but that she did not know what country it originated from. I didn’t love that answer, but what can you do, you know?

    Finally, be prepared to wait a long time for your covers. The custom covers are supposed to take 5-6 weeks, but about 7 weeks went by without receiving either of the covers nor hearing anything from Nolliecovers about when they might be ready. I emailed Basia to inquire and it ended up taking a total of 9 weeks and multiple inquiry emails before receiving both covers. And only one of the covers was a “custom” order, the other was an organic cover that they had in stock already completely made.

    My experience with Nollie Covers is that their customer service is pretty terrible – well, post-ordering anyways. Before my order was placed they were very prompt with a response to my list of questions. Afterwards, not so much.

    But if it keeps toxic chemicals out of my babies’ bodies, it is worth it. Now… how do we find a CAR that isn’t filled with toxic flame retardant fabrics and padding? Maybe walking is the answer afterall…

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      Thanks for the update about Nollie Covers – I appreciate it! If I had to guess about the padding, a lot of organic cotton is grown in India. Some is grown in the US though. If you did the wool padding, most likely it is US or New Zealand but definitely not China. It’s funny, I was just thinking about a new car (well, new to me but used) and the idea of all the chemicals just overwhelms me. I know that our current car has chemicals too but at least it’s older so it has off-gassed longer. Wouldn’t it be nice to walk everywhere? 🙂

      1. Yes, it would be nice to walk everywhere. I walk or bike just about everywhere we need to go, with a few exceptions. For most of the week our car remains parked in the driveway, where it should be. That’s just one of the problems with today’s society, the “design” of “communities” leads to sprawl, lack of community and an over-reliance on vehicles, and therefore, an over-reliance on those things most toxic to us. Purposefully choosing our homes so that we are choosing a walkable, pedestrian friendly, lifestyle leads to a healthier lifestyle. Then we don’t need to worry so much about the toxicity of the car stuff. 🙂

  23. Hi,

    I’m in the market for a toddler car seat and definitely want to avoid FRs if possible. I’m leaning toward the Diono Radian, but wanted to contact them directly again about FRs. I emailed and got the below response. Sounds good and thought others might find it helpful!
    Cheers,
    David

    “All Diono products (car seats, boosters and travel accessories) comply with US, European and Canadian regulations regarding toxic substances such as phthalates, bromides, formaldehyde, bisphenol-A (BPA), cadmium and lead. Our car seats feature a proprietary flame-retardant process which independent testing has consistently rated very well in terms of low toxicity and out-gassing, yet we are always looking for ways to improve. Our new RadianR series seats feature some covers (‘Storm’ and ‘Rugby)’ made with a new micro-mesh velour fabric that is flame retardant without requiring any added chemical treatment process.

    Our seats do NOT contain BPA, Phthalates, chlorine or lead. In meeting all the North American and European standards that we do, that means our seats do NOT contain traceable amounts of those chemicals.

    They do not contain any material that has been bleached and we use a non-brominated flame retardant treatment. The seats do not contain any genetically modified organic material and all are AZO-free dyes. They do not contain any formaldehyde, PVC, heavy metals, triclosan, microban, nonylphenol ethoxolates. And, are any OEKO TEX no.”

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      Thanks for sharing! It’s interesting that they mention the fabric on the new Radian that is made w/out FR but they don’t mention that being true of the foam too. Maybe I need to let the foam issue drop 🙂 I’m just still not 100% convinced that their foam is FR free even though they say it is. I appreciate you sending this!

  24. naturalbabymama: I am curious to hear what you will find out as to how Diono is able to get away without using any FR in its foam and fabric. It definitely sounds fishy and i Hope they weren’t lying to me. So I decided to go with the Diono in Rugby and get a Nollie Cover. I wonder if that is as good as it gets? Since the cover replaces the foam and the fabric with wool and organic cotton, then there is no danger of any toxic chemicals, am I right? My car seat just arrived today, I haven’t ordered the cover yet, going to call today and find out the price and all. We will use it as it is for now. I did notice on the box that as one of the features Diono advertises is stain-resistant fabrics. That really annoyed me because I didn’t see it anywhere before and I didn’t think to ask before I ordered. Since we will be most likely replacing the cover, it doesn’t matter that much, but still, in case we do keep it I don’t want any stain-resistant materials. I am going to call Diono and ask if it is for all of their fabrics or if it excludes the Rugby and Storm as well.
    I am very disappointed to hear that Uppababy Vista is not as non-toxic as I was excited to hear at first. Unfortunately my baby slept in their bassinet for the first 3-4 months and it bothers me to think that it had chemicals. I can’t believe I didn’t even think to check it out before I bought it. I went out of my way to get a non-toxic mattress for her crib, yet I let her sleep on a bassinet that had who knows what in it. And the nice organic mattress I bought is yet to be used, probably never, since after sleeping in the bassinet we started co-sleeping (she was a terrible sleeper and it was the best arrangement for us). Of course our mattress is not organic, so my effort and expense of getting her the best mattress didn’t really matter. We want to get a new mattress for us soon and I definitely plan on getting an organic one but that’s a whole new research and expense, so we haven’t done it yet. Anyone has any suggestions?

    1. Kami, you said, “Since the cover replaces the foam and the fabric with wool and organic cotton, then there is no danger of any toxic chemicals, am I right?” I just wanted to ask a question for clarification: the Nollie Cover will only replace the fabric *cover* of the Diono, not the foam. Right? There still has to be padding between the cover and the frame of the car seat, or there won’t be much supporting your child from harm from the hard frame in case of a sudden stop or crash. Right? Maybe I’m missing something . . . I’m hoping to get a Diono when our baby outgrows the Orbit, so am taking notes for the future. Thanks!

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        When I talked with Diono they told me that you don’t have to use the foam – that it can be taken out. It’s just for comfort. They said it does not affect safety but don’t rely on me for that – definitely check with them again on that. I would have to go back to Nollie’s site but I think she can make padding?

      2. I don’t think there is any more foam other than what is part of the cover, which is why I thought the whole thing would get replaced (I read on the Nollie Covers website they replace both). I guess I am not sure where else there would be any foam, I need to check the seat. But like I said in my other post, unfortunately the Nollie Covers are not available for Diono so hopefully the original cover by Diono is non-toxic as they claim.

        1. I didn’t peel back the cover on the Diono, Kami, but I did peel it back on the Orbit. There’s definitely foam between the cover and the seat frame in the Orbit. On the Diono, the seat has metal and plastic in it (both of them hard and bulky), and the cover is very, very thin. I can’t imagine there’d be any way to keep your kid from getting bruised every time he/she sat in it if there weren’t some foam, plus in a crash, there’d be little keeping your kid from getting hurt by being pushed against the hard backing. What NaturalBabyMama said, about taking the foam out, indicates there is some between the cover and back. What I wonder is how the seat could possibly be safe, even for everyday use, without the foam? I’d think every little bump in the road would be uncomfortable without padding. Confused here . . .

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      Your situation sounds exactly like mine! My son slept in an arms reach co-sleeper that had FR for the first 5 or 6 months. So annoying! I didn’t know then. Then he moved to our bed because it was the best arrangement for us. At some point during this time, before he was in our bed, we bought an organic crib mattress that I’m sure he has napped on a handful of times – waste of our money! We did end up buying a new mattress for us mainly because we had a queen and it was a tight fit for all of us. We went up to a king and love it… but what I love most is the non-toxic mattress we purchased. I love, love Soaring Heart http://soaringheart.com/. They make such a good quality product using the best materials available. Plus they are really nice and knowledgeable.

      That is really interesting about the Diono stain resistant fabric. I hate stain resistant fabrics. So they claim to not be using any chemicals for FR but are for stain resistance? Yes, adding a cover is the best you are going to get. They aren’t cheap but you’ll have the seat for a while so you will get your money out of it.

      So are you talking about the Uppa Vista stroller or something else from them?

      1. Thank you for the tip, I will look into the mattresses. Did you get cotton, wool or latex?
        I was talking about the stroller, it came with a bassinet too. You can purchase a stand for it and use in the bedroom so we used it for sleeping the first few months.

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          I got a latex mattress which is then wrapped in a thin layer of wool then organic cotton. I tested out some organic cotton mattresses then tried the latex one and it was so much more comfortable for me. You can get an additional topper too – wool or latex to make it even cushier. We did latex.

          I’m pretty sure I remember reading that the bassinet did not have any FR. I know their stroller doesn’t so there would be no reason for them to add FR to the bassinet.

  25. This post/thread is so very helpful to me. Like naturalbabymama, I didn’t know about car seats containing toxic materials when I had my first child 18 months ago. When he was first born, I began to research EVERYTHING that went in, on, or near him and was surprised by how many dangerous chemicals there are in everyday products. My child also had a Chicco Keyfit 30 and once I realized car seats contain toxic chemicals, I contacted Chicco many times to find out what was on my son’s seat. They were not forthcoming with information, did not return my calls, or just sent me form emails which didn’t answer my questions. So, that essentially gave me my answer. Fortunately, I had heard of Orbit when it came time for us to get a convertible seat. It’s been in my car for a while now and I LOVE it. At the present time, we are in the market for a second seat for my husband’s vehicle. I read about Britax’s commitment to phase out BFRs, so I decided it was probably safe to order one as long as it was manufactured in 2013 given that was their phase out date. I ordered it from amazon yesterday. But, after reading this entire post, I’ve cancelled my order and ordered a Radian. I’d LOVE another Orbit, but since it’s our second seat that doesn’t get used nearly as often, I decided to go with something not as pricey, though I certainly want the second seat to not only be safe crash-wise, but also health-wise. I know the thinking right now is that the Radian’s foam isn’t treated, but I’m going to check this thread often to see if you get different information. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you and all of the other parents who are doing this important research for those of us who care so much about this topic. With all of us asking these questions and raising these concerns, hopefully the car seat manufacturers will take notice and make healthy changes.

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      I’m so glad you found this and cancelled your Britax order! It’s driving me nuts that they are playing up that they are phasing out BFRs. They are just replacing them with a different toxic FR. They are making it sound like they are phasing out FR all together – super misleading. I’m glad you purchased the Radian. I think I / we just need to believe what they told use regarding the foam.

      If you want to know what Chicco uses google phosphate ester. It makes me sad to think about it being a nerve agent. I am glad that we know now and are making better choices!

  26. Love your post and all the interaction that follows! I wish everyone was more aware of toxins in baby items maybe then the manufacturers would be quicker to react. I just found a Diono Radian RXT in Rugby for almost half price for all the Canadians out there: http://wp.me/p28cLd-bN . Just thought I would share since it is a such a pricey seat! Keep up the great posts:)

  27. Hi!
    I have read the majority of these posts until I got to your statement about the Uppa Baby being a nontoxic brand. Does that mean they don’t use FR? I have the 2012 UppaBaby Vista. Still leaves me undecided for a car seat. Can I just buy the orbit as a car seat or should I buy the Diono? Thanks so much for posting, really wish ai found all if this stuff out sooner. Everyone should seriously get this info when they find out they are pregnant! Have been using the Chico car seat since she was born and she is almost 6 months :(.

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      Hi! I’m glad that you found my blog! So, Uppa doesn’t use FR on their strollers but now they have a car seat and they do use it on that. So if you have the Vista then you don’t have to worry about having FR in your stroller.

      I feel you on the car seat, my son was in the Chicco until he was almost a year. So you can just buy the Orbit without the base. I like that the Orbit is Oeko-Tek certified since both car seats come from China I feel like it’s an extra measure of protection. Diono claims to not use any FR. Orbit uses Oeko-Tek certified non-toxic FR. So really I would say from a chemical standpoint Diono seems better if what they are saying about the foam is really true. That being said often things from China come into the USA and are found with high levels of lead… so the Oeko-Tek certification makes me feel better about that. The bottom line is either of those two are better than the Chicco so whatever you feel most comfortable with would be the best. At this point I would look at the convertible car seat and maybe just get an organic cover for the infant seat until you are ready to move her?

      I agree, everyone should get this info when they are pregnant. It’s crazy that things are so toxic for babies and most people don’t even know. The amount of research I did when my son was born to even this information was enormous. It shouldn’t be this hard but sadly it is. Hopefully some legislation will change things in the future!

      1. The uppababy bassinet does have FR in the foam. “Flame retardants are used on the bassinet liner and pad. It is also used on the fabric parts of the Mesa.” Email from the company.

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          Good to know!! Thank you for sharing. That is really sad. My son spent 5 months sleeping the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper with FRs. It makes me feel so horrible. I would have never thought that they put FRs in portable sleepers. I’m going to update my blog to reflect that. I was mainly focused on the stroller component when I reached out to them not the bassinet. Thanks again!

          1. Finding a safe bassinet (or item that’s small enough to put by the bed in our room) has been the HARDEST thing I’ve had to do in this pregnancy. There’s so little information out there, and I have felt foiled at every turn when I’ve thought I found something, only to figure out it has another unsafe component or chemical treatment. In the end, we’ve settled on a moses basket that I researched (it’s free from all treatments during the growing of the materials and after the basket is created) with organic cotton and wool bedding. We’re going to put it on a solid wood stand (also free from any paint, stain, or sealer that has dangerous chemicals) that rocks. It took me nearly 5 months of research, phone calls, and such to figure this out. SO frustrating!

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            That is so awesome! That is exactly what I would do if I was pregnant knowing what I know now. Do you mind sharing where you bought each piece? I would love to include it on the blog!

  28. Also, what about Bugaboo Bee? Does that have flame retardants?
    It’s so hard when you look around and realize so many products do. What about rugs? Are there any that you recommend? What about clothing? Does all sleep ware -even organic- have FR’s in them?

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      For Bugaboo I don’t believe they have FR but I think that they use PVC which is toxic. I’ll get in touch with them and see what I find out.

      Rugs can be toxic for sure. The best is untreated, organic wool with a natural backing like jute or something similar. We have hardwoods and only 2 rugs in our house. It’s been on my list of things too do. Both rugs are older so I feel like hopefully they have off gassed! I have google searched for organic wool rugs and have a found a few places but the prices were WAY cheaper than I expected so it left me wondering. Of course I found some really expensive ones way out of my budget too. If I ever find a company I like I will do a post on it.

      So I only buy organic, GOTS certified clothing for my son. Occasionally, I will buy Oeko-Tek certified PJ’s for him (organic) from Hanna Andersson. The GOTS certified does not allow FR or formaldehyde, which is in a lot of clothing. It also doesn’t allow for AZO dyes or heavy metal. Oeko-Tek does allow for certain “non-toxic” FR. So, I buy PJ’s from Under the Nile, Sage Creek Organics (get on their newsletter to get their sales which happen all the time), and occasionally Hanna Anderrson (which is FR free as well). I buy clothes from Kate Quinn, Under the Nile, Sage Creek, & Kite Kids (on Zulily) all of which are GOTS certified. I will do a blog post soon – I keep promising but I really will :). I have a handful of other companies I will post too.

      Also, for PJ’s there will be a yellow tag attached to them that says that the PJs have to be worn snug fitting because they do not contain FRs. Look for that tag and you know that they don’t contain FR. If it doesn’t have that tag then it has FRs.

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      2. No, organic can not have chemical flame retardants applied. So it’s always safest to stick to organic. That includes sofas, carpets, clothing, etc. Even if it says natural, it can still have FR applied, I believe.

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          Organic can actually have flame retardants applied – sadly. If it’s organic GOTS certified it can’t have FR. If it’s Oeko-Tek certified certain approved FR can be used which are suppose to be less toxic / safer. Most I believe are saline based. You can look at Oeko-Tek’s site to see which ones are approved. The other tricky thing is that a fabric can be certified and free of FR but then the rest of the item isn’t. I came across this with the Nuna Leaf swing. The fabric is organic and free of FR but that was the only piece certified and via email they told me they use FR on the form. It’s such a complicated, tricky environment we are in. Once you get it figured out though you learn which companies you can trust and it makes buying things much easier!

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          1. Just wondering if there is anything to look for when buying organic skin care etc.. For certification …as gotts is for clothing and fabrics

            Thanks

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        3. Those rugs are awesome! Thanks for sharing! I have some blankets from them and they are so soft.

          Other rugs I’ve used are cotton braided rugs from Capel. They’re really pretty and soft, come in tons of shapes, colors, and sizes, have NO FRs, and are made in the USA. You can find them sold online in several places.

  29. Thank you SO much for the reply. TRULY love your blog and what you are doing.
    I have a few more questions- do you know or can you provide the chemicals that are so bad and toxic in the flame retardants so I know what to look for/ask? I can’t believe EWG is so misleading. It would be good to know!
    Also, are there any groups that are trying to change this law? I feel like something should be done but I don’t know who to contact about it. It’s worth my time to try to get this stuff outlawed!
    And one more question, I know you said the EU won’t ship products here. But I will eb going there soon. Do you know of any car sats or other products I should buy while I am there that are better and not so toxic? Thank you again for this blog. I have shared it with all of my friends!

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      Thank you – I glad you love it and have found it so helpful! That is why I started blogging. I figured I couldn’t be the only one who cared and it was so hard to find information that I thought I should share what I found.

      I would just ask what flame retardants they use. Any / all are bad. You can google what they tell you they use to find more information… but again they are all bad so if they say yes we do that is all the information I would need. For almost all products (except possibly a car seat) you can find without FRs.

      EWG isn’t necessarily misleading it’s just that they are a small group and only test for a few things. They can’t test for every FR out there. So while it’s great that EWG is doing what they are doing it just isn’t the full picture.

      A lot of products that contain FR here don’t there. It’s not to say that all don’t. If there is something specific that you need I would reach out to the EU contacts for each company and ask them if they use FR, if their products are BPA, Phthalate, and lead free. I don’t think you necessarily need to stock up unless there is something you really need. Most things can be found here you just have to shop differently that you previously had. I never just pick up toys at a store anymore. I have a few local stores I buy from that focus on being eco friendly, etc but I buy most things online though. Also at this age my son has outgrown most baby stuff and it’s just about being outside and toys inside. I just know which companies are safe and I just continue to buy from them 🙂

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  30. I’m so grateful for all the research you’ve done. This is beyond helpful as I prepare to transition my 8-month-old son from his Chicco Key Fit to a convertible car seat. I’m just curious whether you ever got any good information on the Maxi-Cosi Pria 70? I’ve read non-confirmed speculation that it is much lower in chemical toxicity than other leading brands (if not completely free of them). And, given that it’s among the most popular seats in Europe, I’m wondering if it complies with the stricter EU regulations on flame retardants. Thanks!

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      I don’t have any info on them. I doubt they are completely free of them as none are. I think that any dose of FR is not good. Oeko-Tek is the only standard I’m sticking with now after all the Diono non-sense. So I would only recommend Orbit for a car seat from a non-toxic stand point. So, even though there are stricter / different regulations in Europe they have to have the seat comply with the US laws. So they can use different chemicals here than they do there. It’s really too bad but the only way to get the European version of their car seat would be to buy it there.

  31. Hi. Thanks for all the research you have shared. I am adamantly opposed to FR in general on the basis of them being ineffective and hazardous. I’m fully on board. However the thought occurred to me that the entire car is still full of FR. Is it worth it to buy a FR-free seat when the rest of the car is contaminated? If this is the means by which the Orbit tested positive, wouldn’t the same happen in our cars? I’m wondering if in a world of finite resources, if it would be money better spent on decreasing the FR load in my house by changing out some furniture. Let me know what you think. I may have missed something. Thank you.

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      Hi there! Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. I had some technology free days this past week 🙂 You are totally right, cars are loaded with FRs and other toxins. I always have thought you should start with the places your child spends the most time then start cleaning up those spaces. I do think that our culture has children spend a lot of time in car seats. I mean I have sat in my car for countless hours while my son was napping. We have strollers that we can just pick up the infant seats and move them from car to stroller then to house etc without ever holding the baby! Babies can spend a lot of time in their car seats. I think with the direct skin contact having FR free makes sense. As for the car itself, opening the door or windows, especially during hot weather, before getting in can help with the toxins in the car. Personally, I did exactly what you said, I changed our bedding (mattress and purchased organic sheets), then I changed our couch, I got rid of any toxic toys or mats, then I replaced his car seat. Part of his car seat being last was that it took me months to pull the trigger. The couch was something that I just had to do. I felt funny sitting on my toxic couch researching non-toxic toys 🙂 If you have to pick and choose what you are going to make non-toxic then most definitely change where the most exposure happens.

      1. Could you please recommend where you purchased a couch without FR? It has been my understanding that as of now there is none available for purchase because of the law. It bothers me quite a bit that our house if full of FR, couch being one of them, and I can’t wait to replace it with a better alternative. If I remember correctly, a law should come into effect this year that will allow manufacturers to make FR free couches but it isn’t until later this year (I could be wrong but I believe that is what I read). I need to look into it further but any advice of couches currently available would be appreciated.

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          I had one made for me by a local furniture maker. Do you live in a big city? This person happens to make eco furniture but the other option is to supply the person with all the material for them to make it. It is an undertaking but it was worth it to me. There are a few companies out there making furniture that doesn’t use FR but uses natural materials that are flame resistant. Let me dig around and pull up those companies to get to you.

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            Yes, those are great options. I used Ecobalanza. Elka was another that I looked into. I haven’t heard of the other two companies but I personally wouldn’t purchase a soybean foam couch mainly because it probably is made from GMO soybean and I don’t want to be sitting on that when there are other options available 🙂 I’ll pull up the other couple of companies I came across too. Thanks for sharing Laurie!

          2. To those asking about FR free sofas, there are several companies right now making organic sofas, or at least natural. If you go organic they don’t have any chemicals; if you go with wool or leather, they don’t need FR. One of the companies I’ve looked into is Eco-terric. There are several more in California alone. Google organic sofas, they’re out there. 🙂

          3. I received an email today that several of you may be interested in, especially those of you who already have the orbit:
            Subject: Recall notice from NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation
            You are receiving this message because you have requested to be notified if there is a safety recall regarding Child Restraint Systems from NHTSA’s Office of Defects Investigation.

            NHTSA Campaign ID Number: 13C003

            Synopsis:
            Orbit Baby, Inc. (Orbit) is recalling certain G2 Car Seat Bases, Model No. ORB822000, manufactured from March 20, 2013, through July 20, 2013, with batch numbers A0840, A0860, or A0880. The StrongArm Knob component of the Orbit Baby G2 Car Seat Base intended to secure the seat’s base, may become detached or spin. If the seat base is not properly secured, a child may be at an increased risk of injury in the event of a crash. Registered owners will be notified and Orbit will provide a free remedy kit along with repair instructions to them or any owner that notifies Orbit of the need for a kit. The recall is expected to begin during November 2013. Owners may contact Orbit Baby Customer Service at 1-877-672-2229.

            For more information for this particular recall, please go to 13C003.

            Thank you,

            Recalls Subscription Team
            Office of Defects Investigation (ODI)
            National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)
            U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT)

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          5. We bought our Orbit system and spare base just before the recall. All you have to do is register (or have registered) your bases (that’s the only part that’s affected by the recall), and they will automatically send out a kit to fix the problem. I called to find out how long it might take, as we need to get our bases installed soon. The customer service rep was very kind and professional. She said that the kits are currently being shipped out, and we should get ours in 2-3 weeks (we just registered a week ago). She also said that very few bases are having trouble with the knob, but they are issuing this recall and giving kits to everyone as a precaution.

      2. Thank you all for the suggestions on FR free sofas. I am looking into Ecobalanza now and I like them! I am going to call them tomorrow for prices, which I am sure will be a whole lot more than I want to spend on a sofa but what can you do, everything that is non-toxic is in the high price range.

  32. Im just finding out about these chemicals and is very depressing knowing I’ve been using a britax. My boy needs a booster seat i checked orbit but they don’t seem to make one any ideas on which is the least toxic?

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      I know, it is depressing once you realize all the chemicals that you have been using. I had a hard time with that. You didn’t know so you can’t dwell on it too much (even though I totally did dwell!) I haven’t researched it but I have a reader who was trying to find a booster. She was looking at Clek and was going to replace the fabric. I can’t remember what FR was use though. I would give Clek a call and see what they tell you about the FR. I don’t like their stain resistant fabric so I would definitely cover their fabric with something else.

  33. I absolutely LOVE all of the research and information you’ve provided on your site.
    Great work!
    We have decided on the Foonf ourselves by evaluating all the environmental health factors.
    You’ve helped us so much-thank you!

    I think it is vitally important to mention that ANY after-market products are 100% NOT safe to use with child safety restraints.
    Carseats are not tested with these products therefore there is no way to know if the seat will perform correctly in a crash (or even fender-bender).
    No: carseat covers (that go between child and seat), strap covers, seat protectors—nothing that did not come with the seat.
    The Facebook group: Carseats For the Littles is amazing and has taught me so much about safety. I recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about carseat safety.

    Thank you again!

    1. Your point about after-market products is a really important one. However, I just wanted to note that I checked with Orbit to make sure that they’ve done crash and safety tests of their infant car seat with the footmuff (which goes under the straps and the baby) installed, and they have. It’s incredibly expensive compared with other options, but we felt it was a justified expense, since we could be sure we weren’t compromising our baby’s safety in a crash by using it.

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        A follower of this blog sent me this about Diono. I think the information she found out was interesting and worth sharing:
        I spoke with four different people at Diono: 2 CS reps, 1 CS supervisor, and lastly their Global Safety Advocate, Allana Pinkerton. Over and over (and believe me, I PUSHED! And reiterated, and restated, and questioned…) they assured me that the rugby & storm are inherently flame retardant fabrics, and that all the foam in their seats is inherently FR, so these two seats have NO chemical FRs. I questioned why other people had been told that there was a proprietary blend and it was explained that that was a miscommunication, and referred to the carseats in the other fabrics (NOT rugby & storm). In total I probably spent at least an hour on the phone talking through all this.
        So, I am sure that some people will still not believe it or will just feel uneasy about the whole thing. I totally understand and am not writing to defend Diono or anything like that. I just know that I was freaking out a bit after thinking that I unknowingly chose a carseat full of chemical FRs, and I wanted to share my story because it has helped ease my mind a bit.

  34. I’m confused. You are worried about chemicals but promote the completely unsafe option of putting a cover not provided by the manufacturer on the car seat? That’s a huge safety no-no.

    Please note that the Orbit only RFs to 35lbs. Most other seats RF to 40lb, the radian, Peg, and foonf to 45lb+

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      Yes, I am worried about chemicals but I do note that it voids your warranty on your car seat if you replace your cover. There are comments in this blog about people stating to not replace your cover. Each parent has a choice to make. A lot of people put the organic cover over their existing cover, some people choose to replace, and some keep their covers. Thanks for your comment.

    2. I’m confused, it’s a cover. They say to not replace it because it hasn’t been tested but that’s just their way of protecting themselves. It doesn’t mean the child won’t be safe because a cover is slipped over it. And I would be a lot more worried about the definite dangers of the toxic chemicals they are sitting in. But as NBM states, each parent has to decide that for themselves I suppose.

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    3. I don’t understand how a different cover makes the seat less safe? The child is still strapped in the same way and the seat doesn’t lose its function just because you replace a piece of fabric covering it. And yes, some parents are more worried about the daily exposure to toxic chemicals and don’t believe replacing the cover makes the seat any less safe!

  35. Do you know anything about the Nuna Pipa. It says it Oeko-tex certified and it has some really nice safety features. I need to replace my daughter’s infant seat and I’d love to get your opinion. If you don’t know anything about it, can you tell me what questions to ask when I call? Thanks!

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      I think somewhere in the comments there is some info on the Nuna. What I remember is that the fabric is Oeko-Tek but the foam isn’t (and maybe the base). They use FR for sure. I know that they do in their swing and I also called about the car seat and they told me that they did. I’m almost 100% it is just the fabric that is Oeko-Tek. If you want to call and ask more info I would ask them what part is Oeko-Tek and what FR they use in the foam, base or any other part of the seat. It’s too bad that they aren’t 100% Oeko-Tek – actually that would be a good question to ask them! Why aren’t they. Good luck!

  36. Would you mind commenting on how you are liking your Orbit convertible seat? It has a lot of negative reviews about straps constantly twisting, chest clip sagging, rattling noises from the base, being so upright that the baby’s chin drops to their chest when sleep, the straps get tangled in the back and are very hard to get out. A lot of people really seem to hate it….can you comment on the pros and cons other than the non-toxic factor. This makes it worth it, but for that much $ I want to know what I’m getting into. Thanks! I LOVE your blog! Full of great info – already read the whole thing!

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      Hi! Thanks so much. I glad you love the blog. I have so much more to blog about but little time 🙂

      Great question – I really like the Orbit. I have nothing to complain about at all. I’ve never had the chest clip sag, ever! I’m a big freak about making sure he is in there all snug and the chest strap being in the correct position. I have never taken him out and had it be in a different position. I’ve never noticed if the straps twist so I guess that means that they don’t 🙂 I think once or twice in the past year once of the plastic clips twisted, and I twisted it back but it was no big deal at all. I read a lot about it not reclining too and would really love to know why that it such a big deal. I never had a seat that reclined so I don’t know any different. A few times he has fallen asleep and his head has fallen forward. I just reach back and pull it back into the seat. I think he fell asleep not having his head back all the way though. I didn’t start using the convertible seat until he was about a year though. I don’t know how it would be with a younger child. Either way no matter what seat I had I would have a mirror back there to keep an eye on them. I could see that reclining might be more comfy for him when he is napping but it really is no big deal to me or him. All I have is positives about it! Plus if you get the base having it turn to get them in is AMAZING! So many people are jealous of that feature. It makes securing them into the seat so much easier. The only downside is that it is a big seat compared to other seats I have seen. If you use the base it is tall but again I don’t have an issue with it at all. I really love it.

  37. I have just finished reading all these post.. Thanks for all the great info. Sadly I am just learning about all these toxins and like many of you it makes me so mad to know that my daughter has been exposed to this. She is 3 and I so want to turn back time but I can’t so I have started making neccessary changes. Changing my car seat is one of my first steps.. but I am still a little confused. Is the Doino good or not? I am canadian so the orbit is not an option for me.
    Also I inspect and install car seats so just to comment on the organic covers… Please make sure when replacing recovering an existing one that there is absolutely no iterference with the straps..ex. making them slacker.. at the wrong level for your child etc.. A good fitting cover should be fine but just make sure. I agree 100% with limiting/reducing exposure to all those horrible chemicals.. but make sure the car seat is still safe.

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      I think Diono is not perfect mainly because they haven’t been consistent with their answers. I think they there is a possibility that they use FR. If you can’t get the Orbit then Diono is probably the next best. I really don’t like that it is made in China and not certified – just because you never know about the products coming out of China. However, if I were you it would probably be the one I would go for. Can you get the Clek in Canada?

  38. Diono claims radian rxt in storm and rugby colors do not need flame retardants because of memory foam and micro mesh velour fabric. They also state this in their chemical statement on their website. I emailed and called them to confirm this. I hope this is true.

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  39. Hi everyone,

    This is the response I just got from Britax when inquired about using fire retardants and their promise to phase it out in 2013. I post it here for you:

    “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.”

    I personally do not believe them much. Let me know whet you think.

    1. Hi,

      I am so frustrated with trying to find a car seat as well. I too emailed Britax and got the same response as the one you received which I thought was very general and did not answer each of my questions specifically. I emailed them back saying this and requested that they respond to each question I asked individually and provide detailed info on the types of chemicals used. I am yet to get a response. In the meantime Diono answered my questions specifically and it seems that this is the best seat out there (offered in Canada) so far. To summarize the info I got from them… the rugby and storm covers are not treated with flame retardants… however the foam inside the covers is.This can be removed without impacting safety but will void the warrenty. The covers are not OEKO-TEK certified.
      The memory foam used in other areas of the seat are not treated with flame retardant chemicals. This was the response regarding other chemicals.
      Our seats do NOT contain BPA, Phthalates, chlorine or lead. In meeting all the North American and European standards that we do, that means our seats do NOT contain traceable amounts of those chemicals.

      Composition of car seats:

      93% Polypropylene (impact grade, co-polymer)

      5% EPS (Expanded polystyrene)

      2% Aluminum
      They also stated this: Please keep in mind that we as a company have always made low out-gassing a high priority in the manufacturing of the Radian’s. She stressed a few times that it rated low on chemicals and outgassing.
      So although it is not completely chemical free … It seems better (if we trust their word) then the others so far. Maybe you can provide some imput naturalbabymama?
      I’m still waiting response from Peg-Perago and another response from Britax.

      Janice

      1. Thanks for all this great info! If one did take the foam out of the Diono, how would one successfully replace it? What materials would most closely resemble the foam? Normally I wouldn’t care, but for impact safety, I’d think it’d be very important to match the density.

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          I don’t think I would try and replace the foam. Are you talking about the foam in the cover? One of the times I called Diono the person I spoke to said that it could be removed and didn’t change the safety. HOWEVER, I would call Diono yourself and find out if that is actually true since everybody seems to be getting different answers from them about things.

        2. You can buy natural latex foam. Not sure where in your area, but you can check online. Make sure it’s natural latex though, some latex isn’t and has chemicals as well.

          1. Do you think Latex foam would have the same density and thickness as the foam Diono is using? Is the foam attached to the cover itself or underneath it and loose? I’ve checked out the Diono Rugby, but didn’t try removing the cover.

          2. My understanding is that the foam that has been treated is sewn into the seat cover. She said if it is removed it do not impact safety. However if you plan on replacing the foam I would contact them to be sure it will not impact safety as well. The other foams in the seat has not been treated.

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        Oh my gosh, the Diono employees need to all get together and get on the same page! Holy cow they are frustrating. They have given out every variation of answer possible. I hadn’t heard that the foam inside the cover is treated with FR. That’s new info! Did you get it in writing? If so can you send it to me?

        I just responded about Britax but I don’t recommend them at all from a toxicity standpoint. They are just replacing two of the most toxic chemicals out there (which they shouldn’t have been using the first place) with other toxic chemicals.

      3. Thanks for sharing this, Janice. It is like a really bad joke except it’s NOT. FUNNY. As I’ve shared with naturalbabymama in the past, I spent an absurd amount of time researching this and specifically the Diono, and that is ultimately the carseat we bought for our daughter (this past August). I spoke with multiple customer service reps, a supervisor and their freakin’ chief safety officer Alana Pinkerton for a long time – while I am not impressed with the differing information and apparent confusion at that company, I was pleased that a woman this high up in the company was willing to talk to me and even gave me her cell phone number to reach her – I’m thinking I should post it here so everyone can call her and talk to her directly :). Everyone assured me that the foam they use is not treated with FRs, neither by Diono nor the manufacturer, because the type of foam it is – specifically related to density, I believe – makes it inherently flame resistant (at least enough to pass the federal tests). I pushed on all of this so hard (Why wouldn’t other companies use this too then? And why wouldn’t they want to market this amazing characteristic? And did they plan to do third-party testing?) and Ms. Pinkerton unequivocally stated that the storm & rugby carseats are not treated with any chemical FRs whatsoever (foam or fabric). This was after there were some similar confusing stories on another natural baby/parenting site, so I had re-contacted them even though at that point I already had the carseat, and I questioned the information I was given originally, asked why there was so much misinformation floating around, and reiterated all of my concerns and re-asked all of my questions.

        So the fact that there are differing answers from Diono yet again is really, REALLY disappointing. I want to believe that the Diono is actually the best option on the market because (according to my conversations with them) it is free of chemical FRs altogether, but now I feel – yet again – like maybe I really cannot trust them. Can we trust anyone out there?!?!

        Janice – who did you speak with you gave you this information about the foam? I am not doubting you at all, of course; I am just curious where the information came from on their end. I’m also wondering (though pointlessly, I fear) if there could be differences between the foam and therefore FRs in Canada versus the USA – I live in the US but believe from your post that you are in CA?

      4. I can’t believe Diono keeps giving these different answers to people. I wish we could finally resolve this and know for sure of Diono does or does not use FR on their seat. You said there are FR in the foam of the cover but not the memory foam in other areas of the seat. I am not sure what other foam is in there besides inside the cover? I don’t see foam in anything but the cover, the seat is made of the frame and then the cover with the foam and fabric. What am I missing? Thanks!

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          I agree, I wish they would just give one straight answer. It’s frustrating to say the least!

          I haven’t actually seen the Diono in person. I believe the Orbit has foam behind the seat. I’ll check again tomorrow but I swear I remember seeing foam back there 🙂

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      Britax is the worse. They keep saying this but all they are really saying is that they will “eliminate the use of all chemicals containing bromine or chlorine from all components used in our car seats and all other products”. They aren’t saying that they aren’t using flame retardants because they most definitely are. What they are saying is that they won’t be using bromine or chlorine in their products. So at least they are taking some of the most toxic chemicals out but they most definitely are still using chemicals and flame retardants. They are just spinning the story so people think that they are phasing out chemicals but they are only phasing out those two and just replacing them with others. I don’t recommend Britax from a toxicity stand point!

  40. I really like your blog. It gave me invaluable ideas especially now that I am registering for my first baby. I have become so conscious of what we are eating, and wearing. Here is a frighting talk I just saw. It is not related to carseats and this post, but you may find it interesting:

    So, it seems that Orbit baby is the safest option so far, though it is expensive. However, I just noticed on their website that Orbit products are free of BFR (Brominated Flame Retardants). How do we know that they are not using any other chemicals as fire retardants? Does their Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 forbid using any harmful chemicals?

    I also appreciate any suggestions for buying Orbit baby system is. I was going to get stroller base (with or without stroller seat), and infant car seat. Reading your previous post on efficiency of their toddler convertible seat, I thought perhaps we better get that one, so we won’t have to change the car seat after a year or so. I am not sure though how it works for infants. What about the stroller seat? Is that needed? Or is it fairly easy to use the car seat on stroller base?

    Thanks for the wonderful posts!

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      I saw that Ted talk awhile back. It’s really interesting and I hope it a lot of people watch it!

      Oeko-Tek does not allow BFR. They do allow some FR that they deem safe, mostly saline based FR from what I understand. You can go to their website and review what is allowed in the Oeko-Tek standard. The entire basis for Oeko-Tek is safe products and not using toxic chemicals. For example, clothing is allowed to have AZO dyes which is heavy metals. Oeko-Tek does not allow this type of dye to be used. Actually, the US does not allow it to be used in clothing made here. However, clothing made in China most definitely can contain AZO dyes. I buy mostly GOTS certified clothing for my son. GOTS does not allow any FR where Oeko-Tek does allow safer FRs. I still stand that no FRs are safe but if the car seat world that just isn’t an option. Diono goes back and forth on FR but if they really didn’t use them they would be the only car seat in the market that doesn’t. Orbit does use Oeko-Tek approved FRs which again to my understanding are saline based. With GOTS or Oeko-Tek, 3rd party testing is done to make sure there isn’t any lead, other heavy metals, or other toxic chemicals.

      I didn’t use the baby system. I don’t know if anyone here did? Maybe they can offer their opinion. I would also look up the convertible seat weight requirements. I’m not sure it would work with a newborn.

      1. I have the Orbit baby system. You don’t need the stroller seat if you have the infant seat; in my opinion, it seems the stroller seat is something you’d use with the stroller once your baby was too old/big to fit in the infant seat. The infant seat easily snaps into the hub on the stroller and works really well with it.

  41. This is the response I got from Britax:

    Hello Ms. Janice,

    As we revised our chemical compliance specifications last year, we made our own demands higher with all our suppliers. We required our Britax suppliers to be compliant by 2013. We apologize that we cannot give you any specific information because we deal with many different suppliers. So we would not be able to give exact dates and specs with so many suppliers involved. We can guarantee that all our seats are complaint. We have explicated many times in the past that some flame retardants are critical to achieve the flammability requirements mandated by the government. We use less toxic alternatives compared to the halogenated flame retardants

    All of the fashions are flame retardant due to inherent properties of the materials used during manufacturing. This is in order for the covers to meet the U.S. Governments standards.

    Best Regards

    Britax Customer Service

    Anyone know anything about Peg Perago?

  42. My above comment was for Janice, it posted to a wrong place, not under her comment. Here it is again:
    I can’t believe Diono keeps giving these different answers to people. I wish we could finally resolve this and know for sure of Diono does or does not use FR on their seat. You said there are FR in the foam of the cover but not the memory foam in other areas of the seat. I am not sure what other foam is in there besides inside the cover? I don’t see foam in anything but the cover, the seat is made of the frame and then the cover with the foam and fabric. What am I missing? Thanks!

  43. Just wanted to state as well how helpful this blog has been. I have been through the same stuff with baby mattresses, SO frustrating.
    And it’s also frustrating and sad that you basically need to be rich to be healthy- clothes, food, car seats, mattresses… Although on the clothes aspect- I buy only used clothes and wash them thoroughly (takes forever to get some detergent out!)
    Anyway, I wanted to state that every mom (and dad) that has read this post already knows SO much more, and choosing either the Diono or the Orbit will be a much better choice then many other car seats out there. Keep up the good work everyone 🙂

  44. Although it’s not a car seat issue, I’m currently trying to find a foam wedge for use in breastfeeding that doesn’t have flame retardants. In your searches to find foam that might be used in a car seat, has anyone found a company that makes foam without FRs where I might find a wedge? I’d love any help anyone can share!

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      1. Thank you so much for the great recommendations! I actually contacted European Sleep Works (http://www.sleepworks.com) who have latex foam products, and they’re sending me a wedge pillow meant for use for under a pregnant belly, just for the shipping cost! But I’ve saved the sites you posted for later use. Looks like many could come in handy later!

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      I have the convertible car seat. Yes, I’m familiar with Clek. It’s talked about somewhere in the comments 🙂 I talked to them and they weren’t too familiar with the details of their fabric since it’s sourced from another company but they did tell me it is given a chemical bath so that it is stain resistant. I didn’t like that answer.

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  45. The nuna pipa states to have oeko-tex certification. Isn’t this the same as the orbit? Why is the nuna not a viable competitor among the less toxic car seats? Has anyone down any research on this car seat? Any input would be great! Thanks.

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  46. I contacted Nuna to ask about the Pipa and what type of flame retardant they use and this was the response I received:

    Hi Meagan,

    I don’t have information as far as what is used as a flame retardant in the pipa, but I can tell you what is not used. It’s PVC free, lead free, phthalate (including DHEP) free, pbb, pbde and bromine free. 7T, tris-fr free (tcep, tpp, tocp, tccp, tdcpp, tdbpp and tbbpa free.
    I hope that helps.

    I am not sure what option that leaves for flame retardants, because all the ones I have heard of are listed here!

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      Thanks for sending this. I also called them this morning. They did tell me that they use FR in the foam. Since only the fabric is Oeko-Tex certified that tells me it is a FR that isn’t on the approved list by Oeko-Tex. Oeko-Tex allows some FR that they deem to be the least toxic (most are saline based I believe). Anyways, so they are not using those. There are a lot of FRs out there and she did not list all of them. What I was told today is that they are using non-brominated and non-chlorinated FR. They confirmed no lead or PVC is used. I asked them to find out which FR they are using. She took down my email and said she was going to talk to the designers to see if she could get an answer. I will keep you posted.

      Here’s my thoughts. Orbit is the only car seat that is 100% Oeko-Tex certified and is the least toxic on the market. Is the Nuna Pipa better than Brittax or some of the other main stream car seat? Yes, no doubt. It just depends on if you want no toxins certified by Oeko-Tex or not.

      I’ll keep you posted if they email me!

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      Ack, I’m sorry, I got my posts mixed up. The details I just gave you in my 1st reply were for Uppababy. I did call Nuna and they were less knowledgeable about where FR were used and what was used. They seemed a little confused but they are going to ask someone else for the details and hopefully get back to me. She told me the same thing, what was not used (which you listed above). I asked why the entire car seat wasn’t Oeko-Tex certified and why just the fabric was, she didn’t have an answer other than the FR they use aren’t approved by Oeko-Tex. She did tell me that they don’t use banned (haha, seriously?) or about to be banned FRs. The car seat, like most of the others, is made in China. I’ll let you know if they get back to me.

      1. No problem. I would still like to hear back from you when or if they contact you. With that being said, knowing the information that you have obtained for the companies thus far, do you think that an Uppababy car seat would be a safer choice than the Nuna Pipa?

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          Hi Meagan, I heard back from Nuna regarding the FR they use. They use ammonium polyphosphate. She said they used it on the entire seat except the base since that is plastic. I copied over part of the MSDS sheet below. Spend some time looking up this FR to find more info.

          From MSDS sheet:
          2. HAZARDS IDENTIFICATION SUMMARY
          KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN – CAUTION – May cause mild eye and skin irritation. Avoid contact with skin, eyes, open cuts, or sores. In case of
          contact, flush with water. Get medical attention for eyes. This liquid fertilizer is a reaction product of wet-process superphosphoric acid, anhydrous ammonia,
          and water. Nausea and vomiting could be expected upon large dose ingestion. The acute ingestive effects are described as nausea, chills, and diarrhea. Eye
          or skin contact with these products could cause irritation (particularly in sensitive persons), and respiratory irritation could be expected from the unprotected
          inhalation of fertilizer mists. Product users should avoid prolonged or repeated skin contact by wearing impervious gloves, long sleeve shirt, long pants,
          socks and rubber boots. Goggles for eye protection are recommended. Wash thoroughly after handling and using this product.
          This product is a clear green liquid with slight odor. Primary routes of entry are Inhalation, eye contact and skin contact.

          1. The skin contact could be an issue, certainly, and goodness knows what would happen if a child sucked on part of the fabric, but it seems like most of that is dangerous only when in a liquid form. What would the dangers be when dry?

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      2. From what I read ammonium polyphosphate is an inorganic FR, and has the benefit of not producing toxic gasses and are therefore considered physiologically harmless (NOT as super toxic as the halogen containing FRs with bromine and cholrine containing compounds). Ammonium polyphosphate is recommended as a safer alternative to the heavy duty FRs. Apparently a negative is that they have to use a lot of it for it to be effective as a FR–unsure exactly what this means but I think they have to super saturate stuff. Which shouldn’t matter if it’s not offgassing? I don’t know if it, like the halogenated FRs, will turn into dust and travel around. I’m assuming no issues with skin contact? I am going to investigate this stuff some more……I wish I had a chemist friend.

  47. My understanding is that there is no such law requiring flame retardants be used on carseats, just the same as there being no law that they be used in mattresses or furniture. Rather, what the law says is that they must meet a certain fire retardancy standard and be tested for it. How they achieve that standard can vary. Depending on the product, in some cases, non-wool/non-cotton/non-chemical fabric barriers can be used. In others, wool can be used. That being said, if you want to ensure that what the company is using is non-toxic, then you would want either organic or Oeko-Tex 100 certification. The only carseat I know of that has the Oeko certification for both the fabric and foam, is Orbit. Having certficiation for the fabric, but not the foam is meaningless. And if a company tells you that they are no longer using XYZ, that is also meaningless in my view, because they could simply be replacing it with something that will be ultimately just as bad. Certification and testing seems to be the way to go.

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  48. Thank you for this article and the helpful posts! The only thing I don’t understand are the references to the orbit car seat being a fully oeko-tex certified product. From my limited knowledge, the above certification is only in reference to the fabric, both the orbit and the oeko-text website explain this. Also both the nuna pipa and the orbit products only state on their website that the fabrics are oeko-tex certified which I think means that includes the fire protectant applied. From what I understand, the certification is of the whole textile product including the fabric batting zippers, fire protectant applied, etc. It does not include the whole car seat including the epp inner foam, plastics etc. I do see where Orbit has gone above and beyond on other aspects of their product but they do clearly state that they use FR protectant and that it meets standards and doesn’t include all the above bad ones etc. Have you inquired of them which one they do use because it doesn’t say on their website and is likely to be the same or similar to what is used in the nuna pipa product.

    Thanks, lori

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      Hi Lori,

      I reached out to Orbit some time back to clarify if they were Okeo-Tex only on their fabric and I was told that BOTH the fabric and foam is Oeko-Tex certified. They are the only car seat manufacturer to do that. The FR that Nuna told me they use is not approved by Oeko-Tek / I did not see it on the Oeko-Tek web site.

      Yes, FR are allowed w/in Oeko-Tex but they are the ones deemed to be the least toxic.

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      Sorry in the delay in getting back to you, I’ve been trying to find the time to dig into this further. I have emails from Orbit stating that the fabric and foam are both Oeko-Tek certified from October of 2012. I called today and found out that now it is only the fabric. They claim nothing has changed with the foam though. They will not release what FR they use. I asked them for the contact information of the company that makes the foam. I’ll see if I can figure this all out. Really, really disappointing that they dropped the Oeko-Tek from their foam. That was the entire benefit of Orbit!

  49. I do not think that the Orbit baby is 100% Oeko-tek certified. Here is some info i’ve received from their customer service: “…The Car Seat foam is treated with flame retardants to meet the car seat flammability requirements. All car seat manufacturers use the flame retardant treated polyurethane foam. We have not done any exposure tests to check whether the flame retardants travel though the fabric. Orbit Baby has tried to reduce the exposure by using Oeko Tex certified fabric, so that the primary surface of contact is safe….”
    So it seems that only the cover fabric is Oeko-tek certified but not the foam.

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      I just found out that they use to be Oeko-Tek certified on the foam and fabric and now it is just the fabric. I have an email from them in October of 2012 stating that they are the only car seat company that both the fabric and foam is Oeko-Tek certified. The change has happened in the last year. I will update the blog when I have some time.

    2. Have they said whether this applies to G2 models or G3 only? So devastated to hear this. The Orbit was expensive, but we dealt with the cost to keep our child safe.

  50. I’ve just sent them an email myself to verify for myself what is being said. If they said that nothing has changed, but the foam is no longer certified, then something isn’t right. Why wouldn’t it still be certified? It will be a tragedy if this is true because of all the people using Orbit (myself included), the #1 reason they were chosen was because both the foam AND fabric were certified. I’m in need of a toddler car seat now, and if the new model is no longer certified, then I will be looking for an older model.

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      Exactly, I agree 100%, something is up. I really hope they give me the contact info of the company they get their foam from. My guess is that they won’t. Really something needs to be done about the rules and regulations of car seats. It is crazy that little ones are being subjected to who knows what kind of toxic chemicals and we are being totally left in the dark. I was very upset to learn about this and let Orbit know how unacceptable this is (even thought I’m sure it didn’t make a difference). Keep me posted on what you hear and I’ll update if I hear anything from them.

  51. Thanks for the update. That is unfortunate news. It sounds like to me that this has always been the case and they gave you misinformation back in 2012. From my knowledge of fabric testing companies (I’m a Healthcare designer and work with treated/tested fabrics and tested furniture pieces), they do not consider foam a textile. My best guess would be that Oeko-Tex does not test foams. Here is the information that i found from Orbit Baby related to flame retardants. They sort of skip around by including the foam in sentences with the fabric but then never say what they do to the foam, only to the textile:
    http://www.orbitbaby.com/en/articles/flame-retardants/

    I don’t own anything that is Oek-Tex certified yet but if you do, you can type in the certificate number on the Oeko-Tex website and it will check the validity and tell you what kind of certification it has. That may help.

    1. It was a very clearly stated claim of theirs that they were the only company that had Oeko-Tex 100 certification for both the fabric AND foam. I have noticed that some of the places still selling the G2 no longer have that claim. And their literature no longer makes that claim and kind of skirts around it. Now they say “All of our car seat fabrics and foams are tested at independent, accredited labs on a per production basis to ensure compliance to federal flammability standards as well as “below detection” limits on bromine, which is further confirmed through internal analysis (XRF). Click here to see a sample XRF screening report. ”

      The XRF testing is kind of strange, because they also have this on their website: http://www.orbitbaby.com/en/support/healthystuff/ which essentially disputes the results that healthystuff came up with in their testing where they found chemicals on Orbit via XRF.

      I am looking forward to their response. I am looking for a truthful and direct response, whatever the truth is. Anything less than 100% honest, good or bad, would cause me to no longer trust them.

      1. Interesting. I guess the easiest way to find out is look for a certificate number on or maybe near the foam on the car seat. If there is a number, plug it into the Oeko-Tex website and see the certification, if there isn’t one, then it probably isn’t certified. They may have unintentionally made false claims about their foam and are correcting their marketing info now. Just a thought.

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          They responded back to me today saying the Oeko-Tek certified foam manufacturer went out of business and they started using a new manufacturer. They will not give me time lines or models. They are being very close mouthed about it which is scary. I’m testing my foam and will keep you posted. I’m also going to look for the Oeko-Tek number and will get back to. Thanks for the info!

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        I no longer trust them. They are not being forthcoming. They are using a new foam manufacturer and aren’t giving any details. At least Nuna told us what they use. It’s our right to know what we are exposing our children to. It is so frustrating.

  52. For those that already own the Orbit, you should feel comforted that Orbit seems to be the most proactive company overall in relation to keeping your child safe from the toxins in flame retardants and other contaminants like heavy metals (see link in my last post above). Most of the generic car seat manufacturers include terrible things in their products that the Orbit does not. At least your child won’t be chewing on toxic fabrics and their skin won’t be absorbing toxins from the fabric. For me, I purchased a Nuna Pippa and it is to arrive today at my house. We’ll see how toxic it smells when i take it out of the box. I’m hoping to air it out as much as possible before our baby comes. It too has the Oeko-tex fabric and i believe the fabric is removable and washable.

  53. Well, in regards to the toxic chemicals used in Orbit products I came across this article https://www.chanler.com/notices/archive/ergo-baby-carrier-inc-orbit-baby-inc
    Basically it states that the Orbit Baby Bassinet Cradle G2 model Mocha I Khaki UPC #8 98618 00138 6 contains
    Listed Chemical: Tris(1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate (“TDCPP”)
    Routes of Exposure: ngestion, Dermal, Inhalation
    Type of Harm: Cancer

    I called the chanler group and they confirmed that they’ve tested this bassinet and that is how they know that it contains TDCPP. They could not give me any farther info because it is an ongoing case but sooner or later the results will be posted on their website.

    This very item can still be purchased on Amazon; the product description contains the following info “Made with Certified Materials
    In keeping with Orbit Baby’s green philosophy, the bassinet offers fabric and foams that are certified by Oeko-Tex Standard 100, which sets strict limits on close to 200 potentially harmful substances and chemicals. You’ll rest easy knowing that your baby is surrounded by safe, materials”. I cannot imagine that Oeko-Tex Standard 100 approves TDCPP.
    It goes without saying that i’ve decided against Orbit baby products after reading this.
    BTW, the Center for Environmental Health has just recently published this article:
    http://www.ceh.org/productswithoutflameretardants/
    I’ve contacted both Britax and Combi USA and am waiting for a reply. I’d suggest you guys contact them as well – the more people will contact these companies the more likely the chance that they might actually eliminate all chemical flame retardants (or may be i am just a dreamer)

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      Thanks for sending this. That lawsuit is very upsetting to me and confirms other reports about the FR they are now using. I’m sending my foam off to be tested. Btw, Britax is NOT saying that they aren’t using FR, they are just not going to be using Brominated FR or Tris. Their marketing team is doing a really good job with this. They are still using them. I don’t know about Combi though. Let me know what you find out. I’m so upset about Orbit I can’t even think about anything else right now. I’ve shared your link with other sites that are exposing Orbit right now too. Thanks!

      1. How do you send it for testing? I’d love to do that. I have a G2 and want to know if mine has dangerous FRs.

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          Yes, you should do it! Duke University is testing and each person can send in 5 samples for free. It does take 45 days for you to get the results back. I sent mine in today plus a few extra things I wanted to get tested 🙂 Here is the link, just click on submit a sample http://foam.pratt.duke.edu/

          A follower of Organic Baby University tipped them off to Duke doing this testing. There are a lot of upset people; hopefully a lot of people submit samples and we get some answers!

      2. CombiUSA replied back and it appears that they will continue using FR. It looks like CEH.ORG posted this info without fully investigating the issue. I will let them know.

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  54. I also purchased the Nuna Pipa, it seems to have the same Oeko-Tex certification (fabric and fabric padding, but not the foam on the seat itself) and it is less expensive than the Orbit. It can also be used with 20 different stroller bases to create a travel system and is much lighter in weight than the Orbit. I washed the seat covers twice and let them air dry outside, that seemed to eliminate any traces of material smells that I could pick up. I wish they would have used a sewn on Warning label on the cushions, instead of the printed on version because I know that has some not so great chemicals, but the Nuna was the best choice I could find with the knowledge I had.

    1. Hi Meagan,

      Which stroller did you go with? We have the Pepp on the way to try out but we live in a more rural area near a beach and the Pepp seems so urban. I’m not sure it can hang in my environment…

      1. Hi Lori,

        I purchased the Baby Jogger City Versa, it wasn’t one of the models that Nuna says it is compatible with but when I emailed Baby Jogger they told me that the Nuna would work with Maxi Cosi adapters. This is the model they said to use Baby Jogger Car Seat Adapter, Multi Model Model # BJ90323. I am waiting for the adapter to come in, I will let you know how it fits.

  55. I have been following this post for a long time and shared my experiences deciding on a car seat about 6 mo ago. Long story short, we went with a Diono is Storm after I was repeatedly told by multiple people at Diono that their foam is not treated with any flame retardants; the density of the foam itself makes it inherently flame retardant (and their Storm and Rugby fabrics are material that also does not need to be treated). I honestly have never felt totally settled about this as I don’t know if I believe them but it felt like the best and safest option for us, even though I had debated and considered an Orbit seat as well. Now that all of this is coming out about Orbit and the new Duke program that allows you to test foam for free, I just wanted to say that I am sending in foam from our Diono to be tested and plan to keep you all posted on the results! I encourage others to do the same! Stay tuned…

    1. I too went with the diono. I could not get the orbit in Canada and after all my research and contact with numerous companies it was the seat I felt most comfortable with. I found them to be very consistent and even sent me pics to clarify the foam that was treated and the one that isn’t. There was a yellow foam in the cover that bothered me so I removed it. Sadly I think we will be hard pressed to find a car seat without any flame retardants. Do the new regulation pertain to car seats as well? That they will not have to have flame retardants? Hopefully this is the case and hopefully manufacturers will choose not to use any. I have contacted many furniture stores that are sadly planning to cobtinue to use them. So disappointing! I’m looking forward to hear the results of the foam in the diono. Hopefully they are true to their word

      1. I just looked at the Diono website since I am looking for a convertible carseat. It says “Our goal was to develop a fabric that required no additional FR treatment at all. To that end, we have already started down that path. Our new RadianR series seats will feature seats in colors called ‘Storm’ and ‘Rugby’ and these seats feature our new micro-mesh velour fabric that was made without requiring any additional flame retardant treatment at all.”

        What about the foam. I’m assuming that it is treated, but with what? Anyone know?

      2. Janice – did they tell you the yellow foam was treated? I am curious what they specified to you. Can you share? Thanks!

        1. They told me the foam within the seat cover was treated. Not sure if that meant the yellow foam or the stuff sewed into it. I took the yellow foam out. The foam under the cover is not supposed to be treated as with the cover itself. Polyurethane is highly flammable and is what is required to be treated. Not sure about polypropylene but I think it’s different.

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    They have said multiple times that the foam isn’t treated. They also have said that it is. There is a lot of confusion around it. I think it’s interesting that they say without requiring any ADDITIONAL flame retardant treatment. So are they not adding anything but are they saying the fabric company did in a round about way? Every time I talked to them, and many of the readers talked to them, they said no FR in those specific fabrics.

  57. I’m so glad you’re having it tested! Our son may outgrow the Orbit sooner than we thought; I’m concerned about what to go to next.

    Does anyone know if Duke will let us know what the results are or will they just lump all the information directly?

    1. Laurie – I think they are responding to all of us individually. That is what it seems like from the info on their site. I hope so!

      In response to heavens123 and to tag onto what naturalbabymama said, they told me many many times over multiple conversations that their foam is a density that allowed it to meet flame retardancy requirements without chemical FRs. When I pressed them about the “additional” FRs on those two fabrics, and asked if there was any chemical treatment at all, again I was told that the material itself (being a polyester) is inherently flame retardant. I pushed and pushed and they confirmed no chemical FRs were used on the fabric. So… we’ll see.

      One sort of interesting development – maybe? – is that I just cut some of the foam from my Diono to send in to Duke and noticed (I don’t know how I didn’t notice this before) that the tag says it’s polypropylene foam. I think most of these items with heavy FRs are polyurethane foam. I did a quick google search and didn’t turn up much but one article did mention that polypropylene tends to melt as opposed to burn (like polyester). So perhaps it does in fact meet the flame retardancy standards without chemical FRs? Perhaps Diono was telling me the truth?! There are three types of foam in the seat – the polypropylene that is attached to the fabric, a small piece of yellow foam on the actual seat (bum) part, and then syrofoam-y type foam around the frame. I cut small pieces of all three to submit! Will definitely post the findings here…

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  58. I wonder what foam I should clip to send in for the Orbit G2 infant car seat. I did a cursory inspection yesterday, and found only a very hard Styrofoa- like foam that was part of the bottom of the car seat, and then the pad that the child lies on which seems to be completely enclosed in fabric. For those who sent their foam in, did you open up the fabric pad to get the foam inside? Or is there something else I should do? Or did you send a sample of the Styrofoam part?

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      I did open the fabric to get the foam inside. I did it from the back and will stitch it back up at some point. I also sent in a sample of the hard foam / Styrofoam that was part of the car seat too.

  59. I am so frustrated by all these car seat and stroller manufacturers, and feel lost. I’m expecting in July, and live in Canada, making it even more difficult to find a somewhat safer option. The Orbit G3 is not yet available here, and won’t make it in time before the baby is born, and the Nuna Pipa is not available here either. Those two seem to be the lesser of the two evils. Any suggestions or recommendations from anyone?

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      If you can wait a month and a half some of the tests should start coming back in from other car seats. I’m most curious about Diono. That may be an option for you if the tests on the foam come back good.

      1. I’ll look into them a bit further, but they don’t have an infant seat suitable for newborns. I feel a bit iffy about their stain and water resistant crypton fabric. Anyone have much experience with that type of fabric?

        1. I felt the same way, iffy, so I looked at their site and got the name of the fabric and then googled it. It seemed like at least it was an attempt at an eco-friendly, healthier fabric, so….not sure it doesn’t contain ANYTHING but it looks like they’re trying. I still ended up going with the leather seat, just in case. I called and it has nothing on it except the leather, naturally. 🙂 I needed a booster seat this time, not a full carseat, so I’m not sure about the foam. 🙁

          1. Crypton is a product that is imbedded into the fiber when the fiber is made, so it’s inherently a part of the fiber. It is not an application or a spray. It’s greenguard certified which is the best certification in the US. Crypton exploded in healthcare design in the early 2000’s and can contribute to LEED credits. Its inherently impervious to spills and mildew. The only downside is that they recommend you use their cleaning products which isn’t a big deal. Now, with that being said, the fabric could easily be sprayed with fireproofing because crypton is not a way to make a fiber or the fabric it becomes, fire resistant. It’s only for making it water and mildew resistant.

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      2. C.Bennett,
        Did they tell you that there are no FR on the leather seat? If that is the case then how do they meet the federal standard? Is leather a natural FR? I’m hesitant to purchase leather with it being summer,too.

        1. So sorry it’s taken me so long! Yes, leather doesn’t need FR’s, as wool doesn’t either. And yes, they did confirm it on the phone. Personally, I’d rather deal with the leather in the heat than whatever gets put on the fabric seats of these things. 🙁 And you could always lay a cloth (organic of course :)) on the seat if it’s too hot.

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          So about leather, I would ask how it is tanned. The tanning process can be quite toxic. I would ask if they use formaldehyde and/or chromium. Both are pretty toxic. Are they better than FR, I think just different. I would be surprised if they had to use FR on leather though. It seems to me like it wouldn’t burn very fast.

      3. Hi. I’ve been considering the Clek and was wondering if you got your seat tested, what do you know about the leather model and if you got the beige or the black. I suppose the beige one is better?

        1. I haven’t had it tested, since the leather doesn’t have anything on it and it would be difficult to get through the leather to test the foam. But I figure I’ll go with what they said, that they don’t use the harmful chemicals, and with the fact that it’s covered by untreated leather it makes me feel better. I didn’t see an option for beige! Wish I had. Anyway, I feel that it’s the best we could do given the options. We’re pretty happy with it.

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            So 1 person tested their Clek, she had the foam tested under the head rest and it came back from Duke not testing positive for any of the 7 most common FSs. However, they may not have treated the headrest. She sent back in another sample of the foam in the seat and we are waiting to hear back.

      4. I’ve tried to contact Clek twice but I got no reply. When checking the Clek Foonf in store I’ve noticed that the cover doesn’t entirely cover the foam which is exposed in several places. The company not bothering to offer any information about their car seats makes me think there’s something horribly wrong with them.
        Maybe I should just fly to Europe and get a car seat there 🙂

      5. in this thread naturalbabymama mentions a reader had their clek tested and the foam came back negative from duke. do we know if they tested a leather or fabric seat? i wonder if the surface material may change the type of foam used underneath. i cant find anywhwere in the comments where the reader may have posted these test results. also….thank you naturalbabymama and everyone here for doing all you do to make this a safer, saner world for our children. it is incredibly sad that we need to go to these lengths to achieve what should be basic health and safety standards for our families. it breaks my heart that families of less means or education are frequently left in the dark and have access only to the worst (environmental-health wise) products.

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          It was a fabric seat she had tested. I’m not sure if the foam would change, my guess is that everything is streamlined and the same foam is used (but that is totally a guess!). She had the head rest area test and some people (including myself) thought that maybe that wasn’t treated like the foam actually in the car seat was. I haven’t seen an update if she tested the other section. With all that being said if I was in the market now I would be leaning towards Clek for a convertible.

      6. Thanks for clarification naturalbabymama. We are likely buying the clek foonf in the next couple weeks, and I’ll see if we can cut off apiece of foam for testing w/o it messing up the seat too much. Thanks to everyone here for contributing to the conversation!

  60. I heard back from Orbit today via email. I contacted them on Wednesday to clarify whether the foam is no longer certified and to ask what model car seats I should be looking at if I wanted to buy one that was manufactured when the foam was still certified. Here was the response I received:

    “Thank you for contacting us here at Orbit Baby. This is an issue that we are currently looking into.
    Best Regards, “

    1. I called to talk with them about some other issues, and asked about this, too. The person I spoke with said they are not yet sure which models are affected and are currently looking into it. I asked if I could be notified when they had figured it out and she said she would add my e-mail to the list of people to contact. The way she said this made me think that the company may have been surprised to find that the foam they were using was not what they thought it was. Or, perhaps, they are just hedging until they figure out hot to respond. But it did seem like they might have been truly surprised to find the foam was treated, if they thought the manufacturer providing it to them was doing as they’d requested. It seems like it might be a complicated issue. Not that I’m in any way okay with finding out that our super-expensive purchase may have been for naught.

      1. If I find my exorbitant purchase does not have certified foam, I will be very upset. That’s why I live on a shoestring — so that I can still buy safe items for my baby. I’m a single mom and it was very tough for me to manage the cost of that car seat.

        That being said, I now need a convertible car seat and even if the foam is not certified, since Orbit states what chemicals are not used and they seem to be the only proactive company, I would naturally look to them. Even if they are not certified, the worst offenders are not being used — or so I thought. If there is a lawsuit as I have read about because Tris was found in their bassinet, then not only are we dealing with lack of certification, but something is being used that they specifically said was not being used.

        That’s a whole other story.

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      2. It is hard to believe that they can be “truly surprised” since on their own website they state “…We do extensive testing of our fabrics and foams to ensure they are safe:
        Our car seat fabrics and foams are checked with preliminary XRF screening. (Click here to see a sample XRF screening report). These materials are also tested at independent, accredited labs on a per production basis, to ensure compliance to federal flammability standards, as well as “below detection” limit on bromine with the higher precision wet chemistry tests….”

        Or, do they really test the materials as they say they do?

        1. Why would they be checking for “below detection” limits of something they don’t use in their products? How would it get in there if they’re not using it?

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        No, they are not surprised. I was told at first it the foam was coming from the same manufacturer but they are no longer certified (which seemed odd). Then I was told via email that the company that made the Oeko-Tek foam went out of business so they had to switch suppliers. They knew they went with a company that was not Oeko-Tek certified.

    2. On their website it states “We use third party validated and certified materials:
      The fabrics and foams used on all Orbit Baby G2 products adhere to the international Oeko-Tex® Standard 100…”

      However, the chanler’s group 60 day notice IS about a G2 product so go figure.

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      Yep, they have shut down communication with people. I was told they can’t give me any more information. I think they need to figure their stuff out before releasing any information to the public.

    1. I’m wondering: are FRs usually used on styrofoam?

      On a different topic: does anyone know what strollers (separate ones not needing a car seat for seating) are most likely to be FR free? We have the Orbit stroller, but it doesn’t function without a seat, and if all the seats have FRs, then . . . I guess we’ll be stroller shopping.

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        I have a used Mountain Buggy and it does not contain FR. I made sure to buy an older model that was still made in New Zealand. The BOB is also FR free but is coated in polyurethane which I don’t love my son being that close too. The sun shade is much better on the BOB and the stroller itself is bigger and can carry a bigger kid. Now that my son is 2, he is getting a little big for the Mountain Buggy but it still works. He fitts totally fine in the BOB. We originally bought the BOB thinking that was the stroller to get. I just sat my son in the BOB for the 1st time in close to 2 years the other day just to see how he fits 🙂

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      She posted this on her blog only because of information she read on Organic Baby University. She doesn’t have any 1st hand knowledge of the Orbit situation and she doesn’t own an Orbit. She was trying to relay information about it so I wouldn’t read too much into this blog post 🙂

  61. This sounds like a disaster for both the consumers and the company.
    At this point, do not rely on a few internet postings and rumors to sort this out. Not fair to the company and not fair to ourselves. The internet is reliably unreliable. EVERYONE, send in your foam YOURSELF and get it tested as suggested by other posters. Let’s see for ourselves what the results are. Save your emails from the company. Save printouts of where the company is making claims.
    Good sense dictates that Orbit is certainly allowed to stop using certified foam as long as they cease to claim that they do. I would think they could do it quietly and that’s perfectly alright. But if they have been using other products that they explicitly state that they do not, then that will most likely result in legal action, if it has not already.

    That being said, can someone please reiterate how and what we should be sending in? On the carseats I see Styrofoam on the shell. There’s more foam under the fabric. How do we get to that padding to sample it? Let’s get samples of every model and every product tested
    .

    1. Amen to your voice of reason. I’m wondering where the best place is to get the samples of foam without making my car seat unsafe. It’s a very small sample, but I could see in a large piece of Styrofoam that if I start cutting into it I might cause cracks or fissures that might make it not safe. I would really love any assistance anyone has on how to get that sample without hurting my car seat.

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      I sent in a sample of both. For the foam inside the fabric (that’s mostly likely where FR are but I’m not 100% on that) I just cut along a seam line in the back of the fabric and took out a small piece of foam.

      1. Did you send in a sample of the white hard foam pieces that are in Velcro pockets on either side of the cover?

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          I didn’t. I did the Styrofoam that physically is attached to the base and some soft foam inside the cover. I didn’t actually realize that there was hard foam inside the cover.

          1. The hard foam is velcroed into pockets on either side of the fabric liner near the top. The pockets open in back. I just sent my samples in today, and I sent a sample of the foam from inside the fabric and also that hard foam. I’ll report back when I hear from Duke.

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    1. They only take so many a month; I believe it’s 50. That means that we have to wait until next month to submit our samples.

  62. I am looking forward to hearing the results of what people are testing since I am in the market for a car seat now. I’m hoping we have lots of Orbit and other alternatives being tested.

    Meanwhile, I wanted to caution people to not consider what a company says to you on the phone as being written in stone. They can change their minds and/or claim it was an errant operator. What they are telling you about materials should be in writing, both on their website and via email.

    And why wouldn’t it be? If a carseat is using a special type of foam that doesn’t need fire retardants, why wouldn’t they say so openly? There are so many articles about this issue that they surely must know what a selling point it is. Can you imagine a food company making an organic product and then not telling anyone that it’s organic? No. If they tell you on the phone there are no fire retardants and it’s not backed up by a written statement, I would not trust it.

  63. Can we have a roll call of what exact products people have sent in for testing to Duke this month? If everyone could put the make and model number and what components they sent in, that would be very helpful. We’ll all know what’s on tap, especially those of us who are waiting to purchase products. I won’t be able to submit until May 1, meaning it could be 45 days after that.

  64. I just want to add one comment about the Orbit car seat. I read this blog months ago and went out and got one. Then my sister sent me the Consumer Reports info on the seat. It has really really low crash safety ratings. It almost didn’t pass. All of Orbit’s products fair poorly. It’s a travesty that, if we imagine that they don’t have flame retardants, one has to pick between toxins and crash safety. But given the long term affects of the flame retardants, and the immediate safety issues from poor crash ratings, I’m not sure the flame retardants even matter. We should all just look at the chemical content of the top 10 safest car seats, no?

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    2. If you read earlier comments, you’ll see I said a similar thing. However, Orbit actually did poorly in original tests by Consumer Reports, but they were retested by the government, and did very well in all those tests. It doesn’t get “excelent” as a rating, but some of the ratings are based on things such as “ease of use,” which is hardly a safety issue, unless you cannot install the seat correctly. I’ve found it very easy to use.

    3. One further comment about Orbit: they recently came out with a new model: thd G3. It could have FRs (we don’t yet know what models have them), but it may earn a different safety rating.

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        My Duke University test came back today. I tested the foam inside the fabric and it came back positive for FR – Result: We detected TDCPP in this sample.

        I also tested the Styrofoam that is attached the car seat and it did not have FR – Result: No flame retardants detected.

        Jennifer at Organic Baby University also tested a Diono Storm (which the company claimed to be free of FR) car seat and it tested positive for TDCPP also.

        Did anyone test the G3? My Orbit was purchased in the fall of 2012.

        What is TDCPP? TDCPP

        TDCPP, or tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) phosphate, is an organophosphate flame retardant that is being used to replace PentaBDE. TDCPP, which is used as an additive flame retardant in resins, polymers, latexes, and foams, is most widely used in the US (annual estimations are 4,500-22,700 metric tons).1 There is evidence that TDCPP is a probable carcinogen and a developmental neurotoxicant2, as well as an endocrine disruptor in fish.

        For more information on TDCPP, read

         This Environmental Health Perspectives article,

         This technical report published by California’s EPA in 2011, and

         This factsheet from EPA’s Environmental Profiles of Chemical Flame Retardant Alternatives report on their Design for the Environment page.

        1. What item and model of Orbit did you test that came back with Tris (g1, g2 or g3). Not only do they state they do not have detectable levels of Tris in their products, as confirmed by independent testing, but Tris is not allowed under Oeko-Tex 100 is it? If it isn’t and they were advertising the foam as being certified….

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            Mine is a G2 purchased in late 2012. No Tris is most definitely not allowed in Oeko-Tek. Orbit has come out recently and said that they started phasing out Oeko-Tek foam in 2012. They did it very quietly by only changing the website wording. Super shady. They still claim they third party test and TDCPP isn’t in their product which obviously isn’t true. This is why I started blogging, you really can’t trust anyone. It’s really sad. Serious reform needs to happen.

      2. naturalbabymama, it is like with me buying a super expensive NUI 100% organic merino wool pants for my little son- the NUI Organics website states “100% organic” on their logo, the item description stated 100% certified organic wool, the sealed plastic bag with a bar code where the pants were also said certified organic wool, but guess what- the pant were not certified organic!!! I contacted NUI and they admitted making some non organic items for 2013. But by looking at the website, and at the item description (i bought it on Zulily), and at the sealed bag, one could never tell that these were non organic. Because of this shady practices one has no other option but to question anything and everything and even then there is no guarantee a truthful answer will be provided.

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          I know, it’s so hard. I had the same experience with NUI. I ordered from Zulily, opened the bag and it reeked like chemicals. I’ve actually emailed them 3 or 4 times and they never responded. Interesting that they responded and told you it wasn’t certified organic. Each time I emailed I asked if they were GOTS certified and that is what they never responded to.

  65. Hi, this isn’t about car seats, but it’s about flame retardants — by the way, it sounds like you and I have gone through a very very similar experience (as probably many moms who care about the world, their children, and their health have). We have a Eco Classical I crib mattress, and this is the correspondence I had over email with the company:
    1. Hi,
    We purchased the Eco Classica I for our daughter’s nursery, and I would like to find out if you use chemical flame retardants in the mattress.

    Thank you.
    2.Julia,

    We do not use chemicals.

    Cordially,

    David
    3. Hi, David,
    Thank you for your prompt response. Would you be able to tell me precisely what is in the flame retardants that you use?

    Thank you again,
    4. We use a natural cellulose rayon product that has inherent flame reduction capabilities.
    Best,

    David

    I have tried to read about this, and it’s clearly synthetic but is it a “better” alternative to standard flame retardants? What do you think? Thank you!

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      Yes, I agree with you. It’s synthetic and it’s wrapping the mattress to provide the flame resistance. It is WAY better than chemical flame retardants. I’m sure there is cotton or something else wrapping the outside of the mattress correct? The rayon is under that so I think it’s totally fine.

  66. Duke foam testing still says it’s closed for submissions. I will try again later today. I will refrain from judgment and action until I have received my own sample back. Samples can be contaminated if near other items with fire retardant, so it is prudent for everyone to have their foam tested, especially since the more positive tests there are, the more undeniable it is and cannot be chalked up to being an anomaly. I’m not in anyway discounting what anyone is saying here, but before I pursue this, I must have something first hand in hand, as should we all.

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  67. How do you submit a sample? Can anyone do it? Can it be of any foam, like if I want to test an old couch? Thanks!

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  68. Did Duke tell you how much TDCPP they found? I’m wondering if it’s possible for the seat to have become slightly contaminated by the car itself? the foam seats in the car have to be just completely saturated with FRs, not to metion other nasty stuff… I’m really trying to understand why Orbit would continue to insist they don’t use TDCPP if they do.

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    No, they don’t tell how much. It’s either there or it isn’t there. I’ve email Orbit to ask how this could be if they are supposedly doing third party testing. I just emailed them this morning. I kind of doubt it is from the car itself. The foam is sealed under the fabric. I had to cut open the fabric to get a piece of the foam. There is a good chance they didn’t know they were using TDCPP and it came from a supplier that way. Either way, Orbit claims to do testing and clearly something is off. I’m actually going to look into getting it tested here locally to see if I can get some values on it (how much is found). I just need to look into the cost of doing that…

    1. I’m sending in samples, and noted that on Duke’s website, you need to agree with this statement in order to send a sample:
      “I understand that the results provided to me through this service are not guaranteed in any way by Duke University, and I will not use these results as part of any consumer litigation. I understand that the results provided to me are for informational purposes only. ”

      So we can challenge Orbit on this, but this info can’t be used as part of litigation. Worth noting.

      I hope to mail my samples on Monday. I bought my G2 in October of last year.

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        I know, I read that when I submitted samples too. I have no problem paying to get my foam tested again somewhere else if it gets to that point. They need to be held accountable. I emailed Orbit today and received an email back pretty quickly asking for my phone number so she could call me. I think we are going to talk on Monday. We’ll see.

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          They did and left me a message. I haven’t called back yet but they want to buy my seat back and have the Duke testing results. I think they are looking for people who have the tests from Duke to buy seats back from. If anyone is interested I’ll give you their contact info. I haven’t called back because I don’t know if that is the route I want to go. I ended up buying a seat cover at the end of last year so my son isn’t using their cover with FR in it anymore.

  70. The foam is pretty well protected in the fabric. Orbit SPECIFICALLY sold these seats as having Oeko-Tex certified foam AND they specifically state (and still do) that they do not use Tris and do independent third party testing to confirm such. If the Duke tests are accurate, there are only so many possibilities and they all lead to Orbit being in big trouble.

  71. Ugh. What is everyone going to do? I’ve found myself limiting the time we go in the car now, which is so unfair to my daughter. But I cringe every time I buckle her in.

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      This entire this is so sad. horrifying and frustrating. Late last year I had a cover made by Nollie Covers and it uses organic cotton and wool. A lot of people don’t agree with replacing the car seat cover so each person has to make their own decision. It was a pain dealing with Nollie Covers, she was super responsive at first then 2 1/2 months after she said it would be ready she finally shipped it out. Plus it’s super expensive. I have no idea what the best thing to do it. The Nuna is looking more attractive.

      1. Great idea, but what do your kids ride in? I haven’t been able to find something that seems totally safe when writing a bike with your kids, and almost all of them seem to be made of either plastic or have cushions that probably are treated with flame retardants. So other than carrying your kid in your arms or wearing them in a baby carrier while you ride a bike, which probably isn’t safe, how do you keep them safe on the bike and away from flame retardants and plastics?

        1. Well, I guess it depends on their ages; I was thinking of maybe 3+ and they’d have their own. There are also tandem bikes, which are cool. I’ve seen these really cool bikes lately that are used alot in Holland, they have big wooden boxes attached at the front/rear that the kids sit in! so fun! if I see any infant carriers that look doable, I’ll bring the info here.

  72. Thanks for the Orbit Foam Update. I will check back here to see if there’s a new solution. We’re expecting our first child and your site has been very helpful. Thank you.

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      This is what I found out about Clek – They use a flora based flame retardant. They claim to be free of chlorinated and brominated FRs as Tierney said below. They also don’t use formaldehyde and claim to be lead free. The Foonf is made in Canada with parts sourced from North America (US, Canada, Mexico). The booster seat is made in Mexico with parts sourced from North America as well. The fabric is Crypton that is Greenguard certified, you can look up more info online about Crypton. It is coated with something that makes it spill proof (Crypton doesn’t release what it is but supposedly it’s non-toxic). Generally I stay away from spill proof, anti-bacterial, etc material because of the chemicals used but this does have the Greenguard certification.

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          Yes, we use it; However, they only test for a handful of toxic chemicals. It’s a good general guide but only tells part of the picture. They only test for brominated FRs where there are so many more FRs used than that.

      1. Yep. To me, this made me feel that the clek was my best choice. Especially, that it is made in N. America, not china. And to make myself feel better about the fabric I spent the extra few bucks and got the leather one, which doesn’t have ANY chemicals on it. We have it now and my son loves it and I feel that i did the best I could, given my choices. I wish the plastic, well…wasn’t plastic, but what can I do.

      2. I have tried contacting Clek and have sent in emails along with two voicemails. No one is calling me back. Anybody else have this problem?

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  73. Im due in 3 weeks and following this issue closely. Any final thoughts on a car seat? I am between Nuna, Diono, Orbit and Clek.

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      I don’t have a final thought except I wouldn’t buy Orbit or Diono based on the testing that has come out. I liked that Nuna was upfront about the FR they are using and use Oeko-Tek fabric. I like that Clek is made in North America.

      1. Thank you. I dont think I can wait any longer at this point. Ugh! Btw, do you know anything about the flame retardants in 4moms mamaroo/rockaroo bouncers? Thanks

      2. I just read through all the comments. I too am looking for a safe choice for my children. I will be following the updates closely because I need to transition my one year old to a toddler seat very soon. So thankful for this blog and all of you who are taking steps to ensure our little ones safety. I was considering getting a Nollie cover until seeing that it takes so incredibly long. Plus if I go with Clek I don’t think they make covers for this brand but I’ll double check.

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  74. Has anyone tried verifying oeko-tex certification on the oeko-tex website. I didn’t give it a thorough go, but every initial search for “orbit” can back with no results…

  75. My little one is due in 6 weeks and I am looking to find a solution for his carseat! I was going to go with the Nollie covers as I cannot see a downside to it (is there one I am missing?) She has some in the sale section that are apparently already made and ready to ship, however it is not an organic fabric. I am mostly concerned about flame retardants and chemicals, and emailed her whether her covers contain them… she said they don’t, but I was wondering if anyone had any further info on this? Their website doesn’t say anything that I could find addressing this issue. Thanks so much!

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      She is just using wool and cotton, so no FR’s in her products. Also look at Sassy Stork on Etsy. I need to update my post but Nollie was great pre-sale but after she literally took 2 1/2 months longer than she said she would with no apologizes. It was annoying.

      1. Nollie covers don’t prevent from the off-gassing of the FR used in the styrofoam of the seat though, correct?

        Clek finally returned my email, but didn’t answer my question regarding a list of chemicals and FR used. They just said “we do not use any harmful FR.”

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          I would write them back and ask them what specifically they do use. They should be forthcoming. I get concerned when companies aren’t. It’s funny how companies think that FR aren’t harmful!

          My Styrofoam didn’t test for any of the 7 most common FR that Duke tested for. I think that the FR are mostly used in the fabric and foam inside the seat cover.

      2. I would not count on them telling you anything. I personally emailed 25+times to Graco within 6 months trying to figure out what they use. Finally they forwarded my request to their Vice President Legal Affairs Newell Rubbermaid who still did not tell me what it is. All i could get from them was “…We are able to confirm that the model 1877535 is free of all of the current Proposition 65 substances that would commonly be used as a flame retardant substance. We also can confirm that this replacement product is free of other banned flame retardant substances. This includes substances known as: “TCEP, TDCPP, TDBPP, TCOP, TCPP, TPP, TBBPA, PBDE’s, PBB’s, BDBPP”…” I am using Graco car seat now and am waiting for the test results for the clek foonf seat (hopefully someone has sent the sample to Duke).

        1. Olga, can you send a sample of your Graco foam into Duke to be tested? I’d be so curious to see which FRs are found!

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      3. No, not yet. and when i asked they told me that few of my foam samples turned up some interesting results and that they are further investigating it. That was last week. In addition to 3 foam samples from the car seat i’ve sent 2 samples from natuzzi recliners so i am not sure which ones have produced these interesting results.

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      4. I finally got the results back for the Graco seat. All 3 samples had the following result:
        “We detected TBEP at greater than 1% by weight in this foam sample. TBEP is not one of the flame retardants we anticipated finding in samples. While it can be used as a flame retardant, it is also a plasticizer and we cannot be certain of why it was added to this foam.”

        I am not really sure how bad the TBEP is. If you have any info on it please let me know 🙂

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          This is really interesting, thanks for sharing. I think it was added to the foam because it is used as a FR 🙂 I read that it mostly used outside of the US but since pretty much all car seats except Clek are made in China that makes sense. I also read that TBEP is generally more than 1% of weight because of the type of FR. However, I’m not an expert and I really don’t know what all of this means. I don’t know if most FR are less than 1%. Here are a couple of things I read. http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp202-c5.pdf

          This link was really interesting, talks about toxicity. It starts on page 22. I skimmed through to almost page 50 and it wasn’t done. However, it was interesting to read the tests done on animals and what happened. http://whqlibdoc.who.int/ehc/WHO_EHC_218.pdf

      5. The samples were: 1.) from the foam attached to the cover fabric; 2.) from the foam insert in the baby padding/cushions; 3.) from the foam insert in the upper part of the seat where a child’s head would be.

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          Again, I really appreciate you updating us. I’m in the process of re-reading all the comments and making notes. I am going to update the blog with everything I know and everything you all have shared so all information is in one place. However, I’ve already spent quite a bit of time on it so it might take me until the end of the weekend to get it all together. Up until this point we didn’t have much on Graco so I’m glad to have this info!

    2. I found out from a fabric store that all fabrics contain chemicals applied to them. 🙁
      So…the only way to make sure that what you are buying doesn’t is if the product is organic or they verify the fabric is a natural wool with no added chemicals. Anyone have different info?

      Sent from my iPhone

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        I think most have formaldehyde and possibly other chemicals. GOTS certified organic cotton doesn’t. It’s the highest standard when it comes to making sure toxic chemicals aren’t in clothing / fabric. I love Birch fabrics. They are expensive but really cool and beautiful!

        Sadly, even organic cotton can have toxic chemicals added to it. The industry is just crazy. When my son was born I was buying anything organic until I realized that not all organic is created equal. Now I just buy GOTS certified, used if possible, and if I can’t buy used then I buy new.

        For wool, I agree, the owner would just need to verify that there are no added chemicals but ask lots of questions.

        1. Where do you find used GOTS clothes? I’d be wary of trying to find them on my own and receive something that wasn’t GOTS…

          As far as wool, I spoke with my neighbor, who spins and knits with her own wool, and she noted that even if chemicals aren’t used on the wool after it’s sheared, there still may be chemicals that were used on or in the sheep that would be in the wool anyway. Hopefully, this is not as true with organic, but one can’t be sure, I guess.

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            It is true, pesticides can be sprayed on the sheep (which is awful) just like conventional cotton.

            I’ve been meaning to do a clothing post so I’ll try and do that tonight and then share the link with the companies I buy clothes from 🙂

      2. naturalbabymama, In re to the GOTS cert baby clothes, which brands/sites do you recommend? My son is 14 months but he is tall so i buy for 24+months.

  76. I read this ENTIRE comment thread. So frustrating. I am expecting in June/July 2014 and am so happy to find more current/up to date info on these products. I totally agree with one mother that said she’s on a shoe-string budget but buying the safest/least toxic products are important to her that she went with the OrbitBaby Seat – and how infuriating it is when the cost for it is easily 2-3x of other seats to find out it has the same darn issues/chemicals. Anyhow, I’m leaning towards the Nuna Pipa infant car seat (as it seems to be the front runner here) – and perhaps next year when I need a toddler seat will re-assess, looking heavily on the Clek. I like that it’s allows rear-facing for longer. Unfortunately Clek doesn’t make an infant seat and Nuna doesn’t make a toddler seat… I’m also looking at stroller and travel crib options. I am liking the Mountain Buggy Swift Stroller (brand suggested by naturalbabymama) but am not finding any language on their site that CLEARLY states no FR/chemicals. Has anyone looked at the Nuna Pepp Stroller (cheaper thatn the Mountain Buggy) which touts “plush, cushy, healthier for baby certified Oeko-Tex® fabric”? Or the Nuna SENA (travel crib) also w/ Oeko-Tex® fabric?

    1. Update: I called Nuna and the customer service rep reported:

      ~Nuna Pippa car seat: They use ammonium polyphosphate as the chemical flame retardant per federal requirements in the Pippa car seat. Fabric is certified Oeko-Tex® fabric.

      ~Nuna Sena travel crib: As of *ONLY RECENTLY* They do NOT use chemical flame retardants on the travel crib. The rep said to order from them direct and contact them after ordering with your order number to specify that we want the crib from the newest shipment/warehouse that is made without chemical Flame Retardants. Fabric is certified Oeko-Tex® fabric.

      ~Nuna Pepp Stroller: NO chemical flame retardants on the stroller. Fabric is certified Oeko-Tex® fabric.

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  77. So how bad is ammonium polyphosphate as an FR in the grand scheme of FR’s?

    Thank you so much all everyone’s hard work with this!

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  78. Here are my results from Duke. I’m the one who spoke with 4+ Diono employees, including their Chief Safety Officer Alana Pinkerton, over the course of several weeks last August/Sept. I specifically called about FRs and pressed on the issue, asked so many different questions and was unequivocally told that Storm and Rugby have no chemical FRs whatsoever because both fabric AND FOAM are inherently flame retardant. I am going to contact Ms. Pinkerton tomorrow and see what she has to say now…

    Sample number: 277a [inside/underneath fabric]
    Product type: Child car seat
    Brand: Diono
    Result: We detected TCPP in this sample.

    Sample number: 277b [small yellow insert in bottom of seat, just extra padding, I just removed it based on these results]
    Product type: Child car seat
    Brand: Diono
    Result: We detected TCPP and TDCPP in this sample.

    Sample number: 277c [I also submitted the styrofoam on the plastic frame]
    Product type: Child car seat
    Brand: Diono
    Result: This sample was Styrofoam and we were unable to test it.

    Sample number: 278
    Product type: Sofa
    Brand: Vanguard Furniture
    Result: We detected Firemaster550 in this sample.

    Sample number: 279
    Product type: Sofa [old sofa from my husband’s parents]
    Brand: Unknown
    Result: No flame retardants detected.

    Sample number: 280
    Product type: Rocking chair
    Brand: Little Castle
    Result: No flame retardants detected.
    [I was so pleasantly surprised about this, though I think it must have some sort of FRs… just not those they were testing for??]

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  79. Thank you for your blog! I am so dismayed at these findings but not surprised! I had been in the market for a convertible seat 2 months ago and read your blog and decided to buy the orbit G3 with reservations. When it arrived, my husband took it out in the living room to look at it, and I had an immediate allergic reaction to it (I have severe chemical sensitivities). Not to mention for such a high price some of the functionality is incredibly cheap (i.e. the level adjustment). So the next day it was sent back to the retailer! I have to say considering my reaction to it I’m not at all surprised to read your blog now and and find out it has the bad FR’s. But it is very sad and unethical that they would dupe the public in this way.

    Per a friend’s recommendation we went with the Maxi Cosi. My husband took it out of the box outside this time, so I didn’t have the chance to have an acute reaction to it like the orbit, but it still gives me anxiety to think about the FR’s, and maybe its psycho somatic, but I feel like I have a reaction in the car and almost always try to change my clothes and my baby’s clothes after outings (which is not leaving a light laundry footprint!) I’ve also been trying to limit cart trips but it’s getting harder and harder as my LO is getting bigger and we live in the burbs. I was wondering if anyone else has experience with the Pria. I’ve read that it contains “minimal” BFR’s but what does that mean???

    I was actually starting to think about getting a Diono and was looking again for info when I came across your blog again. So sad to think that they were also misrepresenting their non-toxic footprint.

    Also, just today a neighbor offered a used britax car seat, but I’m a little uncertain as to the toxicity of used car seats – does anyone know if they are less toxic?

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    1. Question 1: If Orbit gradually changed over the G2 series to using foam that was no longer certified by Oeko-Tex, then why did they continue to advertise the entire G2 product line as have Oeko-Tex certified foam, even after it wasn’t?
      Question 2: While Duke does not guaranty their results, isn’t there a law firm in California that has independent testing done that came up with the same results?

      That being said, I am awaiting my Duke University test results. If they test positive for Tris, I will be seeking to have another test run by a lab that does guaranty their results. Does anyone know of one? I can contact the firm in California to see if they can recommend one, but if you also know of one, please advise.

      I already offered to let Orbit buy my carseat back and they declined. Let’s hope it comes up clean then.

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        Have you received your test results back yet? I have reached out to that law firm in CA and haven’t heard back. I called and emailed them 2+ weeks ago.

        Orbit should not have legally said that their foam was Oeko-Tek certified when they were phasing out / not all of it was. I think they are pretty concerned about the issue that they have on hand right now.

        1. No, I have not yet received my test results. As recently as a couple of weeks ago, Orbit still had information on its website claiming that all G2 products had certified foam. I have printed and saved that information.

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      1. Hi
        We bought the Orbit car seat (toddler size) last year. Does that mean it has Tris? I am so confused and dismayed by all of this and have no idea what to do. What was Orbit’s reply? The link didn’t work…how do we know what was found in Duke’s study didn’t come from the car seat being exposed to the fire retardants in the foam of cars???

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          It means that it could. Apparently they started phasing out of their Oeko-Tek foam sometime in mid 2012. Mine tested positive for it. I doubt that what they were testing came from the FRs in the car. There are other car seats out there that aren’t testing positive for Tris (like Clek).

      2. Thank you, they seem to have an office in my area. I am still awaiting my test results. I am wondering since the legal document stated it was a 60 day notice, where it stands now as it is long past 60 days. I’m also wondering why it is specifically only dealing with a Proposition 65 warning and not with the fact that Orbit specifically states that they do not use Tris.

        1. Was this only for the G2 or all Orbit products? I have the G3 and just send the foam out for testing.

          1. As of a few weeks ago, there was still info on the Orbit website stating that the G2 series had both foam and fabric certified by Oeko-Tex. Additionally, Orbit continues to claim no Tris in any of its product lines, backed up by rigorous third party testing.

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          They also don’t have a prop 65 warning on their car seats though. I think these are two different cases. Maybe I’ll call them again this week and see if they just aren’t interested or maybe they are already pursing it.

  80. I’ve pretty much given up on getting an infant car seat or stroller that is FR-free, but I do want to try to place some kind of barrier between the car seat/stroller and my baby-to-be. On this note, I wanted your take on Lamby’s Sheepskin car seat/stroller liner (http://www.lamby.com/product%20list/stroller.htm). The website says it is all natural, medical quality, and naturally flame resistant.
    One thing that worries me a bit is how it is first treated. On the FAQ page (http://www.lamby.com/questions.htm) they state:
    “HYGIENE: Mothers may ask “Is it hygienic?” Lamby lambskins are first washed for several hours in a vat. After drying they are placed in an automatic machine where they are alternately soaked and washed in a biodegradable solution for 24 hours. They are re-washed and, after they have been clipped and brushed, they are dry-cleaned. Lamby, as an added precaution, adds a biodegradable agent to the wash prior to packaging to prevent any bacterial growth. YES, LAMBY IS HYGIENIC!”
    I like the idea that it can be used in both the car seat and the stroller, making it more versatile and economical than other liners. Please let me know your thoughts when you have the chance. Thank you!!!

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      1. I’m wondering, can any fabric actually protect your child from exposure to flame retardants? In situations where the fabric is the only barrier between your child and the flame retardant, does that actually provide any protection from FRs? I find it hard to totally understand how fire retardants end up in our system; I’ve read that very fine particles come off and end up in the dust and we breathe them in. Can those fine particles make it through the fabric?

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  81. Thank you for writing this very helpful blog and thank you to all of you who sent in foam samples!
    I am going to buy the Nuna Pipa. Reading this chapter in a toxicology book helped me feel a little better about the ammonium polyphosphate (I’m not a scientist):
    http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=9841&page=273
    If the Clek Foonf is a less toxic option I will try to buy that next. Is leather really less likely to be treated?

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      Yes, the more I have read about ammonium polyphosphate (while I still don’t love it) I think it is one of the better FRs.

      I hope we get some results from someone about the Clek. I would love to know.

      As I replied to someone earlier tonight, I would imagine that leather isn’t treated with FRs. It doesn’t seem to me like it would burn very fast. However, the tanning process can be toxic (not always though). I would just find out if they tan the leather with formaldehyde and or chromium.

  82. I have been following the comments on Car Seats and I must say there are some really smart moms out there:) But then I wondered if they are protecting their babies from Electromagnetic Radiation too. In our house we have taken out the microwave and wi-fi. Cell phones are in air plane mode in the house at all times. The Bio Initiative report has stated along with Dr. Oz that children’s immune system and skulls are not strong enough to protect themselves. In short it alters DNA, melatonin levels, and they are carcinogens. Smart Moms out there please do your research. A really good documentary is “Resonance – Beings of frequency”. Keep up the good work!

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      EMFs are really interesting to me. I definitely try and limit it but it’s on my list of things to learn more about. I will check out the documentary you mentioned. We don’t use our microwave ever, I disabled our Wi-Fi and just use a direct connection to the internet. Our phones go in our office when we are home, but putting them on airplane mode or just shutting them off is a good idea! I think EMFs are a really big deal and I do agree that children’s skulls are not strong enough to filter them out.

  83. So, I’m sure my Chicco Keyfit is a chemical pit. I’ll send in a sample to be sure, but I already know it’s going to be scary… As for Nuna, I did want to add that their Leafs recently came out with no polyurethane foam (recently like April/May 2014). I didn’t realize that the covers had PF, and I emailed the company. They told me they would exchange my cover/insert for one without chemicals, and I just received the new one last week – it doesn’t appear to contain any foam. Just “resinated polyester fabric”. Gotta look into that, but thrilled that they’re not using FR. Thought this might be the same story for some of their other products, though I’m not sure….

    Thanks so much to everyone who posted here- it’s been super educational. I look forward to hearing the results of more tests, and I’ll post mine as well.

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  84. Also, realize this is a bit duplicative of what others wrote, but I emailed Clek about exactly which FR they use (since they do use some) and this was the response:

    “Unfortunately we do not know that exact fire retardants that are used and only know of the ones we do not use that are harmful.

    All of our components must also comply with the restricted substances covered in the Global Automotive Declarable Substances List, Washington State RCW 70.240.020, US CFR TITLE 16 Part 1303 and US CPSIA Section 101a.

    The partnership we have with Crypton Super Fabrics is one we formed mainly due to their ecological approach and the performance of the products. The fabrics repel moisture, bacteria and stains and contain no formaldehyde. The fabric uses a fluoro-based chemistry opposed to bromine or chlorine. You can find more detailed information on their products by downloading their Green Guides here: http://www.cryptonfabric.com/. Crypton fabrics are also Green Guard Select Certified.”

  85. I have the Summer Infant Fuze Stroller (100% Polyester Fiber) and Summer Infant Prodigy Infant Car Seat (14% Polyurethane Foam & 86% Polyester Fiber). They were both manufactured in mid-2013 and have the TB117 tag on them. I have been emailing Summer Infant for months to find out about FRs, but never received a response. So, today I called and the person I spoke with said that no FRs are used in either product. Is that possible? Would their products have complied with TB117 in mid-2013 without using FRs on the polyurethane foam? Are there other/better questions I should be asking? On one hand, I want to believe them and on the other, I don’t. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    1. Personally, I’d be shocked if Summer Infant had no FRs. I’ve had terrible luck with several of their products; they’re rife with chemicals, bad plastics, and formaldehyde.

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        Thanks for letting us know your experience. I don’t know anything about Summer Infant. I would call back and ask the same question again and see if you get a different answer. If you don’t, I would ask how they comply with TB117 without the use of FRs, does the foam manufacturer use FRs, do they use formaldehyde (which it looks like they do), BPA, phthalates, lead.

        The stroller might be ok from a FR standpoint, polyester just melts so there really might not be any FRs in it. However, the foam in the Prodigy would be concerning for me.

  86. I am now going to have to go ahead and get a convertible carseat, so I’d like some ideas on how to get the least toxic one. The only way I can think to get one without fire retardants is to buy one and then buy a separate cover. The covers are expensive, but since I won’t be spending tons of money on Orbit, I think I can pull it off for the same price, and probably less. That being said, there seem to be covers for only certain models available, unless you order custom and I can’t wait 8 weeks. Does using a replacement cover automaticaly void the warranty? Does it hinder the safety or is it only cosmetic? Apart from the cover, are there other areas in the carseat where the FRs are present? I’d like any and all ideas for product combinations that I can put together that will 1) retain the same level of safety, 2) have no fire retardants, finishes, lead, pvc or other crap and 3) among the options, pick the most economical one as I am on a budget (but feel strongly enough about this to make sure there are no FRs.)

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      I think this makes total sense. Check out Sassy Stork on Etsy to see what covers she makes. My understanding is that it is just the poly form (soft foam) that has FRs. I would call and make sure about the Styrofoam though. I would then figure out what covers are available then start your search from there on car seat. I still think Clek is a good option or Diono if you aren’t going to be using the cover. If you use a cover it will void your warranty. Using a cover is a totally personal decision. I decided to get a cover because of the chemicals used (and this was before I knew that Orbit was testing for Tris!). Some people say you should never add items to car seats (including covers) because it alters the seat and makes it less safe. When I made my decision it made no sense to me that replacing the cover, that has nothing to do with the structural components of the car seat, ,made it less safe. It didn’t seem like a risk to me, but again my decision for my family. Generally FRs are in the cover. However, some have tested on the base but it’s not common.

    2. I’m thinking exactly what you’re thinking. Sell the Orbit, with the money saved just buy a standard car seat and replace the cover with organic fabric and filling. That’s what I’m really looking at doing right now, Sassy Stork (Kate) responded very quickly to my inquiries, which is so very nice. Is that what you ended up going for Heavens 123?

      I’m having to buy an infant car seat, rather than convertible, so our options are probably different– I’ve got the standard Target options of Britax, Chicco Keyfit, Graco, etc. It sounds like as long as I replace the full cover (and foam/stuffing) then they’re all the same. Is that an accurate assumption or do folks think that some of the bases/plastic frames of these brands are problematic too?

      1. In my opinion, I would still not trust a “standard” company with overall bad scores. it’s not just the cover that’s a problem but the foam as well. In my searches I think I’m most comfortable with the quality and safety of the clek, which has the foonf for new ones. The seat I purchased also had the option of leather, which eliminates the need for a new cover. Just my observations.

        Sent from my iPhone

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          But the foam is within the cover. When you remove the car seat cover you remove the foam. The Styrofoam that is attached to the car seat (at least it is with the Orbit) isn’t treated because it’s not flammable.

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          2. Actually, I have the Britax and the Clek. The Britax was before I knew it was so bad and I’m in the process of trying to sell it and just keep the Clek. I have the leather booster, so I don’t have to worry about the fabric chemicals or foam. Thankfully.

          3. Why does the leather elminate the need for a cover? Is it just that the leather is so impermeable the foam underneath poses no risk because it doesn’t migrate through as it does with fabric?

          4. In my opinion, I think yes. And also, one of the main reasons behind a cover is to protect the baby from skin contact with the chemically coated fabric on the seat. With the leather seat, you don’t have that worry, as the chemicals are not needed on leather.

          5. But aren’t chemicals used to “make” the leather and/or give it certain properties (softness, waterproof, durability, etc)? Are those toxic?

          6. Leather has its own set of chemicals. And as in all foam seating products, when you sit down, the air in the foam usually has to vent somewhere, whether its going to come out through the fabric or via the seams. I can’t imagine why a leather seat would prevent fire retardants from migrating.

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            Leather does have it’s own set of checmicals used to tan it. Sometimes it can be done naturally – like vegetable tanning. Most of the time formaldehyde and chrome is used. Chrome is very toxic and most leather is tanned this way. I was just reading something that says on average 250 chemicals are used to tan traditional leather. If you want to read more about the exposure workers are experiencing working in a leather tanning factory read this http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/1651375/toxic_chemicals_used_for_leather_production_poisoning_indias_tannery_workers.html.

          8. Leather isn’t just tanned in India though, in the U.S. tanning is still done and sometimes it is vegetable tanning. I buy a cute shoe for my son and I that’s handmade in Oregon using natural, eco-friendly tanning methods (softstarshoes.com). Since there doesn’t seem to be a better choice right now, and I’ve already bought it, I’m hoping that the method Clek used for the carseat is just as safe; they do seem to be trying with the other features. Not much else i can do.

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            Yes, it isn’t just done in India – that was just an example. It is done all over the world. I totally buy Soft Star shoes too (and love them). I buy the vege tanned leather which is tanned in Germany. There are def some safe options out there but a majority (like 80%+ is done using not safe methods). I have no idea what Clek does but I agree they do seem like a responsible company 🙂

          10. I know the process to tan leather can be v v toxic, but I somehow thought the leather itself wouldn’t necessarily retain all those chemicals…argh. often, knowing too much makes things so difficult! i still think i’ll opt for the leather booster (can’t afford the leather foonf though) over fabric, it seems instinctively like a better option, even if it’s not.

          11. Wouldn’t FRs migrate more slowly, at least, through leather, since it’s less permeable than fabric? (to my understanding)

      2. I opted not to buy a cover and replace the carseat. Number one priority is safety in a car crash. Number two is low or no toxicity. When crash tests are done to rate whether or not a car seat is safe and whether or not it passes standards, it’s done with the original equipment and original foam. I’m not convinced that replacing foam of the specific depth and density that passed specifications with wool or cotton batting of a different density is an even trade. I use almost no polyurethane foam at home and use wool, cotton and latex instead. I am aware of them having different properties and while perhaps latex retains it’s cushioning and bounce, wool and cotton certainly do compress. You can have wool recarded or replaced to regain it’s loft, but it does compress. How would that fare in a car crash in conjunction with the other materials used in the car seat? The shell is the first line protection, but if your little one slams into that shell, will wool be enough padding to prevent injury. I don’t know and I don’t want to find out. I opted to select a carseat for use without replacing the padding. That being said, I may get some kind of cover just for cleanliness, but I will not be relying upon that cover for crash protection.

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          You make good points; however, I will say that when I was talking with Diono their rep told me multiple times I can just remove the polyurethane foam in the fabric if I was so concerned about FRs. She said it is just there for comfort and doesn’t have to do with safety. If that’s something somebody wants to do I would definitely check with the company again before doing that. With all that being said, I wouldn’t personally remove it and not replace it with something. I feel that the safety features come from the base itself as well as the Styrofoam and harness. My car seat cover hasn’t compressed or become weird / lumpy at all after 9 months of use. BUT each person has to make a decision that they are comfortable with for their family. There is no right decision for everybody.

        2. heavens123, supposedly using a cover of any kind over a car seat renders it unsafe – car seats for the littles strenously opposes this! just letting you know that since your priority is keeping the seat as safe/effective as it was during crash testing, you should avoid any cover at all over the seat.

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  87. If they didn’t use solid gasoline for their foam, they wouldn’t need so much FR. I’m so frustrated that I have no choice in the matter.

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  88. I read somewhere someone removed the foam from the car seat, and replaced it with cotton/wool batting for comfort and natural FR. I also bought a Orbit toddler seat in 2012 thinking it would be the best option–for the bucket seat I used Chicco Keyfit 30 with a Bokoo organic cover (I sold the seat, kept the cover). Now I’m due with baby two in a few months and need to make a decision. A friend gave me her 2012 Graco Snugride 30 and it only has one thin piece of foam on the back (does not seem that comfy!). I washed the covers–mostly polyester but I don’t know if they were treatd with FR or not–in degreasing dish soap and lots of detergent/hot water. I do not know if the Graco seat has FR in the styrofoam or the hard black plastic etc. It seems like if you can find a base/hard foam/harness that is relatively toxin free and feel OK about just tearing that FR soaked cushy foam out/replacing with wool or whatever–and using a seat that doesn’t have it in there along with a cover….is this an acceptable option? I am toying with the idea now.

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      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! You probably read that on my blog 🙂 I removed the entire car seat cover with the foam and bought a replacement cover from Nollie Covers. There are a couple of other places that sell covers but I believe Nollie Covers is the only one that makes covers for Orbit. They are expensive and they take longer than she says they will to make – just an fyi :). Replacing the cover on your car seat will void your warranty. I am not recommending people to do that, each person has to decide for themselves what they want to do. Some people feel and the car seat companies will tell you that it is a safety issue and will make the car seat less safe. I personally decided that replacing the cover was fine for my family (I didn’t see how it made it less safe).

      The Graco cover is treated with FR. They all are. Washing them isn’t going to help. I washed my Orbit cover probably close to 10 times and it still showed up testing positive for Tris from Duke.

      From everything I understand about Orbit, it’s just the cover and foam in the cover that has FR. I don’t know if that is true for every car seat on the market. Take a look at Sassy Stork on Esty, she may have covers to fit Graco or see if you can find a Chicco or buy a new one and use your old cover.

      Good luck!

      1. Thanks that’s interesting. So you managed to replace the ENTIRE cover–because the Bokoo cover I bought for my Keyfit was just a cover meant to go over the original cover, and not an entire cover replacement. I am totally comfortable with replacing the entire cover and ripping out the foam in the back/seat of the base.

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  89. So, I read through all these comments last week – perhaps this is duplicative, but hopefully informative in some way. I had emailed Diono about their FR, specifically because I heard some newer models don’t use FR. This is the response I received:

    “All Diono products (car seats, boosters and travel accessories) comply with US, European and Canadian regulations regarding toxic substances such as phthalates, bromides, formaldehyde, bisphenol-A (BPA), cadmium and lead. Our car seats feature a proprietary flame-retardant process which independent testing has consistently rated very well in terms of low toxicity and out-gassing, yet we are always looking for ways to improve. Our RadianR series seats feature some covers (‘Storm’ and ‘Rugby)’ made with a new micro-mesh velour fabric that is flame retardant without requiring any added chemical treatment process. The Radian R series are the Radian RXT, R120 and R100.

    In meeting all the North American and European standards that we do, that means our seats do NOT contain traceable amounts of these chemicals, BPA, Phthalates, chlorine or lead.

    They do not contain any material that has been bleached and we use a non-brominated flame retardant treatment. The seats do not contain any genetically modified organic material and all are AZO-free dyes. They do not contain any formaldehyde, PVC, heavy metals, triclosan, microban, nonylphenol ethoxolates.”

  90. Oh – I emailed them to ask if there are FR in the padding of those two types (Storm & Rugby). I should have waited to post the whole response. Anyway, I’ll let you know what they say.

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  91. Ok, so, I asked if the foam contains FR, and I was told: “Our memory foam does not have FR.” Then, I asked if the Storm and Rugby models contain ANY FR because they made it sound like the memory foam does not, but I was wondering if there was other foam in the carseat that might contain FR. This was the response (from Anissa at Diorno):

    “The Storm and the Rugby do not contain flame retardants. The type of fabric that it is it didnt need it as it passed regulations. The memory foam does not contain FR. The EPS foam that is used is for energy absorbant. Unlike some foams which can degrade and flake, EPS foam can take (literally) hundreds of years to biodegrade which is why it is a great material for insulation. The chemical is inert, stabile and resistant to degradation. It is recyclable which is good for the environment.”

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      This is what Diono keeps telling people but several Diono Rugby or Storm car seats have been tested by Duke and they are showing Tris.

      Diono has a history of telling different things to different people. I was told that both that the Rugby and Storm didn’t have FR in their foam multiple times then I was also told after calling again that it did. I don’t know what to think of Diono, they seem to have a lot of confusion within the company.

  92. Hi, thank you for sharing your research with us. I want to get a healthy convertible for my baby but I’m overwhelmed by contradicting info. So I have 2 questions for you: how do you get your carseat tested and what do you think about getting an Orbit convertible and then buying an organic cover?

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      I’ve overwhelmed by it too so you are not alone 🙂 Duke University is testing products for free right now. You can use this link to submit up to 5 samples. They close for the month after they have received 50 samples then they open back up at the 1st of the month again. I’m not sure how long they are doing this for though. http://foam.pratt.duke.edu/how-submit-sample

      That is what I did, bought the Orbit and bought an organic cover. It’s a really expensive option though. If Orbit does have Tris like it has been tested positive for then you might as well get a less expensive car seat and then do a replacement cover – just my two cents 🙂

      1. That’s true but I don’t know if the other brands have their Stryofoam as clean as the one from Orbit. Do you know of anyone who tested Stryofoam from Britax for example?

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          I don’t. From what I understand, and I could be wrong, but you don’t need to treat Styrofoam. I asked Orbit what they treated in the seat and she said the foam inside the fabric. I personally think Brittax is doing some tricky marketing right now. I would consider Orbit, Diono or Clek if you are going to do a cover.

      2. I called BRITAX yesterday and they told me their carseats definitively have flame retardants, even though they have been advertising efforts to reduce their use. Also do you know how valid is the ranking by HealthyStuff.org (2008)?

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          Yes, they definitely do. They are doing a good marketing campaign right now but all they are saying is that they are going to stop using the really bad FRs. They don’t say that they are not going to stop using them. Britax is one of the worse.

          2008 is a long time ago and things have changed with each company I’m sure. It’s hard to base anything off of that study but you can use it as a guideline. However, at that test HS only tested for bromine and not any other FRs including Tris. They are retesting this summer and are doing a fundraising campaign to make it happen. I just did a blog post on it and I am encouraging everyone to contribute something. It will create transparency and make choosing a car seat much easier going forward.

  93. Have you looked at Nuna Pipa? They also have Oeko Tex fabrics like Orbit and are less expensive and say this about their FR–which is supposed to be lower in toxicity but I have no idea.: The Nuna Pipa fire retardant chemicals belong to the category of ammonium polyphosphate

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      Yes, Nuna is talked about a lot in the comments. Only the fabric is Oeko-Tek certified and you are correct about the type of FR. I think it’s probably the best option out there for an infant seat if you aren’t replacing the cover like you were possibly talking about.

      1. I just got this back from Nuna–probably the same thing you received? It is our goal at Nuna to minimize the amount of foreign substances in our products, while still complying with strict state and federal standards. This is why our products are made with better for baby materials such as certified Oeko-tex® fabric and fiber fill and meet standards such as CPSIA, EN71 and REACH.

        Fire retardants used to be required under California TB 117. However, there have been recent changes to the law which allow us to remove fire retardants from all Nuna products, except for the PIPA car seat which is under different governing law FMVSS302 for the car industry interior flammability requirement. The current production models of our LEAF, LEAV CURV, PEPP, SENA, SENA MINI and ZAAZ are fire retardant free. Units manufactured prior to January 1, 2014 may still include minimum fire retardants in compliance with California TB 117.

        The current flame retardant that we use in the Pipa is from the ammonium polyphosphate category which is not prohibited by any Cal. Prop. 65, CPSIA or ASTM requirement.

        Our products are manufactured in a green factory, which is certified ISO 14001, ISO 9001 and OHSAS 18001.

      2. Another reply from them: I will have to confirm this, but I believe that all of the softgoods of the Pipa have to be treated with some FR due to the federal regulations. Please remember that even with the treated fabric & fiberfill, the Pipa softgoods are Oeko-Tex Certified. The plastic base & frame of the Pipa would not be treated with FR.

        If you want me to confirm this with the factory, let me know & I’ll be glad to do that for you.

      3. I will post a follow up reply from them. I asked for them to specify if the cover is treated as well, and if so, is the FR they use on the Oeko-Tex certified list, as some FR are actually Oeko-Tex approved. Since from what I understand about the FR they use it is mostly inert/”harmless”. I wonder why other companies didn’t use this stuff to begin with (if it turns out to indeed be that much better than the halogenated FRs). Must be a cost issue.

  94. I love the Clek convertible but they don’t seem to have any info about their covers and I’m afraid that it’s hard to make a replacement cover. I don’t understand how you can charge as much as 800$ for a seat and not offer an organic option.

    1. I have the clek foonf, and I am an avid sewer. I cannot see how the cover would come off or would easily be replaced. Everything is very tight in there, too – where the buckle and straps are – so would leave very small margin for error.

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        Thanks for the comment. Now that you say that it jogged my memory to the one time I saw a Clek in the store and you are right. There is no way to replace the cover. It is sewn right into the seat. Other car seats have a cover that is slipped over the car seat base. Thanks again!

  95. I have followed this blog for some time now. Thank you so much for all of this wonderful information! I am leaning towards the Nuna Pipa for my infant.

    Here was my conversation with Nuna:
    Theresa Ricker
    Spring, United States

    May 28, 2014 at 0:03am

    I would like information about the flame retardants and other harmful chemicals in your products. I have a newborn and a toddler and I am in search of a new car seat, stroller, and travel crib. I want something free of harmful chemicals. Can I custom order your products? My children are very sensitive to these chemicals and I am having trouble finding something that meets our needs.

    Customer Service

    May 28, 2014 at 8:50am

    Hi Theresa,

    Our stroller & recent production models of our travel crib do not have any flame retardants.

    Because of current federal regulations, our car seat is required to have them.

    In order to ensure a recent production model of our travel crib, we request that you either place your order directly with us by calling 855-686-2872 or place an order on our website and call us with your order number. We can then ensure that the warehouse pulls a most recent production model without FR.

    If you would like to call & discuss, please feel free to do so.

    Betty

    They seem very willing to answer questions which is really nice. I am so torn about a car seat. My children are suffering from eczema among other things, and I know it is aggravated by all of these chemicals. So frustrating! Change.org has a petition you can sign to eliminate FRs from car seats. Seems like a good website. I am leaning towards Nuna products, but I need a toddler seat as well. I can sew so I could try to do a cover myself. I have a chicco key fit 30 right now. I bought it thinking it was the perfect solution after reading healthystuff.org. I wish I would have found your blog before I bought it! Would a cover be a good enough solution? Any thoughts on that? Thanks

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      I have signed that petition! I hope something changes. I do like how transparent Nuna is and I do think it is the best infant seat option on the market right now. I think a cover would be fine for the keyfit though. They all have FRs, and a cover is your best way to eliminate exposure in my opinion but again it voids your warranty and some people say it can make it less safe. It’s a personal decision you have to make about a car seat cover. If you do get a cover I would make sure it fits snug. I can sew some but I didn’t feel comfortable making a cover. I decided to leave that to the people who make them all the time and know how to make one to fit each seat.