A Safe BUT Non-Toxic Car Seat

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. 


4/30/13 –  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.  Another option is Nollie Covers.  She has organic covers as well and does covers for most all brands of car seats.  They aren’t cheap but it may be worth it to you.  From what I understand 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 would verify this information before purchasing though.

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:  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.  So it is back to Orbit being the only non-toxic car seat on the market.

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.

726 thoughts on “A Safe BUT Non-Toxic Car Seat

  1. Stephanie

    and one more follow-up, re leather from Clek/foonf:
    “I have inquired with our design team about the leather tanning process and will get back to you once they have some information that I can pass along.”
    This was August 27, after I called a few days earlier and then emailed a follow-up. I’m not holding my breath.

    Wouldn’t a leather seat, even if tanned in a not-ideal way, still be better than a fabric seat bathed in FRs? I can’t comfortably afford the leather foonf but we will stretch to make it happen if it’s a better choice than the FR fabric…we’ve decided against going with a Nollie cover because although on the one hand it seems like it would be just as safe, as another poster pointed out, those covers were not used in safety testing, and the ultimate function of a car seat is crash safety. I feel like they probably would be just as safe but just don’t want to risk it, so trying to decide on next best option.

    If anyone wants to weigh in, I think the best options (we are going with a Clek) would be:
    -leather seat
    -drift seat
    -crypton seat


  2. Christa

    This blog and the comments are phenomenally helpful! Thanks to Naturalbabymama and all the parents who’ve put so much time and energy into sorting through all of this. I’m wondering, if I were to buy a “cheaper” infant car seat and get an organic cover from Sassystork, which car seat should I go for? Or does it matter? Graco and Britax for example both claim to be making positive change and limiting their use of FRs, but I don’t know which is better/worse. Eek! Unfortunately, budget does in fact have to dictate a lot of my decisions.

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      That’s what I would do. I don’t know if any is better or worse than other, they claim to be making changes but they are doing a PR campaign and still using FRs but just getting rid of the really bad ones.

  3. Karen

    I’m in need of an inexpensive car seat that our daughter won’t be in much. Any thoughts on what would be the best of the bad? I’d like to keep it under $100, if possible.

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      I wish I did, but I don’t. All you can do is find a couple seats in your price range then give them a call. Ask which FRs they use and then ask if their seats have any PVC, lead, heavy metals or phthalates.

  4. Stephanie

    Just an update for those who are interested, from Clek, re leather, NOT at all forthcoming which makes me think it’s crap leather. I’m not going to get leather, I’m going to get drift or crypton:

    “Sorry for the delay in my response as I was trying to find a good answer for you. Unfortunately, we don’t have any information concerning the leather tanning process at this time and are not authorized to provide the name or location of our supplier. I apologize for the inconvenience, but will make sure to pass on any new information should we receive it.

    Please let us know if you have any further questions.

    Kind Regards,”

  5. Hailey

    I have just read *almost* ALL of these comments during free time over the last two days. So thankful for this blog and the research all of these mamas have done. My son is almost three. I want to keep him rear facing until four, but he’s at the height limit for his Britax Pavilion, which means we need a new seat. Orbit is out. Diono is out. Clek Fllo? I didn’t see that anyone had any Duke results for the Clek foam. I’m also unlcear about whether or not the Drift fabric is a yay or nay (better than the Crypton?). I’ve been debating and procrastinating for MONTHS. Meanwhile my little man has been sitting in that toxic trap (Britax) regularly as we live in Los Angeles (ack!), have no outside space to play, and are basically carbound (double ack!!) if we want to go play anywhere outside. Oy. Once you become aware of all of these toxins in everything from clothing to couches, mattresses, baby products, all of the MDF furniture, flooring, vinyl flooring and bathrooms, perfumes, cleaning products, make up, chlorine and bromine (etc.) in swimming pools, EMFs (which there is no escaping), on and on.. one door leads to the next, one stomach drop after the next as a new potential hazard is revealed, more and more anxiety and sleepless nights worrying about the extent of the damage done. We always do research and try to make the very best choices, but naturalbabymama, your experience with Orbit is the perfect example of putting trust into what you have to believe is the best option, only to be let down. It’s ridiculous. And this flame retardant thing in our homes.. to think that it all started because of smokers in the 70’s and some idiot lawmakers in CA. Sorry for the rambling. I just don’t understand any of it. Why do this to us. Why so many chemicals IN EVERYTHING. And why don’t we have MANY affordable NON-TOXIC options. ugh! Ok back to the matter at hand. Does anyone know anything more about the Clek foam (not just that one sample from the headrest)? Any more info about the Drift fabric being “safer” (ha.ha.)? After reading all of these posts, I’m wondering how effective a Sassy Stork cover would be on my Pavilion, if I just bite the bullet and turn my little man forward facing (yikes! He’s a string bean – tall and 29 lbs.). I’d love any input. Thank you!!!

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      I hear you, the amount of toxic products in our lives is beyond stressful. Someone submitted a test to Duke from Clek in the last few weeks. I would imagine that we will hear something in the next few weeks if you can wait. The Drift is made from automobile fabric and they can’t guarantee it to be free from the most harmful FRs. It makes me nervous that they say that.

      1. Heavens123

        Clek says they don’t use chlorinated or brominated fire retardants. If they’re making that claim then they’re making it for the fabric as well aren’t they?

      2. Stephanie

        They only make that claim fully for crypton, which has been independently tested…not drift. They say THEY don’t add any BFRs, but they can’t guarantee the mfr of drift does not. He said so far as they knew they were free of them, but since they don’t test, they can’t make the claim officially. And they won’t release contact information for the mfr.

    2. Heavens123

      I have the Clek Foonf in Drift and you can keep your child rear facing for a very long time in it. I do not remember the exact weight limit, but it was very high, but you should check their website and verify the exact number to see if it meets your needs. I opted for the Drift for three reasons: 1) Although all the other fabric options with the Crypton are Greenguard certified, I am a less-is-more kind of person. I’m happy to scrub out messes from fabric and prefer to have no treatments, even if it was organic. 2) There is a very big price difference. 3) The dark color kind of blends into the back of the car. Although I am not aware of car seat thefts, since it was a very large purchase for me, I opted to go with something boring that kind of blends in.

      As for the foam, I have sent in a sample to duke from the seat of the car, but am not expecting results back for awhile.

      The seat is built like a tank and is made in North America, addressing my safety concerns. It did not fit in the center rear seat as my Orbit did. We had to move it to the right side rear seat and I had it installed by a car seat inspection station. It’s not that the seat was so big, but with the Orbit we had a small base, larger seat. The Clek doesn’t have a base. I preferred the seat in the center as I believe it’s safer, although it is very tall and the visibility was limited, so having it on the rear right makes the visibility good again. I really miss having the swivel of the Orbit, but apart from that I have been happy with the Clek so far (pending foam results). I will also add that it sits rather high and I have found that this provides great visibility for a toddler, who can enjoy looking out the window and seeing the sights.

      1. Heavens123

        I should also add that Clek is one of the high end items (not just in car seats) that seems to be price fixed: same price everywhere, no coupons, no sales. Sometimes you can find websites that offer these high end items with an incentive to get you to buy from them, i.e. a free set of bags or HEPA filter if you buy a vacuum from their website — and sometimes you can get Bed Bath Beyond to apply their 20% off coupon, even though it says no on the coupon. I got mine from Amazon, because if you don’t like it they offer no hassle free return shipping.

  6. Katie F

    Would anyone be willing to share their Duke results on Orbit? I have been in touch with a local natural/organic baby store that still carries Orbit and I’m trying to make them understand my point about how it DOES contain Tris and should be avoided. The store says that Orbit has told them “one blogger had their seat tested and is claiming these results, but won’t share them”. Anyway, let me know. kmyers333 at yahoo dot com.

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      I’ll send you mine this week. Orbit knows it’s more than one person which is why they are buying some seats back. It would be so much better if they would just be upfront about things!

      1. saskiacsmith

        Can you tell me more about Orbit buying seats back? How do I get them to buy mine back? I have receipt, etc. and it’s from 2012. Thanks.

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        I sent an email then they called me and asked to buy back. I actually declined since I have a cover for it. I know they aren’t offering to everyone and they have said no to several people. Try calling or emailing.

      3. saskiacsmith

        I emailed them and they wanted my third party test results!!! Someone else said they were not even asked. They mentioned that Duke had mentioned not to share th results. Were you asekd for your test results?

    2. Laurie G

      Many people have posted the Duke test results for their Orbit in the comment section here. I’ll send you my form directly as well.

      1. Katie F

        Thanks so much! I have the PDF from Laurie. I will keep everyone posted. Hope this incites positive change. Thanks so much, naturalbabymama, for this blog and for fostering this community.

  7. Kati

    Awesome and super helpful blog. Though so frustrating to read all this stuff. I have a few questions:

    1) Heavens123 – have you heard back from Duke about the Clek test? I desperately need to buy a new seat!

    2) Anyone have news on whether the Drift fabric is treated? Or rather, what it is treated with?

    3) I read about Crypton and it seems they use a chemical bath, which includes the flame retardants, to completely coat all the fibers that they then use to make the fabric:


    Since Crypton says their fire retardants are non-halogenated, that means no fluorine either, right? What could they be using then? Does anyone know of any independent testing of Crypton?


    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      It doesn’t seem like Clek has said / seems to know / or is willing to release any info on their Drift fabric other than it’s the same fabric used in automobiles. They also won’t confirm it’s free of the worst FRs like they do with the Crypton fabrics.

      There are a lot of different FRs out there, all of which are toxic to some degree. As another person pointed out, what is replacing the worse FRs today will probably become the worse ones tomorrow.

      Thanks for sharing that link on Crypton.

      1. Stephanie

        So Jean from Clek told me over the phone that they couldn’t claim drift was free of all brominated FRs bc Clek hasn’t tested it. So I wrote to ask for the contact info for drift which naturally they won’t provide. But he said the oobr in drift was tested as free of them, if that helped. Yes it did…but I wanted to see the test results. Here’s what I got back (see below).. So, I think I’m going with crypton, despite my extremely numerous reservations about it. It may turn out to be toxic but at least it is certifiably free of what we KNOW to be toxic (brominated FRs) though I have such angst about all the other crap in that fabric….maybe drift is actually better….sigh.
        > I unfortunately don’t have a link to that specific test, but I can provide you with a news clipping from June which speaks about all components of our seat’s being free from all brominated and chlorinated flame-retardants: http://www.examiner.com/article/cancer-causing-flame-retardants-used-on-most-child-safety-seats
        > I hope this helps, but please let us know if you have any further questions!

    2. Heavens123

      No, I am not expecting Duke results for another couple of weeks at least. Clek says no chlorinated or brominated flame retardants, so that would include both fabric and foam.

    3. Laurie G

      Wouldn’t the Greenguard certification be considered independent testing of the Crypton fabric? Maybe I’m being naïve, but I feel a lot safer with the Greenguard label than I do about things like the Drift fabric where we really don’t know what’s actually in it.

    4. Kati

      Thanks for all your replies! I am getting increasingly frustrated, and more intrigued by the idea of the Nollie Covers at this point, if only I can convince my husband…

      Here’s Clek’s reply to me, confirming the same stuff about Crypton and Drift:

      Thank you for contacting Clek! The 2014 Foonf seat, which uses non-halogenated chemistry, is free from all brominated and chlorinated flame retardants. Recently the organization healthystuff.org has tested the 2014 Foonf seat and found it to be free from all harmful chemicals, which you can read more about here: http://media.clekinc.com/2014/03/07/clek-2014-car-seats-officially-free-of-bromine-and-chlorine-based-flame-retardants-as-per-healthystuff-org/. Please check out their website in the upcoming months for their rating and more information.

      The Drift models are made with an automotive grade fabric not unlike you find on a standard vehicle seat. While the material had been previously tested with past year’s models, which were also found to be free of brominated and fluorinated flame retardants, we do not wish to make an unsubstantiated claim concerning the 2014 Drift models as they have yet to be tested by a third party.

      Our seats are built upon a steel and magnesium sub-structure lined with EPP foam around the headrest and body of the seat. We do not add any flame retardants to the foam used in the seats (all materials have their own anti-flammability properties) and it is a urethane based foam which is the same type found in a vehicle seat.

      The Crypton Super Fabric used in most of our seats is Greenguard Select Certified, meaning it meets stringent chemical emissions requirements, such as being screened for various volatile organic compounds.

      We unfortunately don’t have any more specific information at this time.

      I hope these answers help, but please let us know if you have any other questions!

      Kind Regards,

      Jean-Sébastien Côté

      Customer Support Team

      1. Stephanie

        I ended up ordering the Crypton fabric because I just don’t trust drift. I don’t trust Crypton either, but it’s the best of the worst, for us. I was almost all set to get a Nollie Cover – after all, in many ways it seems like, if she is fully recreating the cover, why WOULDN’T it be just as safe as the toxic cover? But there’s that small voice in my head that says “cotton and wool compress over time, foam doesn’t.” If you don’t use the car seat often, they may not compress enough to do anything. Even if you use the car seat very often, the compression might really be minimal and not affect safety at all. But the ultimate purpose of the car seat is safety in an accident, and I decided that since there is no way to know if a (granted, purportedly similarly cushioned) cover could compromise the way the seat protects in case of an accident, I didn’t feel safe enough getting it. It’s a shitty choice!!! Potential issues in an accident (though I do think the risk is probably pretty slim), or definite chemical exposure :( But, you can try to keep a very clean lifestyle that allows for continuous detoxing…that’s what I’m telling myself, anyway. I’m not happy with Crypton but I just didn’t feel quite safe enough about Nollie.

  8. Sarah

    I posted this on a OBU thread on FB, but wanted to share here too – I last posted here right after I got my results but wanted to follow up after my conversations with Diono. I am very curious if others have Diono seats with positive results AND have reached out to the company. What responses have people received?
    My Storm seat tested positive from Duke – no way to explain how mad and frustrated I was. I bought it after more than an hour overall of multiple conversations with people at Diono, including their Chief Safety Officer Allana Pinkerton, with whom I spoke extensively and was guaranteed repeatedly that NO chemical FRs were used on the fabric OR the foam in the storm & rugby seats, and she confirmed that the foam came to them FR-free too, explaining that the density made it inherently flame-retardant. I have now been going back and forth with her for quite some time, all summer really, sent her my results, have written several respectful/reasonable but very stern emails about my feelings on this. She was very responsive for a while, and the last I heard from her, she had met with the President of the company who was taking it very seriously and was going to contact Duke to find out more because apparently the results were different from all of their own testing. (Of course I asked to see their own test results, but have never been given anything.) That was a while ago, maybe a month if not more, and I followed up again a week or two ago asking what the status was and (for the first time) demanding a refund. I have not heard back and will email her again this weekend. One issue is I don’t know what seat to get next, since none seem to truly be safe, so it might be just a safe to keep the Diono at this point, but regardless I feel I (and anyone else who bought one for this reason) deserve a refund directly from the company because we purchased our seats based on false information they provided. I also find it almost comical that any explanation or justification of Ms. Pinkerton not knowing more about the chemicals in the seats is because that is not her area of expertise, she is the Safety Officer and focuses on installation, use, crash tests, etc. I had no issue responding to her that the chemicals in a seat are just as much a part of the safety of it as how it performs in a crash, you could argue even more so since the exposure is there daily versus the slim chance you will be in a serious accident. The disconnect about “safety” on this subject is astounding to me.

  9. Michelle

    I agree that to each their own with comfort level on safety, but thinking that the pu foam in the seat cover is more effective in a crash seems a bit of an overreach to me. We had a graco snugride infant seat and after only about 2 months of use, the foam started deteriorating (and would end up on my lo’s clothes – sadly I didn;t know about all the FR’s back then). It was pretty thin and flimsy and definitely compressible/susceptible to deterioration.

    From what I can gather, the foam is more for comfort than anything else, except for the seats that have headwings with soft foam air cushions like on the maxi cosi pria (which we currently have and I finally broke down and after removing the cover already, removed the foam headwings because I was having major autoimmune reactions (and sadly still am). We have an older car with cloth seats that sits on the street and gets hot and the car seems to have absorbed the nasty chemicals, probably from the heat they turned into even nastier chemicals, sigh. The way I see it though, is that most car seats don’t have this headwing cushion feature and yet are considered safe. I also found the foam in the cover is generally very thin and the synthetic fabric on the maxi cosi pria is easily compressible, so not sure why that would be an issue with say a nollie cover. If your child is strapped in tightly it shouldn’t matter if the material has compressed. The straps and the design of the hard seat are what matter the most in a crash.

    We recently got a hand me down orbit and are awaiting a nollie cover and going to try that option and see how it goes, since my homemade pria cover is in serious need of some professional help and I couldn’t find anyone who will make one for the Pria model.

    It’s a terrible choice to have to make regardless, in trying to protect our children and ourselves, between toxic chemicals and safe car seats. And seeing how my now 1 year old has always hated to be put in either infant or toddler seat, and how he has often throw up after being placed in it, I started being less inclined to take him anywhere as a result, but that’s getting a lot more difficult now that he is getting older. I should be able to have an option that is both safe in a crash and non toxic. And if a replacement cover is the only option I’ve got (albeit a very expensive option), then I’m going to take it so I can make my child safer for the rest of his life.

  10. saskiacsmith

    Just got off the phone with Phil & Teds about the Mountain Buggy car seat. Sorry if someone already posted about this I don’t have time to read everything. They said their new car seat does NOT have any flame retardants. It has a naturally flame retardant nylon fabric and EPS foam (which they said is FR free, but probably has some other junk, of course). Right now on Amazon there are two companies selling a bundle of their Nano stroller with the infant seat for $359. I might splurge. In the meantime I’m going to use an old Graco shell with a Bokoo cover and some batting. Probably not as safe but we’re not planning on taking the newborn out for a few months anyway.

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Good to know. I didn’t know they were coming out with a new car seat. Just as an FYI Diono also said their EPS foam didn’t contain FRs and it came back from Duke testing positive for Tris. Not saying this is the same but just wanted to bring it up to you.

      1. saskiacsmith

        Someone found someting on the Phil & Ted’s/Mtn Buggy site that stated they do test their EPS foams. So EPS foam is the hard styrofoam from what I learned–your Diono hard styrofoam tested positive? Or was it the soft memory foam stuff? The drawback to their new seats is they run very small–only 9 months. We’re tall folks and my son outgrew his Chicco Keyfit at 4-5 months so….not sure how long an even smaller seat would last.

      2. amy

        That’s great to hear! I just saw on their website that the 9 months is an approximation. There is so slight confusion on their website, it says one place that the car seat can hold 4 – 35lbs or up to 29 pounds. .

      3. naturalbabymama Post author

        It had to be the soft foam, Styrofoam isn’t treated. Styrofoam also isn’t used between the fabric in the cover. That’s the area for concern. What is Phil & Ted’s saying that they use in-between the fabric on the cover?

  11. saskiacsmith

    Anyone try these covers? MUCH cheaper. Not organic and I am not a fan about the anti-microbial thing (but even discovered that’s on my q-tips…seriously?). But much cheaper! I haven’t contacted them to see if they’d do an Orbit, but she says contact for anything you don’t see…

  12. Aly rose

    I just wanted to post an update and yet another answer from uppababy. Today I called and was told the strollers that do not contain flame retardants have not been released yet. Sounds like they have not been made yet either. I was told the future strollers will be free from flame retardants. So disappointing because I actually really like their strollers. I can’t believe finding a flame retardant free/ non toxic stroller is just as difficult as finding a car seat. Does anyone know of a non toxic option, suitable for an infant with the front and rear option? I looked into city select from baby jogger but it weighs almost 30 pounds!

    1. amy

      Hey Aly. Look into Phil & Teds/Mountain Buggy. All of their strollers do not use flame retardants, lead , PVC and BPA free. They test for Lead, Cadmium, Antimony, Chromium, Barium, Mercury, Selenium, Arsenic and Phthalates and comply with European, Australia, New Zealand, and American standards. I looked into a few strollers of their that are suitable for infants with front and rear facing options that are also Polyurethane free. The phil and teds Smart lux, promenade, vibe and the Moutnain buggy cosmopolitan fit that criteria. Others models might also, i jsut didn’t look into them. I am planning on getting the Smart Lux. If only i can figure out a car seat :) I hope that helps.

      1. saskiacsmith

        This company is coming out with a car seat (already available to purchase in some places). It’s an infant seat only thru 9 months, but I’m still planning to get it. I do’nt think they have a toddler seat yet.

      2. C. Bennett

        Here’s another seat that has come out that could be checked to see what chemical properties it contains. The cool thing about it is, it has been designed with a baby reminder alert system included into the seat. Not sure how many of you have heard about the many tragedies that occur every summer when children are forgotten in cars (our society has become way too busy for our own good), only to be found hours later, dead from hyperthermia (heat stroke). Well, these reminder systems set off an alert to remind the driver (parent, grandparent, nanny) that the child is still in the car. I’m really excited about this as we (forget me not USA and kids and cars) have been petitioning for years for the government to step in and make car makers install these systems themselves. If all car seats (or cars) do it, hundreds of children could be rescued before it’s too late. Yeh!

      3. saskiacsmith

        Mtn. Buggy and Phil & Teds both have basically identical infant bucket seats coming out. Same price just different colors.

      4. Christa

        Here are a few excerpts from my email convos with Phil & Teds, and Mountain Buggy (which are, to my understanding, the same company now, and Phil & Ted’s “Alpha” car seat is identical to Mountain Buggy’s “Protect” car seat). They talked some about testing for lead and other stuff, but Amy above listed that for us already up above. =)

        “No Phil and Teds or Mountain Buggy products sold in the USA have been treated with fire retardants, with the exception of the Nest Mattress foam and the Traveller inner mattress as they are overnight certified sleep products.”
        “Neither the new Phil & Teds Alpha nor the Mountain Buggy Protect infant car seats contain any flame retardants. Materials used are an EPS foam (not polyurethane) and rip stop nylon fabrics which are not prone to burn inherently allowing them to pass global standards testing. Both products comply with NHTSA Standard Consumer Safety Specifications.”

      5. saskiacsmith

        Laurie no they claim it is chemically FR free and passes the tests due to flame resistant nylon (again not treated with FR). They also use EPS foam and they state that is also free from FRs. No one has tested them and can’t find crash data, but I will probably take the gamble. The seat looks like it is a European design and even the stroller adapters are the ones I think that work with the Maxi-Cosi seats. I think it has a stabilizer foot like the Nuna.

    2. Karen

      Check out the new Baby Jogger Vue.

      Wish I knew Baby Joggers were free of flame retardant chemicals a couple of months ago! I needed an umbrella stroller and bought an Uppa Baby. I’m planning on replacing the seat cushion, as there are some organic cotton replacements available on Etsy.

      1. amy

        I emailed Baby jogger and yes they are flame retardant free, but the representative said that the filling in the seats in polyurethane. So I don’t know what to make of that.

      2. Stephanie

        KAREN – I just spoke to uppababy today (we have a g-lite) and they said the FABRIC, at least, isn’t sprayed, but the interior foam probably is. What etsy sellers do new cushions? Or you just mean, something that goes over the current one? Thanks… SIGH I HATE ALL OF THIS> grrrr

      3. Karen

        From what I can tell, it is a new cushion. The sellers I’ve found have been in the UK, so they call them pram liners. I think the cushion is removable on the g-lite (which is what I have, too), so it looks like you’d just take off the factory one and replace it with one of the custom ones. TinyLily is one of the shops showing up now, although I found someone else when I searched before.

      4. Karen

        Just looked at them again, and they might be just liners. But, the cushion on the g-lite isn’t thick, anyway, so I’m sure you could get a custom made liner with extra padding if the liner wouldn’t be comfortable on its own.

      5. Stephanie

        …although then you’re not alleviating the problem, since the flame retardants are still in there…but i guess at least they’re further away…

    3. Michelle

      Have you checked out the Baby Jogger Vue? Its new and it is reversible and their spec sheet says it weighs 17.5lbs. It looks really interesting and looks like it will accommodate a baby pretty well. I wish they had it when my lo was born.

      Also, I contacted Baby Jogger about a replacement for my city mini because it was purchased mid 2013, and they said that when the law changed in September of 2013, they switched over to non FR foam, and they are sending me a new seat that is FR free. I was really impressed. I simply emailed them, and they got back to me within a week, told me they would send a replacement seat and asked for the color and my address, and already confirmed shipment, it was that simple. Hopefully replacing the seat will be that simple!

      As for Uppa Baby, I emailed them back in May of this year and this was the response I received -not very encouraging:

      “Hello Michelle,
      Thank you for your Inquiry.

      Some flame retardants are required by law or they will not pass JPMA standards and would not be able to be sold. We hold our products to the strictest standards in the US, which are the California safety standards so please rest assured your child’s safety is our main concern and we take care to manufacture products that are safe and pass all standard

      We stain resistance on fabrics we use Dupont stain defend.

      What was phased out of the Teflon cookware was emissions of PFOA, which is an acronym for perfluorooctanoic acid, a manmade chemical that does not occur naturally in the environment and is rumored to be bad. On the other side, PTFE is the part of Teflon that is used commonly in many products such as Gore-Tex breathable rainwear, fabrics, medical implants and has been used in the stain guard of the G-Series. It does not pose a threat and the EPA states there is not a need for concern over this and there are no steps consumers need to take to avoid this. As always we here at UPPAbaby make safety our utmost priority and always make sure we exceed all standards set forth by the JPMA, including phthalate free products.

      Uppababy products are certified by JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association)

      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
      I hope this is helpful

      Thank you,

      Customer Service | UPPAbaby

      1. Heavens123

        Baby Jogger is also sending me a new seat with no hassle whatsoever…but just when I start to feel impressed by their quick, responsive and friendly customer service, I am reminded that I bought that stroller in the first place because it was fire retardant free. Someone, somewhere lied to me — and then I’m not so impressed after all. My baby has been sitting in that chemical crap for two years — crap that I was assured wasn’t in there.

      2. Heavens123

        Before I threw out the old cover, I took a sample of the foam and will send it in to Duke when the slots open up next month. I wish there was a way to get a piece out of the new seat, but it would be very hard to do without damaging the cover.

      3. naturalbabymama Post author

        It can be hard. Could you do it from underneath then sew it back up? That’s what I did with my Ergo :) No pressure, if you don’t want to rip it apart I totally understand. I’m also super curious if it really is FR free.

      4. Michelle

        I will send in samples from my Baby Jogger stroller seats- this will be my first time sending in samples. I should have done it with the maxi cosi pria, but I was a little too overwhelmed at the time, and really didn’t want to handle the foam/open it up because of the allergic reaction I was having. I don’t seem to have a reaction to the stroller, of course it’s not used in an enclosed space. It will be interesting to see what the results are.

        In my search for a cover for the Maxi cosi pria 70 (has headrest), I came across this etsy shop that makes a cover for the graco nautilus 3-1. I couldn’t tell if it’s just a cover or a full replacement cover. Also, it doesn’t look like she uses organic fabrics, but maybe its possible to provide fabric to her. She wont make a cover for the Pria 70 though.

        I wouldn’t recommend a Pria 70 if you want to replace the cover, unless you can make one yourself. Also, the headwings foam is wrapped in plastic (not sealed though) and glued to the seat/separate from the cover, making it a bit more difficult to deal with.

        I too am having a bad experience with Nollie Covers. I did the rush shipping and on my email receipt is says that it will typically ship in 2-3 weeks. It has been 4.5 weeks, and I sent an email about a week ago asking if my order had shipped, and have not received a reply. I went into it knowing that this could happen thanks to your review, but at almost $400 for a cover it’s pretty ridiculous. I really wish there were more options for covers for toddler carseats besides Britax! Maybe someone in etsyland is listening…

  13. Michelle

    In my frustration I decided to email the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), and ask them to mandate car seats be free of toxic flame retardants. Probably my one email doesn’t mean much to them, but if others are interested in writing to them, who knows, maybe we can make a difference. I received an automated reply, with a case #, but it’s a start.
    This is the page with the link I clicked on to email them:


    You can also go straight to the contact form here:


    This is the email address from the reply: NHTSAHotline@telesishq.com

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Well they don’t mandate that these companies have to use FRs so I’m not sure if they would be willing to mandate that they be free of them. What they mandate is that the car seats have to smolder and not catch fire. The car seat companies choose to use foam which is highly flammable and then have to use FRs to make them not flammable. A car seat company could come out with a seat that uses cotton and wool and it would meet the standard and no FRs would be used. The cost would surely be much higher for the companies over buying cheap foam. I do agree change needs to be made. It never hurts to email and maybe one day they might actually be changed because of our demands.

  14. Julie

    I stumbled across this blog a couple days ago, and am so happy I found it. Thank you naturalbabymama for making our lives easier! I’m in the market for a new booster seat and was excited to see this post. I thought I’d be able to read it and know exactly what the best option would be (in terms of least/non-toxic) but now I’m as confused as ever. Before reading this post I was committed to getting the Clek Oober. I also contacted the company asking about flame retardants in the Oober and got the same comment that Kati says on Sept 8. They have the following statement on their website: http://media.clekinc.com/2014/03/07/clek-2014-car-seats-officially-free-of-bromine-and-chlorine-based-flame-retardants-as-per-healthystuff-org/
    So I guess my question is, based on that statement shouldn’t the Oober and Foonf be the best options out there? Are people questioning it because they haven’t actually seen results from Clek? Sorry I don’t have time to read all the comments in here, maybe this has been addressed. Thank you!

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      I don’t know much about Boosters but I think Clek would be a good option. It doesn’t seem that there is a perfect option out there. People are questioning Clek because yes we haven’t seen test results and also because of the fabrics they use (Crypton and the nano technology).

  15. Liz

    I haven’t heard anyone mention Nuna’s new stroller IVVI. The fabric is Oeko-Tex certified and I called and spoke with Betty who told me it had no FR. I bought the Nuna Pipa car seat and the IVVI stroller comes with the car seat attachments. The carry cot is sold separately and the pad is made of polyester fill. It’s pricey and I don’t even know if I will be able afford one but I know it’s out there. I have been following the comments for months now. Everyone has been very helpful. I thought maybe I can give back some info too.

    1. Aly rose

      Hi Liz, I also bought the nuna car seat and have been looking into the ivvi. Like you said it’s on the expensive side and also a bit heavy. I found out that Nuna is coming out with a smaller and less expensive stroller this fall. It’s called the nuna mixx, if you google it you’ll find some reviews. ; )

  16. Amber G.

    Advice: is the Baby Jogger City Select a better option over the UppaBaby Vista? Baby Jogger Summit X3 over the BOB? And for carseats: Nuna Pipa for the infant seat and Maxi Cosi Pria 70 for the convertible? Best choices for what we have to work with?

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      For strollers both have FRs – Uppa & Baby Jogger. If you don’t want FRs then I recommend Mountain Buggy with no foam. That is also the jogging stoller I would use. BOB doesn’t have FRs but does have a coating on it to make it waterproof and I just read may have the Prop 65 lead warning on the box. I don’t know much of anything about the Maxi Cosi, I would still choose to either replace a cover on the seats that you can or do Clek. If what Nuna says is true then I would think they are one of the least toxic.

    2. naturalbabymama Post author

      Follow up from last comment – if you went with Baby Jogger then I would call them and order or to find out where to buy from to make sure you are getting the new, supposedly FR free foam model. I have a hard time trusting foam so I personally would send in a sample of the foam to Duke before using it a lot.

  17. Kati

    Has anyone used Sassy Stork? Any feedback? They seem to be half the price of NollieCovers and all organic. Both of them are replacement covers. Thanks.

    1. Kelsey

      Yes! Just posted on here too, Sassy Stork now does Orbit and she was SUPER friendly, helpful, about a long turnaround and great product for a very generous price. I highly recommend her!!

  18. Kati

    I’m getting confused trying to read back through all the comments. Can someone maybe summarize for me: if I’m planning to replace the cover, what options are good for convertible and toddler booster seats (harness up to 100 lbs)? I’m looking at Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 and Britax Boulevard. Removing the cover is great, but I think they could have FRs in the hard EPS foam that is part of the head rest. See for example HealthStuff.org testing of the Graco MySize 65 (http://www.healthystuff.org/gracomysize_2014.php) But maybe it’s harder for the FRs to be released from the hard foam? Whatever I choose has to be one of the ones which an organic cover is available for. Thanks!

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      I’m not sure if you can actually replace the cover on the Britax. That is what another reader was saying. Most all the FRs in the seat are within the foam in the fabric. If you have a seat where you can just pull off the cover then pretty much all the FRs will be gone. That’s interesting about Graco though. I would try and find another convertible seat. The Orbit doesn’t have that large head rest thing, maybe find one that doesn’t have that?

  19. Emily

    Hi – my wife/I are expecting a baby in March and find all of this very confusing. We know that there is no perfect option out there, but want to find the car seat with the fewest issues.

    It looks like once a baby is bigger Clek’s products are the best bet. For a newborn what is the consensus on the best option for safety and low toxicity? It seems that some have mentioned the Nuna and Phil & Ted’s. Has anyone verified that these seats are low-toxicity other than the manufacturers saying so?

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      There has been no samples sent in of either seat. I have felt like Nuna telling us what FRs they use is a positive. I have a hard time believing that there will be no FRs in the Phil & Ted’s because we have been told that before from other companies.

      1. Emily

        I called Clek and they said that an infant insert is coming out for their seats late this year! Maybe this will be the best bet for us?

  20. Laurie G.

    Personally, I’d love to avoid flame retardants all together, but in cases like the car seat, sometimes I can’t. When I call and ask what type of flame retardants companies use, and they are forthcoming, sometimes I can’t figure out if the chemicals is horrifying or fairly safe, considering. Does anyone know of a comprehensive resources that lists the flame retardants currently in use and their comparative safety? Thanks!

  21. Laurie G.

    For instance, I just talked with Peg Perego about the flame retardants used in their products, and they said they use a “Polyurethenic aliphatic phophonate” and I can’t seem to find information on the side effects of this.

  22. Laurie G.

    Also, just so others know: I ordered the Baby Jogger City Versa, and found that they no longer are making it, so you cannot get a flame retardant seat for it. I inquired, to be sure, and they said they either used brominated flame retardants or Tris on it. *sigh* It’s going back. Now we need to find a new option with a reversible seat that will fold with the seat attached. Phil & Ted’s doesn’t make one, sadly.

    1. amy

      Hi Laure, I have seen the phil and teds smart lux and the mountain buggy cosmopolitan and they both close with the seats still attached, though im not sure in both directions. Both seats are reversible and turn into a bassinet.

  23. Kelsey

    Ladies! Great news! Katie over at sassy stork on etsy now has a pattern for the Orbit baby infant car seat. For those of you not worried that a new cover will risk safety (like me), this is a GREAT option.

    I was her first Orbit cover attempt and I must say she did an incredible job! Very reasonably priced too. I provided the materials that I bought from http://www.organiccottonplus.com (which btw LOVE this company– I bought all GOTs certified organic knit material from here too and sewed my son his onesies, but I digress). I bought the organic cotton batting and the fabric she requested (muslin and a heavier fabric like tweed I think) and then I think she only charged like $50 or something like that. Incredible. Highly highly recommend. Also she didn’t take forever like the Nellie lady mentioned elsewhere in these comments.


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