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.

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

  1. DemL

    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!

    Reply
    1. Laurie G

      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.

      Reply
      1. naturalbabymama Post author

        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.

  2. Heavens123

    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.)

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      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.

      Reply
    2. Kelsey

      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?

      Reply
      1. Cheryll Bennett

        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

        >

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        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.

      3. C. Bennett

        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.

      4. Stephanie

        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?

      5. C. Bennett

        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.

      6. MNmommas

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

      7. Heavens123

        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.

      8. naturalbabymama Post author

        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.

      9. C. Bennett

        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.

      10. naturalbabymama Post author

        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 :)

      11. Stephanie

        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.

      12. Stephanie

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

      13. Heavens123

        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.

      14. naturalbabymama Post author

        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.

      15. Stephanie

        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.

  3. Amy

    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.

    Reply
  4. saskiacsmith

    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.

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      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!

      Reply
      1. saskiacsmith

        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.

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        Yes, mine replaced the entire cover. I believe Sassy Stork is meant just to go over your existing one but I know people that have use it to replace.

  5. Jessica

    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.”

    Reply
  6. Jessica

    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.

    Reply
  7. Jessica

    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.”

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      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.

      Reply
  8. Sabina

    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?

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      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 :)

      Reply
      1. Sabina

        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?

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        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.

      3. Beesitor

        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)?

      4. naturalbabymama Post author

        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.

  9. saskiacsmith

    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

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      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.

      Reply
      1. saskiacsmith

        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. saskiacsmith

        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. saskiacsmith

        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.

  10. Sabina

    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.

    Reply
    1. Katie Fogarty

      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.

      Reply
      1. naturalbabymama Post author

        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!

  11. Theresa Ricker

    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

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      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.

      Reply
    2. Beesitor

      Since you are looking for travel cribs as well, I just wanted to tell you that the Nuna Sena and BabyBjorn travel cribs have some polyurethane (PU) in their mattress (if you are interested I can post their entire reply to my inquiries). Even thought both companies reassured me their new models have flame retardant-free mattresses, I’m still concerned about PU off-gassing during my baby’s sleep, so I’m planning on using BabeSafe plastic to wrap-up the mattress. I contacted Naturepedic and they don’t custom-make mattresses for foldable cribs :(

      Reply
  12. Sarah

    Could someone please explain to me how replacing the cover can block the FR chemicals from the foam? It seems like the vapors would seep through. IDK…just a thought.

    Reply
  13. aly rose

    Hello, I have been following your blog throughout my pregnancy and appreciate all your research. At this point my head is spinning. It is so difficult to find products without some sort of chemical. I was set on the orbit and relieved there was one pure product out there and was devastated by the recent events. I am due in 3 weeks so I decided on the Nuna Pipa. Im still concerned because I know it does contain flame retardants but cant find a better option.
    I was wondering what you suggest for a stroller? I know the baby jogger is a great non toxic option but it is a little bulkier than I had wanted. I contacted Uppababy and was told YES their products do contain flame retardants. Disappointing news because I had read that they do not. I also contacted bugaboo and was told their strollers do NOT contain flame retardants. They did however say the bassinet mattress is made from polyester and polyurethane foam. I would love to know your thoughts on this? Lastly, how do you feel about the lifekind latex and wool mattress. I am torn between naturepedic and lifekind. I have read the cons of the naturepedic but do like that they are latex and wool free due to allergy concerns. Thank you again for this blog and all the informative info!

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      I agree, I think the Nuna is your best option. Orbit (when we thought it was Oeko-Tek foam) still contained FR but Oeko-Tek (deemed less toxic) FRs. Just only use it when necessary and you’ll be fine. It’s the best we can do with the car seat choices given.
      I believe Uppababy is in a similar situation about being Oeko-Tek and using Oeko-Tek FR but I will reach out to them and see what is going on (and update my blog if needed). Strollers are a hard one. That’s why I decided to carry my son until I couldn’t physically do it anymore. I love my organic Ergo. Now that he is almost 2 1/2 we do use the stroller when going to the park. I wish there was a better option. I haven’t reached out to CityMini – maybe try and see if they use FRs?
      I don’t own the Lifekind, I bought our latex and wool mattress from Soaring Heart and I love mine. We have a latex topper. I just was emailed by Naturepedic and literally just updated my blog. When I wrote that post it was at the beginning of me learning about things. Naturepedic does not use fiberglass (which I had mentioned I never verified but 2 different people and 2 different mattresses stores told me for some reason). Anyways, their mattresses are GOTS certified. I would feel 100% comfortable about getting the quilted one we got (non-waterproof). Wool, organic and untreated, is very rare to have an allergic reaction. In most people that have reactions it is from the chemicals used in the wool.

      Reply
      1. Laurie G

        I’m surprised to hear you say that shopping for strollers was challenging. I’ve been looking into flame retardant-free strollers, and there seem to be many, many brands on the market that are flame retardant-free. I’ve been using the information at Organic Baby University (http://organicbabyuniversity.com/blog/2011/07/toxic-flame-retardants-in-your-home-strollers-part-1/), which was originally written in 2011, but seems to be updated regularly.

        Another option, which would only be useful as long as you have an infant car seat that you don’t mind your child being in, is to use a metal frame stroller for the infant car seat. The frame, of course, wouldn’t have any flame retardants, but if the car seat did, it probably wouldn’t be as useful as getting a flame retardant-free stroller.

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        Yeah, I know. I still think it’s challenging to find strollers. I’ve seen and used OBU’s list. I’ve gotten to the point that I really don’t like buying products made in China for my son. That’s the main reason it’s so hard. I also think, like the BOB for example, it doesn’t have FR but it coated in polyurethane. So I feel like there is more to it than just FR.

      3. Laurie G

        I understand. As always, I’m learning new things from you! Do you have a resource I can recommend that may help me narrow down strollers to the ones that are least likely to be made in China or have negative aspects other than FRs? I would be thrilled to narrow down the stroller options. our son grew 2 inches last month, and we’ve only got 3 1/2 inches left in the Orbit car seat before I have to move on to something else. When that happens, I had to move him into a new stroller too.

      4. naturalbabymama Post author

        I don’t, I feel like almost all the strollers are made in China now. That is why I went out and bought a used Mountain Buggy that was made in New Zealand. They are now made in China. It’s hard to come by. My son recently has almost grown out of the Mountain Buggy and has been asking to ride in the BOB :( I had a stroller seat made out of organic cotton but it’s the best we can do for now.

      5. Beesitor

        I reached to Baby Jogger yesterday, because I was curious about the newly branded Honest City Mini GT. In the Honest website they claim: that the stroller materials are: 48% nylon, 44% polyester, 7% polyurethane foam, 1% TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane window) AND it’s free of flame retardants, phthalates, lead, 
hexavalent chromium, cadmium, 
mercury, antimony, arsenic, barium, selenium, azo dyes, nickel, penta/octa/deca bormides & formaldehyde.
        Someone at Baby Jogger told me all these claims apply to their strollers. She said there is no need to use flame retardants in strollers, so they don’t use any. They still have PU foam, which sucks, but that one seems like a better option than the PU coated BOB stroller.

        Do you know anything about what are the foams used in the Bumbleride Indie or Nuna Pepp stroller?

        Also I heard the ERGO carrier has PU content in the foam (flame retardant free still). That is why I think Beco (polyester fill) might be a better carrier option.

      6. naturalbabymama Post author

        I don’t know anything about the foams in the strollers. However I would check to see if the manufacturer adds FRs to the foam before they get it.

        I chose the organic Ergo over the Beco. At the time Beco was adding FRs to their carrier which made me so mad since I was using the carrier. It definitely had a smell to it and lucky for me the store I bought it from returned it and I bough the Ergo. The organic Ergo is the only carrier on the market that is GOTS certified. Beco is now made in China which I don’t like at all. I got organic cotton teething pads that I put around the straps of the carrier where my sons mouth would be. Soon he was big enough that his face wasn’t near the straps. To me, the GOTS certification was what made me choose the Ergo. The non organic Ergo is made in China. The organic Ergo is made in India.

      7. Karen

        Thanks again for your informative post and discussions that followed.

        Where did you get the organic seat made for your Bob stroller?

    2. Amy

      I believe, after going through multiple threads on this site, the nuna stroller is not treated with FR’s. so you can get the caraway and accompanying stroller. As you know the only thing with FRs in nuna is the foam in the car seat. A few people have reached out to them directly and made sure they recieved a newer model that wasn’t treated.

      Reply
    3. naturalbabymama Post author

      I’m going to backtrack a bit on my last comment. Did Uppababy tell you the stroller had FRs? I was told they do not in the stroller. I believe the mattress in the basinet might contain FR. Please let me know.

      Reply
      1. Aly rose

        Hi, I called uppababy three times regarding the stroller. Each time they were slightly vague and seem to prefer sending a standard email. The first time I called I was told only the car seat contains FR but the last two times I was told all products do. From the email they seem similar to Nuna by avoiding the so called extremely toxic FR. This is the last email I received:
        All UPPAbaby strollers and car seats exceed ASTM & JPMA compliance standards and governmental safety and testing standards.
        An independent third party quality control laboratory tests our products regularly.
        UPPAbaby does not use the following chemicals in the production of strollers and/or car seats (this includes foam):
        PBB Chemicals
        Brominated Tris
        PBDE Chemicals
        Pentabromodiphenyl ethers (Penta-BDEs)
        Octabromodiphenyl ethers (Octa-BDEs)
        Decabromodiphenyl ether (Deca-BDE)
        Other Chemicals
        Bis (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate
        Tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate (TDBPP)
        Tris (1,3-dichloro-2-propyl) Phosphate (TDCPP)
        Tris (2-chloroethyl) Phosphate (TCEP)
        Tris (1-chloro-2-propyl) Phosphate (TCPP)
        2-Ethylhexyl tetrabromobenzoate (TBB)
        Bis (2-ethylhexyl)-2,3,4,5-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH)
        2,2-bis (chloromethyl) trimethylene
        bis (bis(2-chloroethyl) phosphate) (V6)
        tris- (4-tert-Butylphenyl) phosphate (TBPP)
        · This is all the information I have and what we test for. We encourage you to consult your pediatrician for interpretation, and how to use this information.

        Thank You!

      2. sk

        I was interested in purchasing an Uppababy stroller after reading that it was free of FRs on the Organic Baby University blog. To be sure, I emailed Uppababy and 2 representatives confirmed that Uppababy strollers were indeed free of fire retardants. I received the stroller and noticed a TB117 label attached to the seat bottom. I was confused as to why this label was on the stroller and reached out to the customer service agents again. I wanted to know why this label was on the stroller and how they were meeting TB 117 without the use of fire retardants and really why they were even applying TB 117 to strollers. One of the representatives I had originally contacted never responded and the other told me that while Uppababy does not add fire retardants under manufacturing, the foam is treated with fire retardants by the supplier!!!!!!!!!!!! I wanted to ask one more Uppababy representative so I asked the question on their facebook page. I posted the question on June 4th and have yet to receive an answer. I posted my question two times.

        It’s really disappointing when you think you have found something safe only to learn that you have been deceived. I strongly urge you to ask Uppababy directly by phone, email, and facebook. I am still waiting for my answer on Facebook but if more people post the same question on their Facebook we have a better chance of getting an answer!

        My question: I noticed Uppababy strollers have the TB117 label attached to the seat cover. Are flame retardants or water/stain treatments used on the fabric or foam of the seat during manufacturing or by the supplier?

      3. naturalbabymama Post author

        How disappointing! I can’t believe companies are doing this. Thanks for sharing what you found. I guess the only way around FRs in strollers now is finding a stroller that uses NO foam. It’s so sad that things have to be this hard and that FRs are added to freaking strollers.

      4. naturalbabymama Post author

        That is so funny that they say to contact your pediatrician to interpret and use the info! So strange. It sounds like another reader had hers tested and it came back positive for FRs. So avoid them!

      5. Aly rose

        - I also called bugaboo and was told they do not use FR. The mattress of the bassinet is made from polyurethane foam but does not have FR. I feel sceptical about this.
        – I must say Nuna company had the best costumer service and seem to be the most honest regarding this issue. Although I still need to find out if Nuna contains BPA or PVC.

      6. naturalbabymama Post author

        I agree that Nuna has really good customer service and they are very forthcoming. That is some of the reason I like them. It seems are committed to using the least amount of toxic products they can.

  14. Laurie G

    Although it’s not necessarily related to car seats, I’m wondering if anybody knows anything about phthalate-free PVCs. I’m very interested in creating a photo book for my baby to look at so he can get to know the faces of his relatives who live far away. However, all the baby photo books I’ve seen are made with a PVC-type plastic to make the pocket for the photo. I found one made by Manhattan Toy that uses phthalate-free PVC, but some of the research I read says that it could still have problems like dioxin or lead. Does anyone know anything about this? Does anyone know a better option for creating a photo book that would be safe for him?

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      I don’t have any info for you about that but I was looking last year for the same thing and couldn’t find anything (I did give up after a couple of nights of looking though). I thought about making a photo book online but then I felt like he was just going to write the pages apart. Let me know if you find anything.

      Reply
  15. Cana

    Have you looked in to Clerk car seats? When I was looking for a non toxic car seat this one seemed the best option not only for the fabric they use but for the extended rear-facing use as well.
    I am curious what you think of this brand.
    Thanks,
    Cana

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Yes, I have. I like that they are made in North America, a huge plus for me. However, they aren’t perfect from a FR standpoint. However, if I was buying a convertible seat it probably would be the one I choose since all the issues with Orbit came out.

      Reply
  16. Beesitor

    I am creating a spreadsheet for each brand of stroller/carseat/travelcrib I’m interested on. I’m specifying whether they contain PVC, phthalates, polyurethane or polyester, cotton or wool, lead, heavy metals, toxic dyes, and flame retardants. I’m just starting to work on it based on info I’m gathering on forums and blogs and directly calling the companies. If I ever finish it before the baby is due (hahaha) I’ll try to post it here!

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Thanks for all your information! That’s great you are making a spreadsheet. I’m in the processing of updating my blog post. Once you get your information please feel free to post it here or email it to me at naturalbabymama@hotmail.com and I can post it to the blog. I will say it’s so disappointing that we, as parents, have to go to such lengths to try and get a non-toxic product for our kids.

      Reply
    2. naturalbabymama Post author

      Just using this last comment to make sure everyone has read my latest blog post. The news that HealthyStuff will be testing for the 7 most common FRs is HUGE! It will save us all time and worry when trying to pick out our next car seat – since children do grow :)

      Please consider donating to help them do the study this summer. I’ve been a little disappointed to see how slowly their donations have been going up. It’s such an important study.

      http://naturalbabymama.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/be-part-of-exposing-toxic-chemcials-in-childrens-car-seats/

      Reply
  17. Beesitor

    Also, I just got this reply from Bumbleride. I inquired only about strollers and bassinets for strollers:

    Thank you for your email and we would be more than happy to help. I know you didn’t ask for all of the information below but it’s our template for those inquiring about materials so I thought I would just send everything I know! ha-ha.

    Bumbleride invests significantly to test our products and materials exclusively with CPSC approved independent labs.
    With respect to your specific questions, the following is a summary of the major points:

    Product Test method: acid digestion and extraction methods were used and toxic elements were determined by Inductively Couples Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometer.

    Lead (Pb): ND = Not detected
    Mercury (Hg): ND
    Cadmium (Cd): ND
    Antimony (Sb): ND
    Barium (Ba): ND
    Selenium (Se): ND
    Aresenic (As): ND
    PVC: ND
    Phthalates: ND
    BPA: ND
    Bromine: ND

    You also asked about what the foam is made out of and it is fleece- it is not made out of Polyurethane.

    Flame Retardant Filling Test Method: By Solvent Extraction and by GC-MS analysis:
    Decabromodiphenlether (decaBDE): ND
    Octabromodiphenylether (octaBDE): ND
    Pentabromodiphenlether (pentaBDE): ND
    Tris-(2,3-Dibromoproply) phosphate (Tris): ND
    Tri (1,3-dichloropropyl) phosphate (TDCP): ND
    Tris (2-chloroethl) phosphate (TCEP): ND
    Tris (chloroisopropyl) Phosphate (TCPP): ND

    These test results are just part of our USA standard test processes. All of our products are retested each year to make sure there are no changes to the materials used and that all of our products comply with American, Canadian, European, UK and Australian safety standards. Different standards test different chemicals. For example EU testing confirms no Phthalates, Formaldehyde, etc.

    As a company we do everything we can to make products responsibly, which includes continual evaluation both through labs and our own internal processes that our products are safe for the children and parents who use them.

    Thank you for your patience while we got back to you. Please do not hesitate to reply back with any further questions. Thank you and have a great day!

    Best,

    Kandi

    Customer Care
    Bumbleride Inc.
    P 800 530 3930
    F 619 615 2065
    info@bumbleride.com
    http://www.bumbleride.com

    Reply
  18. Heavens123

    I just got a positive test for TDCPP from Duke on my carseat. Does anyone know of an independent lab that guarantees their results where I may submit a sample? Thanks.

    Reply
      1. Laurie G

        I just got the same result from Duke for my Orbit car seat. I’m waiting to hear from them about what they found on the last sample I sent in before I post the results. But can you tell me more about what you’re going to do once you verify the results with an independent lab?

      2. Heavens123

        I have not yet decided. I cannot make any decisions until I have guaranteed results in hand. Innocent until provent guilty.

      3. Laurie G.

        Is there a reason you feel Duke’s results aren’t guaranteed? Truly wondering. I’m not sure what to do with the information at this point, since my son is just a couple of inches of length from outgrowing his Orbit car seat, but I do trust that Duke’s results are true. However, if I were to engage in a lawsuit or something like that, I’d need an independent lab’s information.

      4. Heavens123

        Duke states that their results aren’t guaranteed when you fill our your info to send in samples.

      1. naturalbabymama Post author

        So far I’ve heard of test results coming back on Orbit & Diono which both tested positive to TDCPP (Tris). Someone tested the head rest area of the Clek and nothing was found. She was going to re-test another area incase that didn’t contain FRs since it wasn’t the main part of the car seat but I haven’t heard back.

  19. Laurie G

    Does anyone know anything about the relative safety of TPE (Thermal Plastic Elastomer)? I’ve come across it more and more lately, and even found a teether made of it. I can’t seem to find any information saying it’s harmful when children chew on it, but I haven’t found anything that seems to indicate it’s definitely safe. I’d love any information anyone has on it. Thanks!

    Reply
      1. Laurie G

        Thank you! That’s a great site, and I’d never been there before. I really appreciate your help!

  20. Nicole

    Which car seat do you currently recommend? I saw in April you said you no longer recommend orbit? Is that still true? I’m so confused and don’t know what to get. Thanks for your help! !

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you! I do not recommend Orbit from a toxicity standpoint. Mine tested positive for Tris. For an infant seat I would get Nuna and for the convertible I would probably get Clek but I haven’t seen any results on FR testing for the foam in the seat on Clek.

      Reply
      1. Sabina

        I’ve got a similar reply from Clek:
        “Samantha (Clek Inc)
        Jun 19 03:42 PM

        Hi Sabina,

        Thank you for contacting Clek. The 2014 Foonf models have been deemed free of all harmful chemicals including no brominated or chlorinated flame retardants. More information will be available via healthystuff.org within the next several months.

        Kind Regards,

        Samantha Musacchia

        clek
        Customer Support Team”
        I wasn’t exactly pleased as the email didn’t answer my questions, just tried to redirect me. This is what I asked:
        ” What type of specific flame retardant do you use on your car seats? Do your
        seats contain BPA, PVC, Phthalates, Lead? What specific type of plastic do
        you use?”

      2. Carol

        Any idea if the 2013 models are also free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants? I still see 2013 models on sale (like the paul frank hearts one, on a one day sale right now at a store in Canada)

  21. Jen

    Here is my response from Cybex in regards to the Aton Q:
    “In order for us to be able to sell a car seat, and that is for any car seat here, the US Government requires the fabric to be treated with flame retardant. This is what CYBEX states in their disclosure:
    Cybex uses a proprietary solution that does not contain halogenated (brominated or chlorinated) flame retardants and is free of the heavy metals lead, antimony, arsenic, chromium, cobalt, copper, mercury, nickel or tin. Stiftung Warentest (a German independent consumer testing institute) tested European products, including car seats, for hazardous substances, and CYBEX is proud to say that our car seats received only top marks. http://blog.cybex-online.com/blog/topnews/cybex-aton-2-withwithout-isofix-and-cybex-juno-fix-are-the-stiftung-warentest-test-winners/

    These results further support our dedication to child safety, not only in the technical requirements of the product, but also in our selection of non-hazardous materials and fabrics.

    I asked about the Oeko-Tex fabric, and while it is true that it is organic, it has to be treated also with flame retardant if used on a car seat. Those are just the regulations of our government and we have to comply”

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Actually it’s not the regulations of our government. The regulations are that they burn at a certain slowness. It’s their choice to use fabric and foam that is flammable. Since they use that then they HAVE to use chemical FRs. If they used naturally flame resistant materials like wool wrapped in cotton then they wouldn’t have to use FRs at all.

      I like that Nuna is forthcoming about the FRs they use and for that reason I would choose them. I don’t like the proprietary talk that a lot of companies use to not disclose what they are using. They aren’t making up their own special FR, they are using one that is already on the market.

      Just my two cents :)

      Reply
      1. amy

        Hi, so while Nuna doesn’t use FR (except the ammonium phosphate in the car seat) there is a foam that is used. I called, and they didn’t know what kind of foam it was. Does anyone know? For what it’s worth the customer representative told me that the Sena (travel crib) has polyurethane foam in the mattress.

    2. C. Bennett

      Not true, the government just requires a certain level of protection, however it’s achieved. Many companies use natural materials like wool, which are naturally flame retardant.

      Reply
  22. Karen

    Thanks for this post! Definitely enough information out there to make your head spin.

    I’m in the market for a new car seat as my daughter will soon be outgrowing her infant seat. I’m torn between the following:

    – Diono Radian RXT in Rugby or Storm
    – Clek Foonf in “Drift”, which is not Crypton fabric
    – Clek Foonf in another colour that is Crypton

    I know it will be my choice to make, but if you were to buy one and leave it as is (i.e., not replace any covers, etc.), which would you choose of these?

    With respect to the Foonfs, I like the fact that HealthyStuff.org has apparently deemed the them free of harmful chemicals, including brominated and chlorinated flame retardants, but I’m not sure what type of flame retardants they are using and if the Crypton fabric, although GreenGuard certified, would contain other types of potentially harmful chemicals.

    As for the Radians, having the fabric not treated with FR at all is appealing. Any idea how high the risk is of FR being released from the foam and through the fabric?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Diono tested positive for Tris. The risk is high that FR get released from the foam. Tiny particles get into the air just the same way that it does with your couch. I would go with Clek. They use a “fluoro based chemistry” FR.

      Reply
      1. Heavens123

        Without testing, how do we know what any company uses? We know what they say they use or don’t use, but based on our Duke test results, what companies say they use doesn’t seem to mean to much. I need a seat now, but how do I trust another company after being burned by the makers of my infant car seat?

  23. Kelsey

    Unbelievable and horribly disappointing. I finally got my Duke results back, and my *MAY 2010* Orbit baby stroller and car seat tested positive for TDCPP. That was back when Orbit was saying that they –were– Okeo Tek certified for the foam…

    What to do about this now?! Any breakthroughs from anyone dealing with Orbit corporate yet??

    Reply
    1. Tiila

      I just got the same result back from Duke today on our Orbit. Hugely disappointing. Curious if anyone has reached out to Orbit with their results? It’s a classic fraud case. Anyone interested in rallying together, please email me at tiilaabbitt at gmail.

      Reply
  24. Abbey

    I am so disappointed to hear about the Duke results on the 2010 stroller. I have both the Orbit car seat and stroller (which I purchased only due to the promised lack of flame retardant).

    I am wondering if there is a recommendation on strollers with no flame retardant. Thanks!!

    And, yeah Orbit cannot continue to lie and hide. This is horrible and they profited greatly on their false claims.

    Reply
      1. amy

        I had no idea that Bob and Mountain Buggy didn’t have FR, I thought only Nuna didn’t. So all of their strollers in their line are FR free?

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        That’s what they claim! I believe that to be more true for Mountain Buggy because their is no foam. I will have to look at my BOB again but I’m pretty sure there is foam in the back rest.

  25. amy

    Hi Everyone,
    I am just completely overwhelmed and disappointed by all the positive results coming back from Duke on Orbit products. I’m a bit in the weeds about specifically which products of Orbit people have tested and what chemicals Duke is finding in the products. Would anyone, be willing to scan their results/letter from Duke, with the details? If not, would anyone feel comfortable emailing me directly with a scan of it? I’m so mad! Thank you in advance for your help. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Laurie G

      I’d be glad to share mine, but it was an email, so I’ll just copy and paste the text. I just need to look up the date my car seat was manufactured so I can share the info.

      Reply
      1. Laurie G.

        I have a G2 Orbit car seat, manufactured on April 30, 2013. I submitted two foam samples from the car seat cover (I did not submit any styrofoam, since others had done that and had not found flame retardants on any): a yellow foam found inside the fabric cover (#313) and a harder white foam found in a pockets on either side of where the child’s head rests (#314). I also submitted samples of foam from two different couches I have. Duke found Tris (TDCPP) in the yellow foam from the Orbit car seat, but did not find any flame retardant in the white foam. They found Firemaster 550 in the sample from the La-Z-Boy sofa we have, but no flame retardants in the one we have from Raymour and Flanagan, which is encouraging. Although there may still be flame retardants in that couch or the white foam, it’s none of the seven for which Duke is testing.

        I’m incredibly frustrated and upset by this. My mother-in-law purchased the car seat and stroller for us as a gift, knowing how important it was for us to have something safe for our son. To think he’s been sitting in Tris this whole time is very upsetting. I’m glad that he’s nearly outgrown it, and hopefully we can get him into the Clek Foonf soon.

        Duke sent two letters: one explains the results they found, and the other details potential issues with the flame retardants they are testing the foam samples for. I pasted each below. The letters are on Duke letterhead.

        June 19, 2014

        Dear Laurie,

        Thank you for participating in the Duke University Superfund Research Center’s study. We have tested your foam sample for the presence or absence of seven different types of flame retardant chemicals that are commonly applied to residential furniture. If you submitted multiple samples, you may receive a separate email for each sample.

        RESULTS

        Sample number: 313
        Product type: Child car seat
        Brand: Orbit
        Result: We detected TDCPP in this sample.

        Sample number: 314
        Product type: Child car seat
        Brand: Orbit
        Result: No flame retardants were detected in this sample.

        Sample number: 315
        Product type: Sofa
        Brand: La-Z-Boy
        Result: We detected Firemaster 550 in this sample.

        Sample number: 316
        Product type: Sofa
        Brand: Raymour and Flanagan
        Result: No flame retardants were detected in this sample.

        Attached to this letter you will find some additional information on the specific flame retardant
        chemicals we tested for in your foam. Additionally, you can find tips on how to reduce your exposure to flame retardants by visiting the resources page on our website (foam.pratt.duke.edu). Please keep in mind that a “No flame retardants detected” result does not necessarily mean that this sample is free of all flame retardants. We have the capacity to test for 7 known types of flame retardant chemicals, but there may be new formulations on the market that we cannot test for at this time. Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

        Best,

        Heather Stapleton, Ph.D.
        Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry
        Nicholas School of the Environment
        LSRC, Box 90328

        Duke University provides this information to the public as a service. The content of our website, publications, and correspondence should not be considered advice or endorsement and is for informational purposes only. As a scientific institute, we strive for accuracy; however, occasional errors are unavoidable. Duke University is not responsible for decisions made based on information we provide.

        The Second Letter:

        7 Common Flame Retardant Chemicals

        Penta BDE
        PentaBDE is a commercial flame retardant mixture containing brominated chemicals called PBDEs (polybrominated diphenyl ethers). PentaBDE has been used for decades in residential furniture, but due to concerns over their persistence, ability to accumulate in humans, as well as their potential toxicity, the US began a phase-out of pentaBDE in 2005.

        For more information on PBDEs, including pentaBDE, read the ToxFAQs summary (http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=900&tid=183) created by the US Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.

        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). *Footnote 1

        There is evidence that TDCPP is a probable carcinogen and a developmental neurotoxicant *Footnote 2, as well as an endocrine disruptor in fish.

        For more information on TDCPP, read This Environmental Health Perspectives article (http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/121-a150/),
        This technical report published by California’s EPA in 2011 (http://oehha.ca.gov/prop65/hazard_ident/pdf_zip/TDCPP070811.pdf), and

        This factsheet (http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/flameret/altrep-v2/altrept-v2-section3a.pdf) from EPA’s Environmental Profiles of Chemical Flame Retardant Alternatives report (http://www.epa.gov/dfe/pubs/flameret/ffr-alt.htm) on their Design for the Environment page

        Firemaster ® 550

        Firemaster® 550 (FM 550) is a mixture of brominated and organo-phosphorous flame retardants. It was advertised as a replacement for pentaBDE following its phase-out. Other than some limited testing carried out by the manufacturer, little information on the health effects of Firemaster 550 is available. However, a recent study conducted by researchers at Duke University and NC State found that some of the components in FM 550 bioaccumulate and act as an endocrine disruptor. FM 550 may also cause obesity, metabolic disruption, and increase the onset of puberty.

        For more information, read this press release from NC State University on a recent study of Firemaster 550. (http://news.ncsu.edu/releases/wms-patisaul-firemaster/)

        V 6

        V6 is a chlorinated organophosphate flame retardant that can contain TCEP as an impurity in the mixture. TCEP is considered a carcinogen.

        TBPP

        TBPP, or Tris-isobutylated triphenyl phosphate, is a mixture organophosphate flame retardants that do not contain halogens (e.g. bromine or chlorine). About 40% of the TBPP mixture is a chemical called triphenyl phosphate (TPP). Limited information exists on the health impacts of this mixture, but scientific studies have shown that TPP can have high acute aquatic toxicity.

        EPA conducted a risk characterization for TBPP, click here (http://www.epa.gov/hpvis/rbp/220352352_Butylated%20Triphenyl%20Phosphate_Web_RBPSuppDocs.July2008.pdf) to read their technical document from 2008.

        MPP Mix

        MPP, or methyl phenyl phosphate, is a mixture of organophosphate flame retardants that do not contain halogens (e.g. bromine or chlorine). Triphenyl phosphate (TPP) is also a primary component in MPP (see above for more information on TPP). Little information is available on the toxicity and levels of exposure to chemicals found in this mixture.

        TCPP

        TCPP is very similar in structure to TDCPP (see above) – it’s used as an additive flame retardant in resins, polymers, latexes, and foams, and is most widely used in the US (annual estimations are 4,500-22,700 metric tons).3 As a relatively new flame retardant additive, little is known about possible health effects.

        1 Meeker JD, et al. Urinary metabolites of organophosphate flame retardants: Temporal variability and correlations with house dust concentrations. Environ Health Perspect 121:580-585. (2013); http://dx.doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1205907

        2 Dishaw LV, et al. Is the PentaBDE replacement, tris (1,3-dichloropropyl) phosphate (TDCPP), a developmental neurotoxicant? Studies in PC12 cells. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 256(3):281–289. (2011); http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.taap.2011.01.005

        3 See first footnote

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        I had the G2 tested and it was purchased in late 2012. Amy to answer your question I’m going to say all of their products most likely have it. Someone had their 2010 Orbit tested and it came back positive for Tris.

  26. Kelsey

    Ok, so to summarize: Nuna Pipa for infant car seat (FR but they’re forthcoming and whatever it is they use is better than the Tris found in Orbit’s), Clek for the toddler car seat, —OR for either buy a cheaper seat and get a custom cover from Etsy which will replace the fabric and the foam, and Mountain Buggy or BOB for a stroller. Organic ErgoBaby to replace the stroller whenever possible.

    FYI nautral babymama, as I was researching the Mountain Buggy they let me know that the product has actually always been made in China. The people who originally owned the company misled in their advertising. It was always only boxed in New Zealand and manufactured in China. When the new company took over, they decided to be more forthcoming about this. See the email chain from the guy below:

    My Question: (you’re the ‘friend’ I refer to ;)

    Hi there, Our family is asking what to buy us for our first baby and we would love to have them purchase the Mountain Buggy stroller for us so that we can jog as a family. However, we are really focused on not buying Made in China products. I understand from a friend that your 2012 and earlier models were made in New Zealand. I would much rather our family go direct through you, rather than Craigslist or something, and wondered if there was any chance you still sell older models/Made in New Zealand models? Thanks so much, Kelsey P.S. Could you also please provide me a list of flame retardants that are used for your stroller just so I know? I believe the stroller seat is nylon, correct? Appreciate it!

    Their response + a full discussion about this misleading on the phone:

    Hi Kelsey,

    Happy to answer your questions. Thanks so much for taking the time to reach out to us. We actually make Mountain Buggy in the same factory it’s always been! When phil&teds purchased Mountain Buggy in late 2009, we advertised where models were REALLY made rather than state NZ (only boxing done there). On the whole we have kept parts and design the same and have parts widely available, but we simply cannot all produce parts for older buggies. Mountain Buggy still has the same mark of quality and dependable engineering the brand has always been synonymous with. The line has more owners worldwide than ever before, and has been revitalized with several new models as well.

    All strollers sold here meet ALL other worldwide standards as North America has some of the toughest product standards. We not only pass, but exceed every safety standard worldwide! No Phil and Teds or Mountain Buggy products sold in the USA have been treated with fire retardants. Fabric is a rip stop nylon. he buggies are a PVC and BPA free product as well.

    For more information about the tests each of our products have undergone, please see http://www.philandteds.com/certificates. You can download the certification for the product you are interested in.

    Reply
    1. amy

      Thank you so much for this! So on the stroller front, would a Nuna stroller also work? And has someone checked the foam that is used in a Phil & Teds/Mountain Buggy? We all need to get PHD’s in this after all this is sorted out.

      Reply
      1. busybee

        I was put off on buying a Bob stroller after recently reading an update from Organic Baby University saying that Bob strollers have a tag that warns about the stroller containing lead (not sure what this means). Click on link and scroll down to Bob strollers: http://organicbabyuniversity.com/blog/2011/07/toxic-flame-retardants-in-your-home-strollers-part-1/

        Bumbleride appears to be a chemically safe option, but I could not afford their price-tag (see their answer to my questions below). So I ended up buying a Baby Jogger stroller to use with the Nuna Pipa. Baby Jogger claims not using flame retardants and other chemicals (see their e-mail below). However, their pads are still made of polyurethane.

        BABYJOGGER
        “We strive to ensure that we manufacture strollers that are safe for consumers and their riders. As a result our fabrics and stroller components are all tested to meet or exceed all chemical and lead requirements according to ASTM (American Safety for Testing and Materials) or CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) guidelines. In the United States, our strollers are free of flame retardants, PVC, BPA, latex, teflon, phthalates, AZO dyes and Scotchguard”

        BUMBLERIDE
        Bumbleride invests significantly to test our products and materials exclusively with CPSC approved independent labs. With respect to your specific questions, the following is a summary of the major points:

        Product Test method: acid digestion and extraction methods were used and toxic elements were determined by Inductively Couples Plasma-Optical Emission Spectrometer.
        Lead (Pb): ND = Not detected
        Mercury (Hg): ND
        Cadmium (Cd): ND
        Antimony (Sb): ND
        Barium (Ba): ND
        Selenium (Se): ND
        Aresenic (As): ND
        PVC: ND
        Phthalates: ND
        BPA: ND
        Bromine: ND

        You also asked about what the foam is made out of and it is fleece- it is not made out of Polyurethane.

        Flame Retardant Filling Test Method: By Solvent Extraction and by GC-MS analysis:
        Decabromodiphenlether (decaBDE): ND
        Octabromodiphenylether (octaBDE): ND
        Pentabromodiphenlether (pentaBDE): ND
        Tris-(2,3-Dibromoproply) phosphate (Tris): ND
        Tri (1,3-dichloropropyl) phosphate (TDCP): ND
        Tris (2-chloroethyl) phosphate (TCEP): ND
        Tris (chloroisopropyl) Phosphate (TCPP): ND

        These test results are just part of our USA standard test processes. All of our products are retested each year to make sure there are no changes to the materials used and that all of our products comply with American, Canadian, European, UK and Australian safety standards. Different standards test different chemicals. For example EU testing confirms no Phthalates, Formaldehyde, etc. As a company we do everything we can to make products responsibly, which includes continual evaluation both through labs and our own internal processes that our products are safe for the children and parents who use them. Thank you for your patience while we got back to you. Please do not hesitate to reply back with any further questions. Thank you and have a great day!

        Yeah… let’s get our PhDs!

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        Interesting – thanks for sharing! Lead is a serious issue for kids and I would avoid anything that says it has lead. This is a new development for the BOB!

      3. hisandherguide

        Just wanted to get this convo going again. I’ve decided to get the nuna pippa car seat, but am also thinking of getting the Nuna pepp stroller as well. Does anyone know how safe the stroller is? Any FR in it? I tried asking nuna, but they just directed me to their certifiably green website link which is very vague.

      4. naturalbabymama Post author

        Another reader had a similar vague statement from them. Seems like they are backtracking or at least not being forthcoming anymore. Find a stroller without foam to be sure there is no FRs. Mountain Buggy is FR free but it’s a bulkier running type stroller.

      5. naturalbabymama Post author

        There is no foam in my Mountain Buggy. I would go with no foam at all over trying to figure out if a company is telling you the truth is they are using FRs in their foam.

      6. Amy

        I called and spoke with a manager of mountain buggy and Phil & Teds. They are now one company and he told me none of their strollers re treated with flame retardants and I went through three options of strollers with him tht do not contain any FRs. I didn’t discuss the mountain buggy strollers since I wasn’t looking for a running stroller. The Phil and teds vibe, verve and cosmopolitan has foam free however their infant carry bassinet that you can buy does contain foam. I emailed about 3 additional strollers they make to find out. I can update when I get the info. They were extremely nice about it.
        I had a similar conversation with nuna that the other reader had. They wouldn’t identify their foam but they did say and it does state on their site that they are complaint with a variety of certifications and that they don’t use flame retardants. So at this point is the nuna car seat still the best infant option?

    2. naturalbabymama Post author

      AGH!! It’s this stuff that makes me so mad. Literally I went out of my way to find a used Mountain Buggy that says Made in NZ on it. It looks like it doesn’t matter. I still think this is probably the least toxic stroller out there even if it is made in China. Thanks for the post!

      Reply
  27. Kelsey

    Sorry, on the Orbit, one other question- Laurie G, it’s interesting that one type of phone tested positive for Tris (the yellow one), but the white one didn’t, I wonder how that’s possible and/or how/why they would be using two different kinds. If one type is FR free, why not use that throughout? Very confusing.

    Reply
    1. Laurie G

      I agree, it’s weird that they don’t have any FR on the one foam when they do on the other. Of course, it’s possible that they are putting an FR on the white foam that isn’t one of the ones Duke tested for. The white foam is much thicker and more dense then the foam inside the cover. The foam inside the cover is very porous, and perhaps it burns at a different rate than the white foam? That would be my guess for why they didn’t put FRs on the white foam. I assume that’s the reasoning for why there’s no FR on the styrofoam either.

      Reply
      1. Kaitlin

        Hi everyone, I’ve been following this blog for a long time and can’t thank you all enough for sharing this information. I recently ran into a few issues with Nuna and wanted to share. I decided to purchase a Nuna car seat and have been considering their stroller and portable travel crib. Before I purchased the stroller and crib, I emailed asking them to confirm the products didn’t contain FRs. After a few follow up emails, I still hadn’t heard back so I called them. The customer service rep said even though they had told me in the past the crib didn’t contain FRs [I had previously emailed them] he could no longer confirm the crib or the stroller were FR free. He apologized for being “vague.” He also said they wouldn’t be able to provide any more information or respond directly to the email I had sent and referred me to the certifiably green statement on their website. On a previous call, I had inquired about the specific FR used in the car seat and although I have in an email saying it’s from the ammonium polyphosphate category, the customer service rep said he didn’t know and knowing the FR they use is “the 64 million dollar question.” Not exactly the response I was hoping to hear.

        I had really liked how honest Nuna seemed to be when it came to their products, but it seems this is changing. Has anyone else had this experience?

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        No foam on the Styrofoam is because Styrofoam doesn’t burn like polyurethane foam. Could be true about the other foams, that Duke didn’t test for it or that foam isn’t as flammable either.

    2. naturalbabymama Post author

      It’s where they are getting the foam from. I think some of the foam is coming pre-treated. Some foam also burns faster than others and needs FRs when other’s don’t.

      Reply
  28. Erin

    Hi – I’ve been following this discussion for a while now. I bought an Orbit toddler seat a year and a half ago (and had read your original post as part of my research), based on the claims of it being free of harmful FRs. Imagine my surprise when I re-found this post and the new information reporting that the foam is full of all sorts of nastiness :-(. I’m about to have a second baby and had planned to purchase the Orbit baby seat. I emailed Orbit just to see what they’d say about the whole thing and, not surprisingly, got no response. I’m leaning toward the Nuna now (imperfect but honest), thanks to the recommendations from everyone here.

    I see you mentioned for someone else to private message you for further information about any action that might be taken against Orbit. I was going to PM you, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how to do so. Can you point me in the right direction and/or email me directly? Thanks!

    Reply
      1. Laurie G

        I’ve been wondering the same thing; how can I find your FB page? I am accessing the sure on my phone, so maybe I’m missing something?

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        You can click on the FB link on my blog’s homepage or you can type in Natural Baby Mama and it should pull up. I don’t do much with it but it is a good place for messages :)

  29. Amber

    First and foremost, thank you for all your research and for sharing. I am driving myself batshit crazy figuring out the best route to take. I would like to do the Nuna Pipa (as from what I can tell this is the least toxic route) BUT the nuna Pipa will not fit on the BOB stroller we already have. I thinkwe are also going to get the Uppababy Vista as I believe this is the better stroller between the bugaboo and uppababy, right? Then I wonder how critical it is for the Pipa to fit the BOB because I don’t think you can run with an infant, even in the infant car seat on a BOB…everything I read says they need head control….and by the time they have head control wouldn’t they be sitting directly in the BOB and not in the infant car seat attached to the BOB? My head spins just typing all that…any insight/feedback is greatly appreciated! :)

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Yes, you can’t run with a baby until they have good head control so you really don’t need the adaptor. An earlier poster said that BOB has a lead warning on their strollers now. I would check that before using! I read something today about how Uppababy didn’t test well. I would find a stroller without foam!

      Reply
  30. Mori Salquist

    Does it matter the color of the nuna pipa infant car seat? I know in some products the color drastically changed the levels of chemicals. Also are there any double strollers that you would recommend that are compatible with the nuna seat? I have a toddler and baby #2 due shortly.

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Nuna is now being vague, I think they seem to be backtracking a bit. Maybe it’s because of everything going on, people testing things, etc. The reality of the car seat situation is that none of them are good. If what Nuna was saying earlier is true then they are one of the better ones. I don’t know of any strollers that are compatible. Maybe wear the baby and use your existing stroller until baby is big enough to sit up in a stroller. That way you aren’t trying to find a compatible stroller?

      Reply
      1. Mori

        Thank you and I appreciate your suggestion. Sounds like the best thing we can do for now is minimize our travel/car seat time and baby wear as much as possible!

  31. Mori

    I want to say thank you for all of this head spinning info! Do you know if the nuna is the same in all it’s colors? After reading about the different toxicity levels being different just in different fabric colors I’m nervous to purchase without asking! Also does anyone have a recommendation for a less toxic double stroller that can be used with the Nuna. Appreciate it

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      I don’t know anything specific to different colors in Nuna but I have learned from a heavy metal standpoint red and yellow are good colors to avoid. Not saying that all red and yellow are bad and this doesn’t have anything to do with Nuna at all. Just something I learned in general from someone who tests a lot of products for heavy metals :)

      Reply
  32. Christine

    I think the Nuna Pipa is supposed to fit on the Bumbleride Indie stroller with one of their adapters (the Maxi Cosi one maybe?). I haven’t tried it yet.
    When I got the Nuna Pipa inspected by our local engineers/EMTs they were really excited about how easy it was to install and use. It actually only took my husband like a minute to install it. I am keeping my fingers crossed that they were honest about their FR…

    Reply
  33. Stephanie

    This is making my head SPIN. Angrily. And with worry. (I also have the cubes seat, and he’s been in it for such a very very long time – we bought the Orbit a while ago for him to grow into, and I was just about to swap him out into it and found your post. I tried to swap him into the Orbit yesterday just to get him out of the keyfit and found to my dismay that I couldn’t get the seat belt tight enough – I have to call orbit because he SHOULD be tall enough for it already, by far (even though I don’t want him in it!! But I want him in the keyfit even less!!!!)

    But now I can’t decide if we should get a Nollie cover, or a Foonf. UGH. Decisions. All awful decisions.

    I am wondering if it would be possible for you to share a picture of your G2 seat with the Nollie cover on it? Do you find that it is truly a very very snug fit, just like the original? And – does she also make a brand-new headrest attachment, or is it just the cover itself and then you don’t use the headrest? My concern with regular cotton or wool padding is that they will compress over time, unlike foam (which is awful for obvious chemical reasons, but the padding does not compress) and I’m wondering how a Nollie cover would hold up in light of that. It sounds like you have only recently gotten yours so I am not sure if you’ll be able to comment on wear and tear just yet… would it be better for me to PM you via facebook? Thanks.

    Reply
  34. Heavens123

    Getting ready to buy a Clek, so reading over their website. Why doesn’t it say anywhere that no brominated or chlorinated fire retardants are used in the 2014 models? Am I missing it? I would think that they would want to broadcast it, especially since I saw that there was some type of a press release in conjunction with healthystuff.org. Also, do we have any Duke tests back yet on the 2014 models?

    Reply
    1. Stephanie

      Yeah, I was VERY unimpressed with that link. It’s basically “Duke obviously doesn’t test properly! Because we test ALL the time and WE say it’s fine. So we’re checking with Duke, but even though they’ve found it in LOTS of our car seats, they must be testing incorrectly. I mean, look, they even say their results are not guaranteed in any way, so they admit they’re testing incorrectly! You should believe US and NOT Duke.” Here’s the relevant text for those who don’t feel like clicking through:

      SUBJECT HEADING:
      I heard your products tested positive for Firemaster 550 from Duke University.

      ORBIT’S RESPONSE:
      We stand behind our rigorous testing program that ensures our materials maintain chemical safety standards that meet or exceed applicable governmental guidelines. We are working with those consumers who have received results from Duke University and are investigating the subject products.

      In addition, we are in direct communication with Duke University to fully understand the university’s testing process and methodologies. It is important for consumers to note that according to the Duke University website, participants in its testing program must “sign an acknowledgement that the results [it supplies] are not guaranteed in any way”. Nonetheless, we take the Duke University test results seriously and our goal is to better understand its testing methodology and historical experience with products that must meet the federal guidelines for car seat flammability, not just in-home use.

      Through the use of independent laboratories, thorough sampling of multiple units, and tight control of source materials, Orbit Baby is an industry leader in taking real action towards creating products that are both safe for your baby and safe for our planet.”

      Reply
      1. naturalbabymama Post author

        Agreed, plus as I just wrote in another comment Orbit seats are testing positive for Tris not Firemaster 550. So they are either confused or trying to confuse us. I haven’t seen them take any “real action” as they state that they do.

    2. naturalbabymama Post author

      That’s basically what they said to me on the phone. I think if they are wanting to take this head on they should SHOW us their results and prove that Duke is wrong (which I don’t think they are). Also it’s Tris (TDCPP) NOT Firemaster 550 that is showing up; so in a round about way they actually didn’t address Tris. They are correct, Firemaster 500 isn’t showing up.

      Reply
    3. Laurie G

      Interesting, but frustrating. We know the people with the 2010 car seat found that it had flame retardants, so their statement that they started in 2012 is not accurate. They also address Firemaster 550, but I and many others on here have found that their seats have Tris. It seems that they are doing a lot of covering up instead of actually being honest and transparent. That’s frustrating.

      Reply
  35. Kelsey

    Hi all– Now that Nuna is being vague what to do? QUESTION: Has anyone seen any Duke tests results back on the Nuna???/ Seems like that’s the only way to really know anything these days! I bought the Orbit after all of this research, but my (2010) model did test positive for TDCPP, the WORST. I’m thinking as long as Nuna doesn’t have tris, it would be better, right?

    Has anyone seen any test results???

    Thanks! (baby due in 3-5 weeks :),
    Kelsey

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      I responded to a different comment of yours but wanted to say that I agree, Tris and Brominated FRs are the worst. It’s amazing your 2010 tested positive for it. Makes me so mad!

      Reply
  36. Heavens123

    I have purchased a Clek Foonf for lack of better option. I got the version in Drift, which is not Crypton. I did not do extensive research on Crypton fabrics, but I want as little anything as possible, so drift was the way to go.

    It is very easy to get a piece of foam from where the straps come out, so I will send a piece in to Duke for testing so we may be assured they are making good on their promise of no chlorinated or brominated fire retardants.

    A few initial impressions. The Foonf seems to be built like a tank. It seems like a proper seat that comes with the car, as opposed to an add-in. Very, very heavy and very secure feeling. It also sits quite high. I’m tall and have to stretch to look up and over it to check my blind spot. I’m having trouble getting it to sit exactly even, so am going to a carseat checking place to get my installation checked. I like that my baby can be rear facing to 50 lbs. That’s a big deal since it’s much safer. That being said, I do miss my Orbit because of one very useful feature — the swivel base. I could swivel the car seat to put my toddler in easily and then swivel it back and click/lock it in place. There’s no swivel on the Clek Foonf, meaning if my toddler is not cooperating and won’t climb into the carseat, it’s much more difficult to have to lift a struggling toddler up and over than it is to lift straight in and then swivel/click. Part of the swivel that was also nice is that the carseat easily lifted out of the car so if you have a quick stop at a store and the baby is sleep, you just lift the whole carseat out, put it in a shopping cart and the baby continues to sleep. With the Clek, you won’t be lifting it in and out, so you have to wake the baby for every stop. Maybe the loading will get easier, we’ll see, but I can’t imagine it will get easier that that beautiful Orbit swivel.

    Has anyone had the Orbit G3 toddler seat tested? If that came back clean I would most likely go with that. Otherwise, assuming Clek comes back clean, it’s the Clek. It’s built like a tank.

    Reply
    1. Allyson

      I have the Clek Foonf and can’t seem to get it straight either. It still seems not to move a lot though. I had it checked at right start where I purchased and they said I installed it correctly, but then I had to take out and put in our nanny’s car, and when I put it back in, it is now super crooked and I’m not sure what I did differently. I can’t figure it out. I might have take it to the CHP. It is a tank though, and my tall son has a ton of foot room, which is awesome! Taking it on a plane next week!

      Reply
      1. Heavens123

        I was hoping for a carseat that I would be able to take on a carseat, but it’s not going to happen. I’ll have to get a harness. The Clek Foonf is much to heavy for me to wheel around so I’ll have to make other arrangements.

    2. Stephanie

      Did you get in touch with Clek about drift? Initially, I had the same thought as you, but then thought (when I saw that it was automotive fabric) that maybe it was completely bathed in FRs itself. I wrote to them to ask specifically about what kind of treatment, if any, was on drift vs crypton, but got no response. I also contacted crypton for more info – no response from them either :( If you have specific info that drift is free of chemicals, I will buy that in a heartbeat…so I hope so. (even though, part of me wonders, if the non-brominated FRs will eventually prove to be just as harmful in other ways…the way that BPA substitutes still suck)

      Reply
      1. Heavens123

        I do not have any specific info. All I have is that there are supposed to be no brominated or chlorinated FRs on the product as a whole. I only know that drift is free of Crypton. And I have no information that there is anything that speaks against Crypton; in fact, it is Greenguard certified, which is great. But I am a less is more kind of person. If something gets dirty, I like to scrub it and if I don’t fully understand what something is made of, I don’t want it. I don’t have time to research Crypton, but I’ll bet many have and could provide you with more information. And the Crypton adds a very big chunk to the cost. Finally, I have absolutely no reason be believe that Clek is anything but up-and-up regarding what they are and are not using. The seat is a tank and I feel my child is well protected in it. That being said, however, I avoid foam in my home like the plague and have for years (long before baby and I had done foam testing on furniture long before baby as well) and on the rare occasion that I have to buy it, I will never not test it now because sadly my faith has been shaken.

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        I personally think ALL FRs are harmful. For sure it will turn up that one of the alternatives to Tris and Brominated FRs will be just as harmful. The sad reality is that there isn’t an option for no FRs unless you replace the seat cover (which can’t be done on the Clek).

      3. Stephanie

        This totally stresses me out. I can’t get the orbit tight enough on him (I guess bc we don’t have the base? I read a review about how someone else couldn’t get it tight enough without swiveling it, and there is still slack in the seatbelt when i pull it as tight as it goes) which is obviously even more unacceptable than FRs since he would fly out in an accident…I think i’ll have to buy the foonf until he grows into orbit, and the orbit cover from nollie for that point…Argh. I HATE THIS.

    3. naturalbabymama Post author

      I highly doubt the Orbit G3 would come back any different than the other models. The only way it would is if the non Oeko Tek foam supplier didn’t use Tris – which would be ironic. I don’t trust them anymore.

      Glad to hear the Clek is a tank!! I hear you, the swivel on the Orbit is the best thing about the Orbit.

      Reply
    1. hisandherguide

      I ended up purchasing the nuna this week, so I too am curious to see if anyone has tested it yet. Has anyone tested or know about the chemicals in the peg perego? I’m second guessing my decision about the nuna now, and I’m driving myself nuts.

      Reply
      1. Kelsey

        I did email the Duke folks directly and left a vm. I doubt they can comment but I’m hoping they might be able to let me know if they have tested a Nuna and if it came back positive for any of the 7 they are testing.

        I’ll definitely post what I hear back.

        Maybe you could send in a sample of yours while we wait to hear if others have?

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        I haven’t seen anything about anyone testing the Nuna. If what they are telling us is true then it seems like a good option. Peg Perego is no better than any of the other big car seat companies.

        My realization about car seats is that there is no good option. They all contain FRs. Even if one is supposedly less toxic than the other. All foam is going to be treated. It’s really sad that there isn’t a safe and FR free option on the market.

  37. Kelsey

    Sorry– just left a similar comment above in reply to Heavens123, but not sure that will be shown to everyone. Naturalbabymama if I just saved the money on the Orbit and bought a standard car seat (Chicco Keyfit, Graco, Britax, Safety First, etc) and had Sassy Stork make a new cover with organic fabric and organic wool stuffing I’d be finding a safe option, or would you worry about the plastic frames and bases? Is one of those standard options better than another in your mind? The whole situation is frustrating!

    Thanks all (still haven’t heard back from Duke University about the Nuna. I did speak on the phone with a Nuna representative and emailed my request for them to either submit a Nuna car seat to Duke for testing, release some of their own third party results, or contact Duke themselves to see if they could learn about Duke results for their Pipa. Still waiting to hear back. In the meantime, this baby is getting ready to come so I’ve got to put an order in with Sassy Stork stat if we think that’s the ‘best’ option).

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      I wouldn’t be worried about the plastic frame and base containing harmful materials. The Chicco Keyfit tests low in terms of toxins that HealthyStuff tested for. They did test for all FRs and they do use a harmful FR but a car seat cover would fix that if you are comfortable going that route.

      Reply
  38. Leah

    Wow, this post and string of comments is incredible. Thank you so much to everyone who has been in so much time, thought, effort and money.

    We have the chicco keyfit 30 and britax marathon for our children – both awful, awful, awful. But after reading this, somehow, I feel better. Essentially there is no viable way around the FRs at this point, so I think minimal carseat use is optimal.

    Not to freak anyone out … but there is another reason I feel pretty defeated on the car seat front … Our cars themselves are full—FULL—of FRs aside from anything found in child car seats. From everything I understand, the dangerous chemicals easily become air born. So regardless of the toxicity of a car seat, the child(ren) will still be breathing in the dangerous air.

    It some ways, it is comforting knowing there is basically nothing we can do. Limit time in the car, don’t let you your baby be in the car seat otherwise (i.e. stroller time, etc), and just give them a very healthy diet full of raw plants, lots of water (to flush the system) and lots of time outside (sweating really helps release toxins).

    Still, I’d love a perfect car seat option. There just doesn’t seem to be one. And I am not willing to do a single thing to compromise the safety of a car seat, as car accidents are a top cause of child fatalities, although I respect the choice the change out the cover. I wish we could just ADD a cover and help things that way.

    I will continue to follow this thread. Again, thank you, thank you to everyone doing so much for this incredibly important issue! Well done, Naturalbabymama!

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Yes, the toxins in cars have been talked about before on this blog. It’s true but I personally feel better knowing that my son isn’t sitting directly on FRs since the skin is your biggest organ. You can add a cover from Sassy Stork to your existing car seat. Also, letting your car air out for a few minutes before getting in – especially on hot days – helps with the toxins.

      You are right, there is no perfect option right now and minimal car seat use is the best option. Hopefully one day that will change! Thanks for your nice comments about the blog!

      Reply
  39. Meli

    Hi there – So we have Orbit baby as well (infant and toddler car seat AND stroller…) and understand there are NO great options right now for car seats. However , to sum it up as of today… what are your recommendations for Car Seat and Jogging stroller? If we have the orbit car seats and the foams tested in the cover are the problem with the flame retardants, then wouldn’t ordering an organic cover solve the issue or at least help? I saw that you ordered yours from Nollie. Do you think that’s the next best option? Thanks for all your insight here!!!

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      For jogging stroller I like Mountain Buggy. It’s not as nice as the BOB but it’s not toxic. It’s like a Toyota and the BOB is a Lexus :) For car seats, I’ve been thinking that it literally might not matter, but if I had to choose I would do Nuna for an infant seat and Clek Foonf for the convertible.

      There is a divide on people that want to do car seat covers and people that don’t. That’s a decision for each person to make based on how they feel about the safety of the car seat. It voids the warranty on the car seat. With that being said I did change the cover from Nollie covers and I think that is the best option for my family. It’s totally toxin free. I will say that working with Nollie Covers is frustrating and she is much slower than she says she will be. However, she is the only one who makes replacement covers for Orbit that I know of. Even though it was a frustrating experience working with her I am happy that I have my cover. Good luck!

      Reply
  40. Michelle

    I emailed Clek to find out what they use and this is the reply I received:

    “Hi Michelle,

    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.

    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.

    Please keep in mind that, by law, all child safety seats must pass a smolder test as per FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and Regulations) so they will all have some form of fire retardant in them in order for them to pass this test and be deemed safe.

    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

    clek
    Customer Support Team
    866.656.2462″

    I want to believe that the folks at Healthy Stuff would not be leading us astray, but I find it strange that they say they “do not add any flame retardants to the foam” but then say that “they will all have some form of flame retardant in them to pass this test and be deemed safe” and at the same time make the claim that:

    Sounds like quite a contradiction.

    Reply
    1. Heavens123

      The part that sounds strange to me is that they say they don’t have any more information at this time, yet they are still able to claim what isn’t in their carseats.

      Reply
      1. Michelle

        Here is the last response I received from Clek:

        “Jean-Sébastien Côté (Clek Inc)

        Aug 20 09:41 AM

        Hi Michelle,

        I’m sorry if my response was slightly confusing. What I meant is that since the EPP foam in the seat already comes with its own anti-flammability properties, we do not add any ADDITIONAL flame retardants to it, nor do we add any retardants to the fabric of the seat.

        I hope that helps clarify things, but please let me know if you have any further questions!

        Kind Regards,

        Jean-Sébastien Côté

        clek
        Customer Support Team
        866.656.2462″

        Here’s a link to a presentation by Jeff Gearhart of The Ecology Center, where he gives info on the Clek on p.15. I don’t know what the threshold is for being able to state that something is “free” of a certain chemical but apparently it is not 0, or Clek wouldn’t be able to make those claims.

        http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/Track1-Gearhart-Using_Chemicals_Policy_to_Drive_Green_Chemistry_438996_7.pdf

        I think some other posters have already raised the question, but if they are not using a significant amount of chlorine or bromine, why aren’t they upfront about what flame retardant is being used in the foam.

        Sigh…I was all set to get a Clek but really don’t like the evasiveness, and I’m not too keen on nano fabrics either. As coincidence would have it, a friend of my husbands offered a 2 year old orbit toddler seat to us yesterday and after much deliberation, I think I might just accept and buy the nollie cover, although it costs almost as much as the seat! and more than most other car seats!

      2. Stephanie

        @Michelle the clek “drift” fabric is NOT crypton – though I have yet to get an answer from them about whether it’s treated with FRs. I am calling tomorrow since they haven’t emailed a response yet. If it’s not treated with FRs we will probably go with that for the convertible, and the leather for the booster. I was almost all set on going the Nollie covers route but I’m slightly nervous like Heavens123 about using compressible materials for padding. on the one hand I think it’s probably not going to make much difference…on the other hand, the ultimate purpose of the seat is protection in an accident and I don’t want to risk it…I’m still torn. I think I’m set on the leather clek booster for my older (using the sale of the orbit to fund part of it) and then the fllo in drift for the younger…if they come back and say drift isn’t treated with FRs at any point in manufacturing. I’ll update with their answer.

  41. Michelle

    Sorry I meant to edit to read:

    I want to believe that the folks at Healthy Stuff would not be leading us astray, but I find it strange that they say they “do not add any flame retardants to the foam” but then say that “they will all have some form of flame retardant in them to pass this test and be deemed safe”

    Sounds like quite a contradiction.

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Clek may not be adding flame retardants to the foam but it may be the foam manufacturer that is adding it. Like they said, all seats must pass a smolder test and if they are using foam it has to be treated with something. It’s just that they aren’t adding anything more to it. I can’t wait until Healthy Stuff publishes the results on Clek. I do think it’s good the most harmful FRs aren’t in the car seat though.

      Reply
    1. Stephanie

      I called Clek and they said they’ll get back to me re: tanning/leather. They could not offer assurance re the drift fabric being free of FRs but I sent a follow-up to ask more.

      Question: I know silver nano fabrics are an environmental concern. What is the concern with using them in a car seat beyond that…is there a concern about the particles detaching from the fabric and getting into the skin?

      Reply

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