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. 

 

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.

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

  1. Janine

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

    Reply
  2. Laurie G.

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

    Reply
      1. Laurie G

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

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

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

      Reply
  3. meagan

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

    Reply
  4. meagan

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

    Hi Meagan,

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

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

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

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

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

      I’ll keep you posted if they email me!

      Reply
    2. naturalbabymama Post author

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

      Reply
      1. meagan

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

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

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

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

      3. Laurie G.

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

  5. Heavens123

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

    Reply
  6. Lori

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

    Thanks, lori

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Hi Lori,

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

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

      Reply
    2. naturalbabymama Post author

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

      Reply
  7. olga

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

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

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

      Reply
    2. Laurie G

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

      Reply
  8. Heavens123

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

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

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

      Reply
  9. Lori

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

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

    Reply
    1. Heavens123

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

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

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

      Reply
      1. Lori

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

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

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

      3. naturalbabymama Post author

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

  10. Lori

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

    Reply
  11. olga

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

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

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

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

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

      Reply
      1. Laurie G

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

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

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

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

      3. olga

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

  12. meagan

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

    Reply
    1. Lori

      Hi Meagan,

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

      Reply
      1. meagan

        Hi Lori,

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

  13. Sarah

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

    Reply
    1. Janice

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

      Reply
      1. Heavens123

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

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

      2. Sarah

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

      3. Janice

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

  14. naturalbabymama Post author

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

    Reply
  15. Laurie G

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

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

    Reply
    1. Sarah

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

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

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

      Reply
  16. Laurie G

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

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

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

      Reply
  17. Carol

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

    Reply
    1. naturalbabymama Post author

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

      Reply
      1. Carol

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

      2. C. Bennett

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

      3. Lori

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

  18. Heavens123

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

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

    Reply
    1. Laurie G.

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

      Reply
      1. Heavens123

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

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

        That’s a whole other story.

      2. olga

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

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

      3. Heavens123

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

      4. naturalbabymama Post author

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

    2. olga

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

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

      Reply
      1. olga

        Sorry, posted in the wrong place. This was for “Heavens123 on April 11, 2014 at 8:50 pm”

    3. naturalbabymama Post author

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

      Reply
    1. Laurie G

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

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

      Reply
      1. naturalbabymama Post author

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

    2. naturalbabymama Post author

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

      Reply
  19. Heavens123

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

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

    Reply
    1. Laurie G

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

      Reply
    2. naturalbabymama Post author

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

      Reply
    1. Laurie G

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

      Reply
  20. Heavens123

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

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

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

    Reply
  21. Heavens123

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

    Reply

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