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.

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

  1. Christine

    My little guy is only six months old but tall and growing fast. Any update on the Duke results for the Clek? Is it still the best option even if it tested for TDCPP? I guess the Radian or Foonf are least problematic?

    1. Abigail

      I also have a six-month-old who has a month or two tops left in his (highly toxic, I now realize) infant car seat. I think I am down to the Radian or the Foonf as well, though my head is spinning and quite frankly, I don’t know what to believe at this point. Does anyone have any new information about either of these seats? Suggestions/opinions for which one would be better? Or something else?

      1. naturalbabymama Post author

        No new info. I know someone who just bought the Radian, not sure of color, but said it smelled horribly when they opened the box. Like really, really bad. I don’t trust Diono as a company and personally wouldn’t choose them unless I was getting an organic cover made. If you are down to those two, and don’t want to do a cover, then I would go with the Foonf (even though that tested for Tris by one of my readers). More testing should be out soon I hope! I had a huge 6 month old too and he ended up making it about a year in his infant seat, which I hated because of the toxicity but I couldn’t make a decision either… and my decision turned out not to be a good one because of lies from Orbit.

    2. naturalbabymama Post author

      There haven’t been any updates which I’m surprised about. I did email with them towards the end of last year and they said after the new year. It’s so hard to say what is the best option. I don’t like Radian unless you are getting an organic cover. I would love to know the ppm of Tris that was found in Foonf.

    3. Karen

      Got my results on my Clek Foonf back from Duke today! They didn’t detect a significant presence (>1% by weight) of the 7 flame retardants for which they test.

      1. Christa

        Thanks for the update! Do you mind letting us know what year and even maybe what color you got? I know sometimes those factors can make a difference. Thanks! =)

      2. Karen

        It is a 2014 lime green (I think it is called Dragonfly), which has the crypton fabric (or whatever it is called). As you may know, 2014 is the year that HealthyStuff.org had previously stated was free from harmful flame retardants.

      3. jess

        Karen, you wrote…”As you may know, 2014 is the year that HealthyStuff.org had previously stated was free from harmful flame retardants.”

        Can you post in that link? I haven’t seen that before. Thanks!

      4. Heavens123

        The Clek press release has been altered on their website. It used to state that all 2014 Clek Foonf carseats are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants. It now specifies that only the Crypton fabrics are. The text has changed…but not the date of the press release.

        My 2014 Clek Foonf tested positive for TDCPP and TBPP. I sent three different samples at two different times and they all came back the same.

      5. Karen

        What colour is yours?

        HealthyStuff told me that they were going to look into the Foonf further as a result of reports of positive tests, btw.

      6. Laurie G

        Is your Foonf one that doesn’t have the crypton fabric, then? I wonder why the non-crypton fabric ones would have flame retardants, if the only difference is the fabric…

      7. Stephanie

        Heavens123 – what did Clek say when you told them??? I’m so upset about this. I have a 2014 oobr and a 2015 fllo – i haven’t had either tested, i’m just too angry and angsty about the whole thing.

      8. Karen

        I received the following response when I emailed them about reports of positive results:

        “I have passed your note on to our engineering team and they will investigate this matter further.

        We had all of the new components in the Foonf tested by the Ecology Centre in Michigan who confirmed that these components are free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants (including the chemical compound that you alluded to). It is quite possible that either an old cover with the previous foam backing or the non-Crypton fabric (Drift) was tested. But that is only speculation as we are not have access to the test information you are alluding to, but will certainly look into it further.

        Can you take a picture of the inside and top side of your fabrics and send to us? We made a switch in 2014 to the foam stitched to the backside of the fabrics. This alternative foam was tested, along with all of the individual components in the seat, by the Ecology Centre in Michigan and were found to be free of these chemicals.

        With respect to the fabrics, it is our line of Crypton fabrics which are free-from brominated and chlorinated flame retardants (all colours excluding the Drift model). In 2015, we will be making a change to our Drift fabric fabric as well, which will then ensure that ALL models, including Ozzi and Olli, are completely free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants.

        Please let us know if you have any further questions!”

      9. Michelle

        The crypton fabrics contain nano-particles, I don’t have a clue as to whether or not this makes them flame resistant, but it does make them antimicrobial, so who knows what other properties these fabrics have that allow them to meet the flame resistance standards. It does make me wonder though, if the fabric is treated with flame retardants, and flame retardants are inherently mobile, then can we presume that they if they are in the fabric, they could adhere to the foam as a byproduct of the fabric? I am aware that plastics can absorb toxic chemicals, here’s an interesting link if you want to read more about it….http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/01/plastics-and-chemicals-they-absorb-pose-double-threat-marine-life

  2. Laurie G.

    I’m trying to find out more about the Nuna Mixx stroller. I’ve tried submitting the contact us form on the website (it produces an error message), and have tried e-mailing them, as directed, at info@nuna.eu. It’s been several weeks and I’ve heard nothing. Does anyone have a phone number for them? I’ve looked and looked, to no avail.

    1. sk

      I’ve reached out to Nuna as well to learn about the Ivvi and Pepp strollers and Zaaz highchair. They replied but the answer was very generic. I emailed them at infoUSA@nuna.eu AND posted on their faceThis is their response:

      :::As you may know, chemical standards are changing all the time. Nuna meets all the standards listed within our certifiably green statement on our web site (nuna.eu / this is nuna / certifiably green). I know this may not answer all your questions directly, but that is all the information we have at the present time.:::

      I decided to go with the Mountain Buggy. Love it and they always answer questions!

      1. Laurie G

        Thank you! After sending three more emails to Nuna through various channels, I received a reply today. Here is what they said:

        “We follow the European REACH Standard, the European EN71 Standard, the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), and Oeko-Tex certification requirements to ensure the highest quality and safety in our products. These standards were implemented to improve product quality, product safety and are very specific in regards to absence and limitations of potentially harmful substances in products. Please visit their web sites for more information.

        To answer your specific question regarding flame retardants, we DO NOT apply any flame retardant treatments to our products with the exception of the foam in the Pipa Car Seat to meet Federal Law FMVSS 302.

        In addition we follow the CPSIA strict requirements related to restricted or banned substances in children’s products including: Lead in surface coatings, Lead in substrates, Cadmium, Phthalates, Formaldehyde and other potentially harmful substances.”

        It was comforting to hear this information, although they didn’t indicate what the flame retardant was for the Pipa. Perhaps someone’s already found that out?

        They also answered several specific questions I had, about the size of the stroller when folded and when the snack tray will be available.

        So, they did respond, but it took them a while.

        Mountain Buggy responded immediately, and the people were wonderful. Unfortunately, the stroller that meets the requirements I have, the cosmopolitan, doesn’t have an extendable handle. I’m 6 feet and my husband is 6’2″, so that’s a dealbreaker for us. It’s a shame, because I would’ve loved to have gone with their stroller.

  3. Alison

    FYI- I emailed orbit regarding there stroller seat to find out if they contained flame retardants, there reply was “Thank you for contacting us. No our Stroller Seats does not contain any flame retardants.”

    Note the stroller seat and car seat are two separate pieces of gear.

  4. Dori

    I’m so grateful for this thread and for all the research and care all you moms are doing! What an incredible resource!
    two questions:

    1. Does anyone happen to know if FR eventually off-gas and if so, how long that might take? We have the possibility of receiving a hand me down UppaBaby stroller from 2010 and my hope was that it would be off gassed by now. I was also thinking of getting a sheepskin insert for inside for extra protection. Thoughts?

    2. After reading this whole article and ALL the amazing comments, I am wishing for a summary, so I wondered if it would be this:

    INFANT CAR SEAT: buy a less expensive one like the graco or chicco and get a custom organic cotton or natural latex fabric seat made from Sassy Stork (or someone else).

    -Nuna Pipa seems like a possibility, but from the last post, it does seem like they use FR in the foam?
    -Mountain Buggy (a used one with no foam? or do the new ones also not have FR? any particular model???

    I’m still unclear about:
    -Phil and Ted’s?
    – Honest Co (do they make an infant car seat?)

    Thanks so much!

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      1. They don’t offgas. They might not smell but they will always be there. The more the seat and foam break down over time the more gets into the air.

      2. I still think Nuna is a good option for the infant seat. I personally am ok with getting a car seat cover. A lot of people aren’t. With that being said, that is the route I would go. Have Sassy Stork make a organic car seat cover to go over a Chicco or a Nuna. In my original blog post I mention Nollie Covers, my experience wasn’t so great and I’ve heard others experience similar things. Sassy Stork is currently taking a leave but will be back shortly if you have time to wait.

      I honestly don’t believe any company that says that they don’t use FRs. It’s been said and proven otherwise. I wouldn’t believe Phil & Ted’s until someone tests it. There is no way around using foam in a car seat and not using FRs.

      Strollers: stay away from foam and it will make it a lot easier. My Mountain Buggy is older and has no foam.

    2. Laurie G

      FRs don’t offgas. Small particles end up binding with dust, and we usually end up absorbing them that way. To my understanding, FRs can be present at unsafe levels for a very long time.

      There are several companies who don’t add FRs to strollers, but you may need to check to ensure any foam used wasn’t pre-treated. Here are a few:
      Phil & Ted’s
      Mountain Buggy
      Baby Jogger (only those made in 2014 and later, but they will replace the cover for older models if you have one)
      Honest Company
      Mamas & Papas (I enquires about one, but you may need to make sure)

      There are others. Worth calling companies to make sure. Good luck!

      1. chris c

        Based on the Honest Co marketing model I amanita inclined to get anything there. I mean, subscription fees are just a measure of greed as far as I am concerned.

        I went through recommendations regarding Orbit, Britax, and Clek. Frankly, they seem about the same, less chemicals, but still there. Only Orbit has a system that permits you to leave the bas in the car and transfer the seat to a stroller, which neither Clek nor Britax make. I contacted Clek about the fact that they have no infant model, and they said they were releasing a conversion kit for the 2015 Foonf within a few weeks, but we’ll see. Britain was asked about chemicals and they just didn’t answer yet. Of course, their website didn’t claim they didn’t use chemicals anyhow. I’m not concerned about making a new seat cover as I took apart my Graco swing in order to replace all the fabric and foam with my own custom work. It certainly looks custom. Haha. But I wouldn’t take on a car seat yet. Its testing my skill just to make the cloth diapers. But this is truly a giant pain in the ass. I made my own organic wool bassinet mattress, but what the hell are these flame retardants for? My infant shall not be smoking in the back seat and sitting in the seat while the car burns won’t save you. So….what’s the point?

      2. Laurie G

        I’m a big fan of the Honest Company. Not only are their products ones that I trust and feel good about having as an option, but we’ve had an exceptional experience with their diaper and wipes packages. I felt slightly annoyed at the fact that it was only available by subscription, although that is no longer true: you can get their products at Target now. However, they have been wonderful to work with. I cloth diaper half of the time, and so I often don’t need as many diapers as they would be sending. When I call, they’re more than willing to put my diaper and wipes packages on hold. I’ve had trouble trying to figure out sizing, and they’ve been wonderful about letting me send diapers back at their cost and send me new ones, again at their cost. They sent me out trial packages of diaper sizes to try (at their cost), and they even negotiated a deal recently so I can send back a ton of wipes packages, because I just don’t use as many as they send. They’re crediting me for the wipes, and allowing me use it towards future bundles.

        They’ve been incredibly generous and the customer service has been exemplary. My diaper and wipes bundles often include little bonuses, like an lipstick on Mother’s Day, and a free organic cookie dough package for the holidays. I’m really impressed with them, and their product has been wonderful. My son actually gets more rashes from my cloth diapers then he ever does from their diapers.

  5. cl9797

    Does Duke give levels of chlorine or bromine parts per million? Here is a study done that shows that 2014 Clek Foonf has 9 parts per million of Chlorine, so technically it has some but far less than 2012 Foonf which had 99,151 parts per million! The Bromine hasn’t been reduced much from 73 to 69, but regardless Clek needs to explain why there Chlorine and Bromine are being found when they advertise that neither is used. However, they may still be the lesser of all the other evils. Britax also seems to have greatly reduced their Bromine and Chlorine well with less Bromine than Clek!

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      They don’t show parts per million. It’s just if it has any or not. The issue also is that just because Bromine and Chlorine aren’t being used, something else is. Is what they are using going to be the next most harmful FRs like Bromine and Chlorine are now?

  6. Christine

    I was able to get permission to send in one sample to Duke this month. I’ll try to send the foam from my 2014 Nuna Pipa. Should I also send in the Pipa Styrofoam? As far as I can tell those are the only two foams in it.
    I also wanted to send in samples from the 2015 Clek Fllo I am getting but will have to wait until next month because it seems submissions are closed. Fllo is suposed to be the same seat as Foonf with a few small differences. I’ll keep you updated.

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      I don’t think that they can test the Styrofoam very well (and my understanding is that Styrofoam doesn’t need to be treated since it isn’t super flammable). I did send in some Styrofoam along with the PU foam in my Orbit. The PU foam had Tris the Styrofoam didn’t show anything. Keep us posted on your results. Another poster just commented that a store in San Francisco sent in foam from the Pipa and it came back not showing any of the 7 most common FRs which is good!

      1. Christine

        I have enjoyed using the Nuna Pipa and highly recommend it. It did not smell bad when we took it out of the box. The install was easy.The car seat safety techs that evaluated install were really excited about its safety features (like almost giddy!). And it is an attractive and relatively light seat. After 6 months of use the cloth at the bottom edge is getting a little worn so small bits of the foam padding can be seen. But that isn’t really a problem, and I’ll gladly use Pipa again if I have another baby. I wish Nuna made a convertible seat, but they said they don’t have plans to. We also like our Nuna Leaf swing seat a lot.

  7. jess

    Hi, I’m a little confused. I read through your post and all the updates and 90% of the comments, but then I read another site http://www.nontoxicmunchkin.com/2014/02/chemical-conscious-parents-update-on.html – and here the author is recommending Orbit, Diono Radian, and the Clek Foonf — with descriptions of each that sound pretty good to me toxicity-wise. But am I correct in saying you have had readers send samples from these off and still found them to have the worst FR? Just looking for a little clarification. I’m not sure I can afford any of these, frankly. But, if I do end up able to purchase one, I’d want it to be worth the $$$ and not have a bunch of FR and other chemicals in it. Are the Duke testing results posted somewhere? Is HealthyStuff.Org going to test more? 2011 is a long time ago now! Thanks so much for the post, the blog, the advice.

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Hi, yes it is so confusing! I didn’t read the other blog post but the only thing I can guess is that blogger is basing that info off of what the companies told them. Orbit most defintiley has Tris in it’s foam. There have been numerous tests done on Orbit seats from Duke and they have all come up positive. I haven’t seen one person say that their Orbit didn’t have any Tris (doesn’t mean that isn’t the case but in everything I’ve followed I haven’t seen it). Diono is the same. They claimed no FRs but use a polyurethane foam. There is no way around using that foam and passing flammability requirements. Diono also tested positive for Tris from multiple car seats from Duke. Clek is the one outlier. There were a couple of people that have had positive test from Duke that it contained Tris. Healthystuff is re-testing but it’s taking a long, long time for whatever reason.

      Duke does not post their results. I asked them if they would be open to doing that and they said no. The main reason is that they don’t have specific product information so it may be foam from a couch from Crate & Barrel that tests positive for FRs and another couch might not. I just made that up so you get the idea of what they mean.

      Healthystuff is testing more and said it would be out after the new year. As of now, there has been no new updates from them sadly.

      I personally wouldn’t buy Orbit or Diono. I am curious to see what comes of Clek.

      Do you need an infant seat? If so look at Nuna. If you need a convertible / toddler seat there really isn’t one that seems to be better in terms of toxicity at this point.

      1. jess

        Thank you so much for the detailed explanation. I bought the Britax Be Safe/Be Agile system before I knew about all the toxic chemicals… Twas a naive pregnancy, quickly followed by a rude awakening. We ended up deciding to keep the system because it was a gift and we’d already used it. But, I vowed that I’d find the perfect convertible. Siiiigh. I don’t have $1000 to spend on 2 carseats (we need 1 for each car), so the Nuna and (probably Clek) was out anyway. But I was considering Diono because they were more affordable, but I don’t see any eco-friendly/non-toxic info on their site, and you are saying they came back as having tris. On the HealthyStuff 2011 results, they show the Graco MyRide 65 in colors Chandler and Streamer as being least toxic, and that carseat did pretty well in safety ratings as well. So I was leaning that way only THEY DON’T MAKE THOSE COLORS ANYMORE. What do you think I should do? DD is at the top of her infant carrier height, so I need to buy something asap. I’m just so frustrated I want to cry. Why do we need to be deceived like this? p.s. I think this will continue to be a hot topic, so I bet a new post with the current info would be appreciated by a lot of fans. I found your list of things I wish I’d registered for AFTER baby was born, of course, and have gone back to it many a time. I’ll be a regular follower now. THANK YOU.

      2. ellepenguin

        So if it’s just the foam of the Diono that is testing positive for FR and not the fabric, couldn’t one just replace the foam with latex foam? (Say from a place like foamorder.com which does custom cuts)

      3. naturalbabymama Post author

        Some fabric could be treated. Duke is only testing foam and not fabric. It depends on the materials in the fabric, if naturally flame resistant then it wouldn’t need to be treated.

      4. Karen

        I think Diono claims that two of the Radian’s colours (Rugby and Storm?) are inherently flame resistant. But, that is taking the company at its word due to the inability to have it tested by Duke.

      5. naturalbabymama Post author

        They are not, yes they claimed that awhile back but they have FRs. It has shown up in Duke testing multiple times. There is no way to use foam and not use FRs.

      6. jess

        Hi…I’m still indecisive!!! I really wanted to take a look at the 2011 report myself, but I can’t find it anymore now that Healthystuff.org has redone their website. I spent a good hour trying to find it…to no avail. Any tips?

  8. Erin A

    I’m sad, I think I messed up. I got a new britax boulevard clicktight…I was impressed that right out of the box it did not have a chemical smell like the diono radian rxt (shadow) did. BUT being the concerned parent I am about toxicity, I washed the cover. Then it had a chemical smell!! So I washed it more. And soaked it in diluted vingegar. Then washed it a few more times. Smell still there quite noticeably when you get your nose close to it. I am really concerned that by washing it (manufacturers says cover is ok to hand wash) I broke down the foam more or something which I have read increases the amount of off gassing or whatever. (I read that some crib mattresses release more when they are older because of the foam breaking down) Any advice or anything?? I feel bad like I should have just left it alone, I’m using this for my newborn for crying out loud, I don’t want her breathing crap in.

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      The chemicals are there either way but now that you can smell it is probably has broken down the foam by washing it. I washed my orbit cover too. At this point there isn’t anything you can do except get a car seat cover.

  9. Jennifer Yannarelli

    does anyone know about the **mountain buggy protect or **phil and teds alpha for flame retardents and toxins as far as car seats go since they say their strollers have no flame retardants?

  10. jess

    Jess here again. Well, my babe is almost 16 months. I guess I have to bite the bullet and decide on a convertible car seat. A couple questions:

    1) It seems like Clek is the best option, since there was only one Duke negative test by a consumer, (is that assumption correct?) I saw a previous comment say that 2014 Cleks are free from harmful flame retardants? Can anyone point me toward that source? I can’t find it on the Healthystuff.org website.

    2) I called healthystuff.org and asked for the 2011 car seat study (it’s no longer available online) and when they would be releasing the 2015 study. I was told I’d be emailed this information. This was Monday. It’s Thursday. I also emailed. Silence.

    3) So, as of January 1 and the TB-117-2013 law update, car seats are no longer required by law to have flame retardants in them https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/tb-117-2013-what-does-t-mean/ IS ANY CAR SEAT COMPANY JUMPING ON THIS? Do we know?

    4) I got reamed by a car seat technician’s forum when I asked for advice in finding FR-free car seats. They called the healthystuff.org study “pseudo science,” “fearmongering” and very flawed. They cited the carseatlady’s (a pediatrician’s) blog posting on it. https://thecarseatlady.wordpress.com/2011/08/04/chemicals/ I do think that post brings up valid points, and now that I can’t seem to get healthystuff.org to respond to me and they haven’t responded to the reasoning behind the variance in the testing… I have to admit, I’m questioning whether we could be on a wild goose chase for nothing. One of the biggest questions is why didn’t healthystuff test chlorinated FR? I’m wondering what do we really know about healthystuff? The Duke findings seem airtight…it’s a university, but even there we’re relying on 3rd parties to report back on their findings. Have you (or anyone here) read the carseatlady posting? Do you have a response to it or any further information on healthystuff???

    Thank you so much!
    Down with FR!

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      Healthy Stuff is limited by what they can test for by the machine that they have. I disagree with the car seat lady in what she says about FRs. All car seats have to meet federal safety standards. I’m not diminishing car crashes but FRs are a given factor that our kids are exposed too. We can’t track what illness these FRs are going to cause 10, 20, 30 years down the line. The bottom line is that they aren’t good and there are alternatives that could be used. Babies bodies are so small and they are absorbing more of these chemicals. Yes they are in our cars and beds and couches unless you make changes. When there are alternatives available it make sense to use natural resources like wool and cotton vs chemicals.

      Yes, car seats are not required to have FRs but they are required to meet flammability requirements. Car seat companies are choosing to meet those flammability requirements by using FRs – the cheapest and most effective way for them to meet those requirements.

  11. Amy

    Regarding the diono, I was at a baby show and ask the diono rep about flame retardants an. He straight up said that they use them. He thought thy were a good thing and it’s very possible he was just a bad rep.

  12. Sabina

    I’m looking for an umbrella stroller and I’m lost in all the contradicting info. I would buy something with a mesh but everything I’ve found doesn’t have reclining options And we’re buying this because at this point our baby falls asleep only in the stroller. Does anyone have any recommendations?

    1. Laurie G

      I don’t know about the foam, if it does have any, but Baby Jogger strollers made after 2014 don’t have any FRs. Their Vue Lite umbrella stroller is probably exactly what you’re looking for. It does have a great recline, and it is also reversible, so you can face the baby towards you.

  13. Karen

    Thought I would also say that, after giving this issue a lot of thought before buying a new car seat, I started to wonder how much of a difference the choice of seat makes in light of the fact that the vehicle’s seats are likely highly treated. I know our little ones aren’t sitting on them directly and the vehicle seat foam is not as exposed as a car seat’s foam, but it still made me wonder… I’m more concerns about exposure within the home. Thankfully, there are no more options for non-treated household furniture due to recent changes to Califoria law, so I feel like I’m as good a job as possible in terms of limiting exposure.

    1. Karen

      Sorry – sloppy mobile typing. Meant to say there are “now more” options re upholstered home furniture!

  14. Jennifer

    We some with Phil and teds according to them their r no flame retardants at all in the mountsin buggy protect and Phil and teds alpha. There is only polyurethane foam in the infant insert which under new guidelines does not need to have flame retardants. I hear a lot about the nuna but why is no one considering these seats? Has anyone tested the foams ? Thank you !!! I bought the nuna but there are 4 huge stickers all over the head rest and don’t love that? Does anyone know what these stickers are made of ?

  15. amanda

    Hi! There is a lot here! I was wondering if you had an official word on Orbit since 2014 or any new findings? Is Clek still your infant carrier of choice?

  16. Lynda

    Okay so baby is almost here so I guess I will send in my sample, how long does it take? I have the Phil & Teds, is the only thing I can test is the newborn insert, Since the rest is just fabric and the styrofoam stuff?

  17. Dori

    We got the Nuna Pipa and stroller after hearing from 2 different sources that they tested neg for FR and reading A LOT of different reviews on other seats and strollers- we’re really happy with both!

    1. alisona

      I just got back my duke results for the mountain buggy protect carseat. I sent in three samples (infant insert, light foam from liner, dark foam from liner). All samples were “none identified” for the seven tested flame retardants.

  18. Lynda

    Duke opened up testing again. I’m sending in foam from my phil & teds car seat, latex mattress, and “organic” couches. I bought a phil & teds stroller, if there’s no foam how would I test it?

  19. Anna

    Thank you so much for this blog! There is so much confusing information out there. After reading all the comments, it seems like the Nuna Pipa would be the best choice for an infant carrier and the Clek for a toddler convertible car seat. Am I correct on this? Any other recommendations for less pricey carriers/car seats that are still safe? Also, its seems that both Nuna and Clek are free of bromine and chlorine flame retardant chemicals, but what chemicals were these two replaced with to meet the flammability standards? I also have the Uppa Baby G-lite stroller which does not have any foam. Does anyone know if it has flame retardants in the fabric? Thanks so much!

  20. Lynda

    So, I was in the process of submitting my sample to duke for my phil & teds car seat. I could not find any foam in it at all. Even the newborn insert was just polyester fill, but it was supposed to be poly foam… Baffling.

    1. alisona

      So interesting. When did you buy the phil and teds seat… I wonder if they changed it after many inquiries and disappointed/angry consumers.

  21. Karen

    Summer Infant told me that none of their strollers contain flame retardant chemicals. Anyone have any insight into whether this sounds right? Thanks!

  22. Delila

    I just wanted to share that I just got my results from Duke on my 2014 Clek Foonf and none of the 7 flame retardants that they test for were identified in the foam.

    1. Sarah

      We have one, but we got it in summer 2013 after extensive conversations with various employees (including their “Chief Safety Officer”) assuring us that no chemical flame retardants were used on the foam or the fabric if we chose storm or rugby. We had ours tested by Duke about a year ago and it did come back with one of the mainstream, horrible FR chemicals (it wasn’t TDCPP/tris but it was something very similar). I am STILL going back and forth with Diono about it. That said, we love the seat – it feels very safe and secure, is very narrow/low profile overall but surprisingly roomy for our still rear-facing, now average-large 2.5 year old daughter. So many other seats seem like big buckets, and this is much more of a regular “seat” which to me looks really comfortable and she always seems happy in it. Considering there do not seem to be any perfect options out there, we have been very pleased with it. I decided my level of stress about it wasn’t healthy either, and that I am minimizing/eliminating her exposure to FRs in as many places as I can. I BUT I am still annoyed and frustrated at the misinformation I was given, because the lack of chemical FRs was largely why we chose the seat. We are now expecting #2 and I just hope by the time I need to get a new seat for that little one, there will be truly better, healthier, safer options on the market.

      1. amy

        Was your model in the storm or rugby color?

        I just spent 2 hours in buy buy baby and bought the 2015 radian RXT in the shadow color, which I now think is wrong. It was on super clearance since it was a floor model for $135. Do you guys think since it was a floor model its been aired out enough from the FR’s? Now I feel even Diono’s claim about the storm and rugby colors being FR free, I can’t truly trust. I called Clek and they said that only their fabrics are FR free and proprietorially can’t divulge about being FR free for the rest of the car seat. It feels like there is nothing that is actually FR free and its all a crap shoot.

  23. Christine

    Thank you for news on the Clek- that’s great news!
    We are still really happy with our Nuna Pipa too. It is a great seat, and the car seat tech loved both the Clek Fllo for their safety features and ease of installation.
    Thank you again for this website- it has been very helpful.

    1. JESS

      So, they only tested 15 car seats and the Foonf wasn’t tested in the same way as the others. They have this note: “NOTE: Due to timing issues, the Clek Foonf was not included in the main sample set and was instead tested separately. The testing laboratory was only capable of testing for a more limited set of flame retardants. Clek states that organo-phosphate flame retardants are used in their PU Foam.”

  24. JESS

    Also, for anyone debating a Clek, it obstructs my view rearfacing. We’re going to return it. But, it looks like everything has FR of some sort, still. Britax (amazingly) is at the top of the list of better ones.

    1. Laurie G

      In reply to the person who said the Clek interferes with her rear vision, I suppose it depends on your car. We have a Subaru Legacy wagon, and the Clek Foonf doesn’t impair my vision at all. It’s below the level of the seat, and doesn’t even impair my vision looking sideways. It’s a great seat!

  25. jiji86

    I recently sold my uppa baby vista due to FR, and purchased a Mountain Buggy plus one stroller (I have been reassured 10x they don’t use FR, not sure what else to do to check). I am using a hand me down Chicco Keyfit 30 which I see in the new car seat report came out as a “medium” risk. I want to get a new car seat since I have to give the Chicco back. I saw someone said they sent their Mountain Buggy car seat in for testing to Duke and it came back with no FR. Does that mean I can go ahead and buy that car seat without worry? I have to watch the amount of research I do because I drive myself (and my family) nuts! Just want what’s best for my baby without it controlling my life. I have a Britax Marathon convertible for when she gets older, which is still in the box so I can return if needed to Babies R Us. Any help is great

  26. jiji86

    Need a little help/advice here! I am mom of a 6 month old baby girl and didn’t stumble onto all of this until AFTER I recieved all of my baby registry products and she was a few months old😦 Anyway, I have to watch what I research so it doesn’t control my life and freak me out majorly 😔 I was able to sell my Uppa Baby Vista that still was manufactured with flame retardants and purchased a Mountain Buggy plus one (havent recieved it yet). My baby is in a Chicco Keyfit 30 which I saw came back in the new report with medium risk (not happy, but thankful it’s not “high”). Since I’m borrowing the seat I’m going to give it back, and get a new car seat. I saw that someone has their Mountain Buggy Car Seat tested by Duke and it came back with no detection. Does that mean I can go ahead and order their car seat withoit worry? I have a 25% coupon to mountain buggy and it’s also compatible with stroller (they have limited car seat compatibility). I have a Marathon Britax from my registry that hasn’t been opened for when she is bigger, I saw that came back with “low” concern, but I’m not sure mine is the same color. Should I return for the exact car seat tested? Or something totally different?
    A little help would be great!
    Nervous Mama 😁

  27. Pingback: The Free Baby » Get a great deal on a non-toxic car seat!!

  28. Kandy

    I’m looking to purchase the safest infant carrier option for my baby due in December. According to healthy stuff. Org the britax came out leading brand for less chemicals used. I called to ask which models are safe (after what date) and she told me January 2013 or after. Does anyone have any different information regarding this? Thank you!

  29. Christina

    Hi! I am curious to know if you know what car seats out there that does not use any flames retardants? We currently have the orbit g2 aswell as the diono radian txt in Storm colour!
    Thanks in advance x

    1. naturalbabymama Post author

      None, they all still use it if there is foam. Brittax tested the best. Orbit has lied and uses the worst FRs, same with Diono including Storm & Rugby. Phil & Teds is claiming no FR but I don’t trust it until someone tests it.

      1. Lynda

        I have a Phil & Teds. I was going to send in the foam for testing but when I went to retrieve it there was no foam, just the Styrofoam stuff which I thought didn’t contain FR and couldn’t be tested anyway. When I cut open the fabric it was just polyester.

  30. Akami

    I bought Diono Radian in 2012 based on their info that it does not have any FR. After the news came out that it did in fact have them, I have been wanting to change the cover. BUT, I still have so many things to replace (my bed, mattress, couch) that I feel that maybe the money is better spent elsewhere. However, I can’t buy the bed, couch and mattress at this moment (unfortunately), but I can buy the cover since it’s not as big of an expense, but I still wonder if the money is spent wisely. Yes, it does bother me that it has FR, but doesn’t the whole car? Does making the car seat FR free make a difference since she is sitting in it directly? Isn’t it the dust that is the problem, not necessarily touching car seat (since it’s in the foam anyway)? I am sure the seat in the car is not any better and wouldn’t that pollute the air in the car anyway, so changing the car seat alone will be like removing a drop from the ocean? Plus she doesn’t spend more than an hour a day in the car anyway. I am struggling with it because I know we can afford to change the cover, but at the same time I could spend that money elsewhere. The couch, mattress, and bed are huge expenses (wish i could find a more affordable FR free couch!). Can someone help me with my dilemma?

    1. Jess

      Yes, there is a certain amount of “does it matter” in the car since the whole thing has FR. I personally prefer to go Britax, since they seem to be safest, and have affordable options, too. Changing a cover negates the warranty, so I personally wouldn’t risk it, but others do. You can buy FROM free furniture at Ikea and target now…tgt, you have to flip it over to see, Ikea you have to buy from a store and double-check…I just called and they said online uses a warehouse that sill has FR stuff. Likely yr couch will be made of polyester which is also not ideal, but unless yr spending 3k+ to go organic or getting cotton velour, it’seems better than FR. I’m currently looking for a FR free one slipcovered in cotton.

      1. Akami

        When I was buying the car seat, Britax was rated as one of the worst as far as chemicals and so I tried to stay far away from it. Now it seems it ranks better than Diono. I am still so disappointed in Diono for lying. I may just go ahead and change the cover but then I also keep reading how it’s not safe to do. I personally don’t see how a well fitting (same fit as original) cover is any less safe, as long as the buckles work as intended. But with all the warnings it does make me a bit concerned. And then of course there is the expense and doubt if I am really making any difference in exposure. I want to spend my dollar where it matters most and trying to live a healthy and toxin free lifestyle can get very expensive!
        As far as the couches, I would love to get an organic wool couch, no foam, but wow, they are so expensive. So I guess for now I may settle on Ikea couch that is now hopefully FR free and thus a little better than our current one. Then our mattress and bed (it’s upholstered).

      2. Jess

        For what it’s worth, I did a healthy living consult with an epidemiologist at Harvard. And she said the single most important thing you can do is your mattress and your children’s mattresses, that those are by far the most important things to be flame retardant free after that it’s probably the couch, but anything in the car is less important. Now, I’m not saying that’s what I did. That’s just with this particular consultant said. She also said beyond the mattress, the next most important thing is actually the stuff that you put on your skin because we don’t really have a good way to eliminate toxins through our skin.

      3. Akami

        Thanks! That definitely makes sense, the bed and the couch is where we spend the most time. It does bother me that both our bed and couch are still full of chemicals. I got my daughter an organic crib mattress which sadly she never used (what a waste of money), she hated her crib and ended up co-sleeping with us till she was 2, so she was sleeping on our crappy mattress, while her organic cotton mattress is unused. At 2 she moved to a big bed and I got a FR free latex mattress (hopefully it is, I feel like we can’t trust anyone anymore). Did she say if there is a way to detox from FR? From what I read they accumulate and are not easy to remove, but I hope there is some way to detox.
        I called Diono again today to ask why they lied about the FR and she told me that the Duke University results are not in line with theirs and smth about their methods not being right. She said she would send me an email explaining it. She said they don’t spray their foam but when asked if the foam manufacturer does she said she believed so and had no idea which ones. So basically they are clueless, so how can they claim it doesn’t contain the ones that Duke University found? (anyone knows which ones were found in Diono, btw)?

  31. Lynda

    Been reading through the comments and Im still a bit confused.. what toddler car seat is the healthiest? Im thinking clek foonf?

    1. amy

      i am also confused. I bought the diono and since it doesnt have an adjustable height it renders teh front seat useless. the cleks and britax’s have adjustable heights but only go up to 65 pounds. Are all britax marathons OK or just that discontinued wave color? i wish this wasn’t so hard.

  32. Sam

    So what’s the verdict on umbrella/light weight stroller? I was at buy buy baby yesterday and every single of them has foam in it. I am so confused.

  33. katie fogarty

    Hi friends! Just wanted to share this here — thanks to this wonderful forum of people — I was able to provide a local retailer with enough information to stop selling Orbit – and it is making national news! Here’s a link to the video http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/oregon-anti-government-activists-seize-federal-buildings/ I have to smile at the Sprout rep saying “I opened that email and said nooooooo” that email was from me😉 and it contained Duke testing results that were shared with me here. Keep fighting the good fight! Support Arlene Blum and Sprout San Francisco – a retailer we can truly trust. They sell online, too.

  34. Beth Devassy

    I know that Healthystuff.org only tested 3 Britax seats (2 of which are booster seats), and the Britax website references these rankings and boasts that they’re the best in terms of low FR emissions. Is it reasonable to assume that their strollers and infant seats are ALSO among the safest? Or is utilizing Duke for independent testing the only way to really know? Has anyone tested Britax infant seats, strollers or other convertible seats not tested through Healthystuff.org?

    1. Shannon

      I’m wondering the same thing. I’m considering buying the Britax B-safe, but can’t seem to find any information about the toxicity of that particular seat. I suppose you can always call Britax directly and ask them.

  35. Lynda

    I was able to get a Britax Marathon in McCoy really cheap, my lo is outgrowing our Phil and teds. The Britax was manufactured 10/2015, has anyone tested theirs? I seen the marathon in blue was tested and it was the least toxic hoping it’s the same for all colors?

  36. naturalbabymama Post author

    Has anyone tested foam in strollers? I now need a double stroller but all seem to have foam. Has anyone found a foam free stroller?? BOB is claiming to be FR free – I still don’t like the PU coating. Mountain Buggy claims to be FR free. My single Mountain Buggy has no foam but the doubles all have foam. Any others out there before I delve deep into the double stroller world🙂

    1. Natali


      I recently bought a Bumbleride stroller . They don’t use FR ( at least that what they saying). Kandi (Bumbleride)
      Mar 25, 1:22 PM
      The fabric is made of polyester and the inside of the canopy is TPU. Flame retardants were required by Law in California but in 2013 that changed and so we removed them from our products.

      They also have Oeko Tex certification.

      However I am still going to test the foam.

      1. Beth

        I’m interested in finding out what Duke finds with the Marathon. I find it frustrating that on the Britax website there is no ‘McCoy’ color option. Similarly, per the ecocenter.org car seat ratings, I can’t find their highest rated Frontier Clicktight or their Parkway at all on the Britax website.
        It seems as though there are just new models and fabrics every year! How can we keep up? Are we just to Google a model/color we feel confident in and order from a distributor?

      2. naturalbabymama Post author

        I personally didn’t worry about color options. Britax made a change in the FRs that they used in their seats in 2013. If you order from a distributor they most likely aren’t going to have a seat from 2013 still.

  37. naturalbabymama Post author

    I’ve just created a closed Facebook group as a way the Natural Baby Mama community can discuss non-toxic items. Whether you are wanting to know what car seat to buy, questioning non-toxic baby items or items for you or your home, this is will be a great resource and open line of communication. Please like the Natural Baby Mama Facebook page and join the closed group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/223493848003000/?hc_location=ufi.

    I’m looking forward to interacting with you more in the closed group!

  38. Pingback: Car Seat Maker Avoids Reporting Of Chemicals Despite Violation Notices « CBS San Francisco

  39. Laura McCoy

    Any updates on Orbit or which car seat seems the least toxic for a toddler? It’s all so overwhelming! I appreciate thoughts and help.

  40. Lynnsey

    Didn’t go through all the comments, so hopefully this isn’t repeat info. I decided to remove the car seat cover and shade. Bought organic cotton and sewed it into a shade. Also had organic cotton sewn into a bassinet size sheet -where I live it would have actually been cheaper to buy an organic bassinet sheet online. Bought organic cotton batting. Took the batting and the sheet and cut holes in them to fit where the seatbelt treads through to make my own fit any car seat style cover. Pricier than it would’ve been if I had bought the sheet online but way cheaper than any etsy company I found. Just thought I’d share


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s