Monday, May 9, 2011

Toxins in Baby Car Seats? Apparently, Yes!

Photo courtesy: Healthy Stuff/Press Photos via TreeHugger

We can't breathe the air, drink the water, or eat the food without being exposed to toxins beyond our wildest dreams. Just when we thought we might be getting a handle on childraising, along comes toxic baby car seats!

Don't get me wrong. I'm not making light of this situation. On the contrary, I find it quite despicable that companies can get away with putting toxic substances on infant and toddler car seats AND get away with it. Quite unbelievable to me.

Ask any parent - our most precious possessions are our children; and, we would not knowingly put them in harm's way no matter how small the risk.

So, why is now we find out that our car seats (that are supposed to keep our little ones safe) contain toxic materials?

Healthy Stuff has released their test results for 2011 on child car seats. The organization has been testing car safety seats since 2008. The bad news in 2011: over half of child car seats still have elements detected suggesting the use of chemicals with known or suspected deleterious health effects. The good news: since Healthy Stuff started testing child seats in 2008, the average rankings have improved by 64%. Isn't it amazing what a little public scrutiny can do.

Healthy Stuff tests for bromine to indicate the presence of brominated flame retardants (but their tests will not indicate some other flame retardants, such as TPP, also suspected of effects that might harm a child's development). They also check chlorine (indicative of PVC), lead (a bioaccumulating neurotoxin) and other heavy metals (antimony, arsenic, chromium, cobalt, copper, mercury, nickel and tin). According to Healthy Stuff's newest report:

Most Toxic 2011 Car Seats:
- Infant Seat: Graco Snugride 35 in Edgemont Red/Black & Graco SnugRide 30 in Asprey
- Convertible Seat: Britax Marathon 70 in Jet Set & Britax Marathon in Platinum
- Booster Seat: Recaro Pro Booster in Blue Opal & Recaro ProSPORT Toddler in Mist

Least Toxic 2011 Car Seats:
- Infant Seat: Chicco KeyFit 30 in Limonata, Graco Snugride 35 in Laguna Bay & Combi Shuttle 33 in Cranberry Noche
- Convertible Carseat: Graco Comfort Sport in Caleo, Graco MyRide 65 in Chandler and Streamer, Safety 1st OnSide Air in Clearwater, and Graco Nautilus Elite 3-in-1 in Gabe
- Booster Seat: Graco Turbo Booster in Anders

Check out the complete ratings on the Healthy Stuff website or add your name to the petition for safer products. Healthy Stuff has entered a partnership with The Alliance for Toxic-Free Fire Safety to pressure the "largest car seat retailers, Graco and Evenflo, to take leadership to disclose and phase out hazardous chemical flame retardant additives".

It is important to emphasize: car seats save lives, and prevent disabling, lifelong injuries. The risk of an accident without a safety seat is far worse than the risk of chemicals in the seat to your child's health.

Good on Healthy Stuff.

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