Updated July 2022
Summary: I compiled a few resources about non-toxic car seats, and car seat safety.
NON-TOXIC CAR SEAT GUIDES:
1. Here is my favorite blogger’s (Natural Baby Mama) research to avoid chemicals in car seats 💺.
2. Mamavation one that did additional PFAS testing.
3. Here is an older guide from Gimme the Good Stuff that I think contains all the brands, but some brands have additional new seats not listed, such as Nuna, uppababy’s upcoming booster, and it only lists one Britax instead of saying that several Britax seats use the safewash fabric. I don’t agree with picking the most affordable choice as the very best just because of the price (even though that is one of the seats I have). I base my recommendations and rankings on toxicity and keep my recommendations about budgeting separate. I do like that she explains different kinds of foam.
WHAT I PERSONALLY CHOSE
I bought some of the least toxic options: The Nuna Rava and Britax One For Life (converts to a booster later) in Safewash (Amazon Associates link: https://amzn.to/3ud7cyE) for my toddlers. Both allow for extended rear facing for safety up to 50 lbs. When they were infants, I had the Uppababy Mesa (Amazon Associates link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MT110N0/ref=cm_sw_r_as_gl_api_glt_i_7E0T2PG7K33NNMFQ869V?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1&linkCode=ml2&tag=cleangreentox-20).
See my “About” page for more about Amazon Associates links; commissions aren’t specific to these products so they don’t bias my recommendations. Also I have yet to receive any payout checks.
If you can’t afford an expensive seat or have to prioritize things, car seats aren’t a high priority in the scheme of things, especially if you’re not using it a lot, because cars themselves already have flame retardants. Seats like the Costco Scenera are super cheap and not that bad toxicity-wise according to this testing from Ecocenter.
CAR SEAT SAFETY
All car seats on the US market pass strict national crash tests (don’t get complacent thinking the government is always looking out for your safety, but this is one example where regulation is good). It’s pass/ fail and they don’t share specifics of the results. If you see test results claiming a seat did poorly, it’s from an independent company. Companies like Baby Gear Lab or Consumer Reports testing should not be the reason to purchase/exclude a seat. We don’t know BGL’s testing methods but likely they are using a VERY small sample size when testing in whatever manner they are (crash tests are extremely costly for each test) and Consumer Reports testing differs from federal testing standards.
All seats are very safe when used properly, so here are some key tips:
-Use them, and ensure correct installation.
-Staps should be tight.
-Chest clip should be at armpit level.
-Rear- face as long as size /weight limits allow. It is MUCH safer and the benefits are well-documented. Many 4-5 year olds can still comfortably rear-face. Some newer seats even have higher weight limits to allow longer rear-facing.
-Consult with the manufacturer of your car. Don’t just assume that if you can squeeze three car seats in a row in your backseat, it’s safe. In many cars it is not, even if they appear to fit.
-Consult a certified car seat safety technician.
Here is a guide from natural baby mama. Mockingbird isn’t on that list, but if you write to the company they will respond that they have tested free of all the bad things including PFOAS and lead. They said they don’t use Teflon or Scotch Guard, but that doesn’t guarantee they don’t use any waterproofing, so you may want to ask about that.
The guide does not include Uppababy strollers, which is what I have (Vista (affiliate link: https://amzn.to/3sgQI5T) and G-Luxe, and in the past I had Cruz). At the time I bought my stroller, it was considered one of the best nontoxic options, but then it was found that it has some waterproofing (the C-6 type I believe, which doesn’t have PFOA). Uppababy claims that the waterproofing doesn’t touch the baby, but I keep the stroller fabric covered anyway, so there is a barrier between the seat and the baby. We are pretty much done with strollers, but if I were to do it over, I’d get Nuna or Zoe probably, or another that doesn’t have waterproofing or any kind of PFAS.
Here is a list of testing done for PFAS on strollers.
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