The Big Green Parenting Experiment

raising a healthy family in a toxic world

the convertible car seat debacle

on November 14, 2012

We have reached the point where we need to make the transition to a convertible car seat. Schy is a pretty tall girl and while she still has some room to grow weight-wise, she would probably be more comfortable in a non-infant car seat. I had been doing some research and was somewhat alarmed at some of my findings. It’s amazing how much more serious health and safety becomes when we are talking about the littlest people in our lives.

Based on friends and family recommendations, I decided to focus on the Britax line. We have had pretty good luck with Consumer Reports in the past, so I went there first. Out of the top ten “greater than 40lb. harness capacity” seats, Britax holds seven of these slots, including three models that are actually tied for the number one slot. Not bad. This rating includes crash protection, ease of use, rear facing fit to vehicle and forward facing fit to vehicle. After weighing these ratings, size and price, along with some other consumer reviews, I narrowed it down the Britax Marathon.

I was pretty satisfied with my choice and started to price them out. WELL, this lead me to Amazon.com, which is generaly where I start when I am comparison shopping. Naturally, I started to read reviews there, also. To my horror, one of the reviews stated that this car seat was among the most toxic on the market, along with multiple other Britax models. You have GOT to be kidding me. Seriously???

Apparently the Britax seats tested positive for high levels of bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants) and chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC and plasticizers). Wow. I was in complete disbelief! We are quite anti-chemical, hence trying to rid our home of them. This just wasn’t going to fly. I was pretty devastated having already done all of my research.

I did a bit more digging and came across this list from healthystuff.org of the best and worst car seats of 2011. Sure enough, the Britax Marathon was on there, not once, not twice but THREE times! WTH?!
I then noticed that it seemed to be certain colors, mostly the blacks and greys… Jet Set, Platinum, Solstice. I searched for information regarding Azalea, which was the color that i had decided on, but couldn’t find anything. I guess that’s a good thing? Think no news is good news? *frantically biting fingernails* It really just blew my mind that there could be such high levels of toxic chemicals in these car seats where our precious angels spend so much of their time. You don’t even have to be a treehugger for that to freak you right out. I was immediately concerned for all of the friends and family that own, use and swear by this car seat everyday! Do they know what they’re exposing their children to? I tried to figure out what to do. Take a chance that the Azalea is safe? Jump ship? Abandon the Marathon?

I decided to start researching from scratch. In the process of starting over I stumbled upon this article which states that Britax and Orbit, whose seats are known for high levels of toxic chemicals, are eliminating the use of hazardous flame retardants containing bromine and chlorine by the end of 2012! Hallelujah! That is awesome!

So, guess who just ordered her Britax Marathon? This girl! What a roller coaster of an experience. The moral of the story fellow parents, treehugger or not… do your research! There is no way that I would knowingly subject my little girl to high levels of toxic chemicals for any reason. We should seriously all take the time to research anything and everything that our babies are exposed to. In a world where unexplainable diseases and disorders are running rampant, we need to be the first line of defense for our children. It may not seem like a big deal now, but who knows what effect this type of exposure could lead to years down the road. I’m not paranoid, just cautious. I’ll save the paranoia for the teenage years!

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2 responses to “the convertible car seat debacle

  1. With A Spin says:

    Totally agree with the research thing. I am the same way for my any product or food item for her. Better to be cautious than to be sorry down the road.

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