toxic car seats and contact dermatitis - Mothering Forums

 
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#1 of 8 Old 01-05-2009, 07:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So I'm not sure if any of you followed the saga where DS broke out into what first appeared to be eczema, then it steadily progressed into raw, oozing sores covering the entire back of his head, the back of his legs and his elbows. The pediatrician initially thought it was eczema but it kept on getting worse. We finally connected the dots and realized he was allergic to his car seat, a Chicco Keyfit 30, which we bought because it had the highest safety ratings for that year. The rash disappeared as soon as we put a cover on the car seat. (Incidentally, we contacted the company and they were zero help to us. I got the impression that they couldn't have cared less that they injured my son.)
Anyway, I've been trying to find out more about this, and I've come across a few blogs and websites of other parents who've experienced the same car seat allergy, often with the Chicco car seats.
However, this is the most useful link I've found: Emerging Patterns of Contact Dermatitis.
It's written by a pediatric dermatologist who says he's seen this more and more recently in the last few years.
"Another newly recognized pattern of contact dermatitis is seen in infants exposed to certain car seats...Although not limited to a certain maker of infant car seats, we have observed a common type of shiny, water-resistant type material. Currently, our practice is working directly with a large manufacturer of infant car seats in order to better elucidate potential irritant or allergic contents of the infant car seat."
Basically, they say they aren't exactly sure yet which chemicals are causing the irritation. But I'd guess it's related to formaldehyde or other flame resistant chemicals.
I can't really tell how common this problem is, but I thought I'd throw it out there, in case any other parents are struggling to figure out why their child's head is turning into a raw scaly mess.

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#2 of 8 Old 01-05-2009, 10:22 PM
 
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my youngest had this from our evenflo triumph.

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#3 of 8 Old 01-06-2009, 12:56 AM
 
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Yikes, good to know. Does washing the cover, maybe with vinegar, help at all?
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#4 of 8 Old 01-06-2009, 01:04 AM
 
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I am allergic to many chemicals, which was a big problem as a kid. I am specifically allergic to new carpet! (formaldehyde, we suspect) Try telling a kid she can't play on the floor of the new house for 6 months ... Anyway, it doesn't surprise me one bit that kids would develop such a violent reaction to car seat fabrics - and/or the treatment of them. I have watched my kids closely to be sure they don't have reactions, but so far, so good.

Washing the cover would be a good first step. (vinegar is integral, but may not be enough) I also imagine that there is a certain amount of off gassing that would naturally occur with time, to help speed up the process - just based on what I've learned over the years for living with my own issues.

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#5 of 8 Old 01-06-2009, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Here's another link I found on the issue:
http://childing.blogspot.com/2007/06...suspect-1.html

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007
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#6 of 8 Old 01-06-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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There is a specific condition known as "sweat dermatitis" or "sweat-induced dermatitis" ... basically the person's sweat has allergy-related immunoglobulins in their sweat, and anything that traps the sweat against the skin also traps the immunoglobulins. The result is dermatitis.

It's often seen on the back, and back of the thighs, of people who drive a lot in hot weather. It shows up as "vest rash" in cops who wear Kevlar vests for long periods, and "glove rash" in lab workers and semiconductor fab workers.

The remedy is to avoid sweating, wear absorbent clothing (glove liners, t-shirts), and rinse the skin frequently.

A removable, washable cover for the car seat would prevent much of this. In AZ, the seat and carseat material gets hot enough to burn exposed skin, so car seat liners are the rule.
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#7 of 8 Old 01-06-2009, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lazy Gardens View Post
There is a specific condition known as "sweat dermatitis" or "sweat-induced dermatitis" ... basically the person's sweat has allergy-related immunoglobulins in their sweat, and anything that traps the sweat against the skin also traps the immunoglobulins. The result is dermatitis.

It's often seen on the back, and back of the thighs, of people who drive a lot in hot weather. It shows up as "vest rash" in cops who wear Kevlar vests for long periods, and "glove rash" in lab workers and semiconductor fab workers.

The remedy is to avoid sweating, wear absorbent clothing (glove liners, t-shirts), and rinse the skin frequently.

A removable, washable cover for the car seat would prevent much of this. In AZ, the seat and carseat material gets hot enough to burn exposed skin, so car seat liners are the rule.
That's interesting. What does that kind of rash look like?
The rash my baby got was very severe, and looked nothing at all like garden variety heat rash. It did start out as small red bumps. Then his skin basically scaled off in big flakes, leaving exposed tissue. The sores turned yellowish-red, and got raw and oozing. Pretty awful to see on a newborn.

Jen, journalist, policy wonk, and formerly a proud single mama to my sweet little man Cyrus, born at home Dec. 2007
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#8 of 8 Old 01-06-2009, 05:01 PM
 
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the sweat-induced rash is generally very similar to typical eczema. I also have that. I'm also allergic to grass and general contact with food. But all my topical allergies are exacerbated by sweat, stress, and dairy. I've been fortunate not to have to deal with it much as an adult, thankfully.

Eczema goes through several stages. It does start as a rash - then it oozes. It's extremely itchy and can be painful. It sounds like what your baby probably had.

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