Need the expert mamas' advice on what to do about these chem-laden carseats!?!?! - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 08-03-2011, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So, many of you may have already been aware of this and I am just 2 years late to the party...but I had no idea that I had to also worry about my kids' carseats being full of chemicals!!! Of course my 2 yr old DS is in a Britax convertible and my 3 month DD is in a Graco, neither one that showed up as low chems...

Do I buy new carseats??? I am someone who buys almost all organic food, kids mattresses, sleepwear, skin products, etc and thus i WISH i knew this before making such a big purchase. We own 2 Britax Boulevards at over 350$ a pop! ARRRRRRGGGGGG!!!

 

Any suggestions???

 

recent report via healthy stuff.org is below. Again, sorry if this is old news to many of you!

 

http://www.healthystuff.org/departments/childrens-products/press.releases.php

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#2 of 14 Old 08-03-2011, 07:05 PM
 
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I just saw this on CNN's website:  http://thechart.blogs.cnn.com/2011/08/03/kids-car-seat-tests-reveal-chemicals

 

My best guess is that some of the chemicals are there as fire retardants.  I went to a carseat presentation by a state rep. who said to never wash carseat fabric in the washing machine because it weakens the fire retardants. 

 

And what to do?  My non-professional (and financial) inclination is to buy a used carseat (to hopefully let some of the chemicals go bye-bye since purchased new) as long as I am 100% certain it has never been in a wreck or stored in a very hot place, such as an attic.  The carseat presenter said those were two very important reasons to avoid buying or inheriting a used carseat.

 

I think this is a darned-if-you-do, darned-if-you-don't situation.  It is hard to know what the right thing to do in this kind of situation is.

 

I wonder if a mod could step in and contact somebody in the carseat business to make a recommendation?  Is that an appropriate request to make of a mod or administrator?


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#3 of 14 Old 08-04-2011, 05:12 AM
 
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Oh boy, here we go.

 

One:  DO NOT BUY A USED CAR SEAT.  DO NOT BUY A USED CAR SEAT.  DO NOT BUY A USED CAR SEAT.  

 

Am I being unclear?  Should I rephrase? orngtongue.gif

 

I say this as someone who avoid toxic chemicals, as someone who makes her own cleaning solutions from vinegar, lavendar and tea tree oil, as someone who buys organic whenever possible, and as someone who is a vegetarian primarily because she cannot afford the cost of sustainable, organic meats.  

 

This is a situation where you need to weigh OBVIOUS harm versus THEORETICAL harm.  

 

1.  Fact:  there is no evidence, none whatsoever, that any child has EVER been harmed by the so-called toxins in a car seat, even kids who spend untold hours using them as baby seats (this is bad for other reasons, obviously, and should be avoided.)  

 

2.  Fact: there is clear and documented evidence from the harm done from not using car seats, using car seats with after-market products, or using used seats. 

 

Car accidents are (with a little play here and there), the number one accidental killers of American children.  Car seats are well designed, and do their job brilliantly.  

 

The most important point to consider when purchasing a seat for your child is, does it fit your child, will it fit your car, will it fit your budget, will you use it correctly every single time you get in the car.   

 


If you buy a so-called 'non-toxic car seat', but it doesn't fit well in your car and your child ends up getting killed in a survivable accident, that is an absolutely ridiculous tragedy.

 

There are seats on that 'non-toxic' list that I would never recommend for reasons MUCH more important than so-called toxicity, reasons that may mean actual death or severe injury. 

 

OP, you do not need to buy new seats.  Your children are not going to be harmed by riding in the Boulevards.   The only reason I would purchase new seats is if they currently inappropriate for your children for a sound reason (For example, your 1 year old has outgrown the Boulevard rear facing.   Then you absolutely buy a new seat that will keep him rear facing longer.)

 

 

If you are VERY concerned, one trip through the washing machine (the COVER, NEVER THE STRAPS) will take car of most of the 'chemicals' you are concerned about. 

savithny and KempsMama like this.

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#4 of 14 Old 08-04-2011, 09:31 AM
 
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Thanks Maedze, that was well said.
There's a discussion of this on the CPSlist right now. If anything additional pops up, I'll add it on.

Kelly - Children's Restraint Technician Instructor - Mom to my December boys
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#5 of 14 Old 08-04-2011, 11:23 AM
 
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Quote:
Car accidents are (with a little play here and there), the number one accidental killers of American children.  Car seats are well designed, and do their job brilliantly.

This statement makes my head hurt. If they are the number one killer, then why in the world would you lump that with saying that carseats do there job brilliantly.

And yes, I would buy a used seat off a personal friend or family member who's driving record I know. It is not against the law for me to make an informed choice like that.

 


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#6 of 14 Old 08-04-2011, 11:24 AM
 
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Maedze:  Thank you big time for weighing in on this.  It is so important and we need folks who know what they are talking about (which I am not one of!).  Please also expand on the point you made: 

 

"There are seats on that 'non-toxic' list that I would never recommend for reasons MUCH more important than so-called toxicity, reasons that may mean actual death or severe injury."

 

Whatever those other reasons are, can you please give us a little more information?  Thank you very much for your input!   thumb.gif

 

 


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#7 of 14 Old 08-04-2011, 03:01 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BubblingBrooks View Post

 

 

This statement makes my head hurt. If they are the number one killer, then why in the world would you lump that with saying that carseats do there job brilliantly.

And yes, I would buy a used seat off a personal friend or family member who's driving record I know. It is not against the law for me to make an informed choice like that.

 

 

There's no need to be defensive or to imply I said things I did not.   Car accidents are the number one killer, because THREE OUT OF FOUR CHILDREN ARE NOT CORRECTLY RESTRAINED IN THE CAR.  And that is a conservative estimate.  Do you understand why that means what you said makes zero sense?

 

My personal experience, dealing with literally thousands of children, is that I can count on one hand the number of times correctly restrained kids have come through my station.  And most of those parents (obviously, they bothered to show up!) are well-meaning, intelligent, informed parents who thought their seats were used perfectly.

 

No one said it was 'against the law' to buy a used seat eyesroll.gif   However, buying one from Craigslist, yard-sales, Freecycle, eBay, etc, is a really, really, REALLY horrible idea.   It's fine to get one if you know the history, but understand that even well-meaning close friends will do inappropriate things, like put the harness through the wash, or take the seat apart to clean it and assemble it wrong after.  
 

 



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Originally Posted by caedenmomma View Post

Maedze:  Thank you big time for weighing in on this.  It is so important and we need folks who know what they are talking about (which I am not one of!).  Please also expand on the point you made: 

 

"There are seats on that 'non-toxic' list that I would never recommend for reasons MUCH more important than so-called toxicity, reasons that may mean actual death or severe injury."

 

Whatever those other reasons are, can you please give us a little more information?  Thank you very much for your input!   thumb.gif

 

 

 

 

Yes, absolutely.  The list recommended the Graco Comfortsport.  Now, this seat is not dangerous in and of itself if you used correctly.  HOWEVER, it has the lowest rear facing weight limit of any convertible on the market, even the cheapest discount ones.  Modern baby buckets last longer than this seat does.  And it has the lowest top harness postion of any convertible on the market as well.  That means turning children forward too early (can cause serious injury or death) or taking them out of a harnessed seat too early (serious injury or death.)

 

It recommends the Graco Snugride 22, which is an ok seat, except that A.  I NEVER recommend rear-adjust seats, which many 22s are, because parents use them wrong 100% of the time, which can lead to ejection in a crash.  Its harness is also not designed to fit preemies or smaller newborns well at all, meaning again, potential ejection in a crash.  


These are just examples, of course.  I am not saying, "These seats will explode in your car!" but that these seats are FAR more likely to lead to misuse that could hurt or kill a child than other, better designed seats on the market.  
 

 


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#8 of 14 Old 08-05-2011, 05:42 AM
 
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Will you elaborate on how parents use rear adjust seats incorrectly? I like to think I'm pretty in tune with car seats and that makes me wonder if I was tightening my kids in wrong all these years.

Angela
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#9 of 14 Old 08-05-2011, 05:50 AM
 
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I have never, not once, had someone come through a check station...(or even casually observed, for that matter)...a rear adjust seat adjusted tightly enough, unfortunately.  They're tricky enough to maneuver when the baby isn't in the seat, but once you have the baby IN, then people don't want to (for obvious reasons, LOL), flip the seat over to pull those straps tight enough.  So they end up often both with uneven tension, and much too loose.    

Quote:
Originally Posted by AfricanQueen99 View Post

Will you elaborate on how parents use rear adjust seats incorrectly? I like to think I'm pretty in tune with car seats and that makes me wonder if I was tightening my kids in wrong all these years.


 


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#10 of 14 Old 08-05-2011, 05:53 AM
 
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My son is VERY chemical sensitive.  We buy all organic/natural stuff whenever possible, and avoid chemicals at all costs.  

 

 

BUT  I still put him in his Radian XTSL every single day.   I'd rather have an itchy kid than a dead one!  

 

 

 

What I did was when we bought the seat I washed the cover (according to the manufacturer's directions and using a gentile soap my son isn't allergic to), and then I let it air dry on our covered porch.  I let the carseat sit outside (covered/protected) as well for several days.   

 

In the car, I have my son wear long sleeves/pants whenever the weather allows to keep his seat off his skin (its usually too hot here), and I put a playsilk (which is super thin, I put it on after buckling) spread out behind his head to protect his face from contacting the carseat.    We also keep the car cool, and no liquids allowed in the carseat, that way he isn't damp which seems to make things worse.  

 

 

So, as much as I do try to avoid chemicals for my son, especially sense he is so allergic to them, he can't live in a bubble.  There are chemicals out there that cannot be avoided, step outside your house and there they are, and there are probably some in your house too that you can't avoid!    The carseat is the least of my worries because I know I'm using it safely and its life-saving ability over-rides any chemicals that may be in it.   

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#11 of 14 Old 08-05-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maedze View Post

I have never, not once, had someone come through a check station...(or even casually observed, for that matter)...a rear adjust seat adjusted tightly enough, unfortunately.  They're tricky enough to maneuver when the baby isn't in the seat, but once you have the baby IN, then people don't want to (for obvious reasons, LOL), flip the seat over to pull those straps tight enough.  So they end up often both with uneven tension, and much too loose.    

I wonder if I'm thinking of a different seat.  We are talking about a snugride that tightens at the bottom of the baby's feet, hence the "rear-adjust" since it's the rear of the CAR'S seat, right?  Why would they be flipped over to tighten?  Maybe I'm just thinking of an old school seat (ours expires at the end of this year) and the newer ones are different?


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#12 of 14 Old 08-05-2011, 12:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AfricanQueen99 View Post



I wonder if I'm thinking of a different seat.  We are talking about a snugride that tightens at the bottom of the baby's feet, hence the "rear-adjust" since it's the rear of the CAR'S seat, right?  Why would they be flipped over to tighten?  Maybe I'm just thinking of an old school seat (ours expires at the end of this year) and the newer ones are different?


rear-adjust means behind the baby, so not by the baby's feet. I've had two snugride 22s, the first was rear-adjust, the second was not (first one was replaced after a crash after two months).

 

and the best way to avoid chemical exposure in your child's carseat, stay out of the car as much as possible. walk, take the bus, stay home, combine errands, etc. 

 


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#13 of 14 Old 08-05-2011, 01:23 PM
 
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Chemicals are things that build up in us the more frequent the exposure, so IMO the best way to deal with chemicals is to limit exposure as much as practical, but this is not an area where it is practical as the potential problems from limiting exposure in this case are greater than the benefits. Unless you limit exposure by simply not driving as much, which is a great idea for a bunch of reasons.
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#14 of 14 Old 08-05-2011, 04:11 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mamazee View Post

Chemicals are things that build up in us the more frequent the exposure, so IMO the best way to deal with chemicals is to limit exposure as much as practical, but this is not an area where it is practical as the potential problems from limiting exposure in this case are greater than the benefits. Unless you limit exposure by simply not driving as much, which is a great idea for a bunch of reasons.


My son is on natural medications/suppliments which help clear toxins/chemicals out of his system.  He also eats a special diet.    There are chemicals everywhere and his liver doesn't function correctly so he can't get them out of his system as easily as most kids

 

 

I agree, limiting carseat time is a good thing,  we walked a lot of places with ds in a baby carrier when he was little, and now he rides his bike everywhere! 

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