We've searched high and low and talked with mamas and other experts to find the most non-toxic and best infant car seats for your kiddos. From newborn to maxing out at 120 pounds and nearly 5' tall, our list has car seats that are the safest and made with the cleanest materials we've found.

When it comes to looking for the perfect car seat for our littles, we aren't just looking to see what seat has the best crash ratings (though that obviously is of utmost importance). No, when it comes to looking for the best infant car seats, we not only want to consider the physical safety aspect of a car seat, but its chemical safety as well.

Yes, the ease of installation and size/fit within your car is important. Yes, it's also important to make sure it's a good fit for your child and you can easily get them in and out of the car seat as you need. You'll also want to keep in mind how long the car seat will keep your child safe; when will they outgrow it and when does the car seat expire?But now, we know it's also important to be mindful of what toxic chemicals go into the making of our children's car seats as well. What toxicity are we exposing them to when it comes to flame retardants and fabric treatments to help them stay nice and clean? Particularly because babies and young children are developing their little bodies, they are especially at risk to the effects of toxic chemicals and we need to make sure that something they are in regularly isn't slowly damaging them as they ride.

Car Seat Chemicals: What's In Your Car Seat Fabric?

The good news is that more car seat manufacturers than ever are becoming aware of the need to make their products even safer than they already are. They are mandated to meet federal motion vehicle flammability regulation FMVSS 302 so that if a vehicle fire ever occurs, theoretically your child will be safer.

The problem is that until recently, manufacturers paid little attention to the chemicals they used to do this and used low-cost halogenated chemicals as flame retardants. According to a car seat study in 2015 by the Ecology Center, exposure to these chemicals (either brominated or chlorinated) are associated with impacts on both animals and humans. This impact includes reproductive toxicity, endocrine disruption, fetal and child development impairment, neurological dysfunction, cancer and more. The chemicals break down in composition and are then in the air, affecting your baby's (and your) overall health.

More, as car seats are subject to automotive regulations, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gets involved with efficacy. Yet, they don't evaluate how effective flame retardants in car seats really are, nor is there any data on their records that suggests the current flame retardant standard actually gives any fire safety to a child's car seat. In a few words? The toxic chemicals may not even make a difference!

So what do we look for in car seats? We found car seat manufacturers who don't use any flame retardant at all or if they do, use phosphate-based chemicals over halogenated flame retardants. For now, phosphate-based flame retardants have been considered safer than chlorinated and brominated chemicals, though we're still watching research about their safety as well. Still, the move shows that car seat manufacturers are indeed listening to us and want to make products as safe as we want them to be.

The more we demand safe car seats, and recognize and patronize those manufacturers who value our children's overall safety, the more we'll see the market continue to change.

In the meantime, here are the most non-toxic and best infant car seats we've found:

1. Nuna Pipa Lite


One of our favorite things about the Nuna Pipa Lite (aside from the fact that the materials are smartly and responsibly sourced to be flame resistant without the use of added fire retardants) is that it's so.stinking.lightweight! The fabric for the seat is made from Merino Wool and TENCEL (which is made from wood pulp and is super soft, anti-bacterial and moisture absorbent) and machine washable, though we suggest you line-dry it. The infant insert is crafted with GOTS-certified organic cotton and there is UPF 50 in the Pipa Lite's canopy and Dream Drape. Nuna gives some serious and safe coverage and protection for your little with that Drape! It's easy to install and has colored installation indicators so it's super easy to be sure it's safe and secure. The base of the Pipa Lite has a steel stability leg to absorb impact and does so by up to 90%! It also has side impact protection and expires seven years from the original purchase date, so you can easily take it through a few children before it needs to retire.


2. UPPAbaby Messa Henry
The UPPAbaby Mesa is non-toxic and one of the best infant car seats

As the leaders of the natural flame-retardant material movement, UPPAbaby introduced the first car seat with no flame retardant chemicals and was the first to pass federal safety standards without fire retardant chemicals. The Henry and Jordan models use a Merino wool/polyester blend that not only is naturally flame retardant, but helps your little one maintain a comfy body temperature as well. The Ecology center rates them as of low chemical concern when it comes to materials. It's fairly lightweight (about 10 pounds) and has side-impact protection, a no-rethread harness (yay!) and uses LATCH or belt-path pretty easily.

Something that sets UPPAbaby apart, though, is that the Mesa comes in a few different versions. The standard ones (Jake, Taylor and Denny) have seats that are made with polyester fabric and they *do* use phosphate retardants (and garner a Moderate Concern Rating) so it's important to pay attention when it comes to the most non-toxic you can find.

Also something to keep in mind is that if you've been looking for a car seat/ stroller combo, it may be a bit more difficult now as the Mesa is a newer seat. It does work with their own strollers, though, and of course if you babywear more than stroll that isn't an issue.


3. Clek Fllo Noire Crypton

The Clek Fllo is one of the best infant car seats that's non-toxic

Talk about physical durability and safety? Clek's Fllo has it in spades. A Canadian company that adheres to European safety standards, there's not a mama we know who has a Clek that doesn't rave about it. The Noire Crypton is a soft, flat micro-suede type material and is super easy to keep clean. It is stain, moisture and bacteria resistant and does not have any brominated or chlorinated flame retardants. It's also GREENGUARD Select certified. This means that it's been put under some of the most rigorous science experiments to be certified as having low or no chemical emissions. This helps reduce pollution inside the car, as well as chemical exposure while your little is in the seat, and it helps keep that junk out of the air for the rest of us as well. It's convertible so it can grow with your kiddo and we love that it supports extended rear-facing up to 50 pounds, but can be used (with their Infant Thingy) for your newborn! Mamas love it because though it's a bit heavier, it's slimmer and can help accommodate tight spaces in cars.


4. Cosco Scenera Next

The Cosco Senera Next is an affordable option for best infant car seats

So, we get it. Not everyone can afford car seats that are several hundred dollars, and the more we use our money to tell manufacturers we need more affordable options, the sooner those options will come. That said, we LOVE Cosco for creating a safe, reliable (adorable--check out that hot red!) seat that not only works fabulously as a travel car seat, but is so reasonably priced as well. It tests well in the non-toxic testing (moderate concern, but only the above three manufacturers have a no-concern car seat), and is really a budget car seat that is certified for air travel as well. It's rear-facing for babies from 5-40 pounds, and though it's not quite the 'oomph' we may be used to in bulkier seats, it does have side impact protection for safety as well. The seat pad is machine washable and dryer-safe and it has five harness heights and three buckle locations for kids to grow with it but our favorite thing about it is that it proves a safer, more non-toxic option doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg.


5. Britax Advocate Clicktight

Britax is a leader in the best infant car seats

We can't lie; Britax has been wowing us with their physical safety in car seats for many years. Their patented ClickTight system makes installing your car seat as easy as buckling it in. Which is so handy because they are a bit on the heavy side. They've been leaders when it comes to the best infant car seats for their crash-test ratings and protection for our kiddos and we love that they've introduced their SafeWash fabric, which makes it machine washable and dryer safe because there are no added brominated or chlorinated chemicals added for retardance, and no added PFAS. On the Ecology Center report, it ranked at Moderate Concern because it still uses phosphorous-based retardants, though as we've said, they are much safer. Britax works consistently to be a leader in physical safety, and it seems that they are now working to be a leader when it comes to chemical safety standards as well.

The Advocate has three levels of side impact protection, which makes it the safest when it comes to collisions and it has the Click & Safe Snug Indicator to let you know that the seat is installed safely.


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