Before buying a child’s car seat, responsible parents will carefully review safety ratings for the dozens of brands and models on the market. But they should also look closely at the use of toxic chemicals.

According to a new report from the Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., toxic flame retardants are still widely used in car seats, even though there’s no data showing they protect children from fires.

Researchers tested 15 infant and toddler car seats from a variety of brands for flame retardants and other toxic chemicals. Brands tested included BabyTrend, Britax, Chicco, Clek, Cosco, Diono, Evenflo, Joie, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, Orbit, Recaro, Safety 1st and Graco.

Flame retardants were found in all car seats tested. Brominated chemicals – which are typically persistent and bioaccumulative, and are often toxic – were found in 13 out of 15 car seats. Chemicals detected included carcinogens and hormone disruptors.


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