Car seats without any chemical flame retardants were unheard of in the first half of this decade.
Fast forward to today, there are now more than 10 non-toxic car seat options you can buy on the market!
It’s wonderful to see a rise in non-toxic car seats. It used to be such a worry to find out that there were no car seats that were free of chemical flame retardants.
Thankfully, more car seat manufacturers are stepping forward to address health concerns that flame retardants can give children.
In this list, I narrowed down several non-toxic car seat options that are free of chemical flame retardants. These can work well for infants, toddlers, and full-grown children!
8 Best Non Toxic Car Seats for Newborns, Infants, and Toddlers
1. Britax One4Life ClickTight All-in-One Car Seat
Britax car seats are reliable and trustworthy!
They make a couple of the best non-toxic strollers, and they have a SafeWash car seat line that’s non-toxic and free from flame retardants.
Their SafeWash seat cover is made of synthetic fabric that’s made without flame retardants and PFAs. The car seat cover is removable and machine washable too!
I tried washing the seat cover myself and it was INCREDIBLY EASY!
For up to 30 washes, it’ll be easy to keep your entire car seat CLEAN AND FRESH for your children.
In terms of comfort and security, there are a bunch of features that will keep your baby safe and comfortable for car rides.
I didn’t hear a single whine or cry from my baby, which is how I knew he was comfortable in his seat!
There are 15 headrest and harness positions, 9 recline positions, 2 layers of side impact protection, and other safety features!
Although, what I love the most is how LONG-LASTING it can be!
This all-in-one convertible car seat was designed to grow with your baby for a maximum of 10 years, accommodating children from 5 lbs up to 120 lbs!
From rear-facing, front-facing, to a high-back booster seat, this product does it all.
This flame-retardant-free car seat is also easy to install thanks to its ClickTight technology.
All I have to do is raise its seat, thread a seatbelt under it, and click it back in place! This car seat will work for any car!
There are a bunch of colors to choose from, but you should go for the SafeWash color variants which are Drift, Eclipse Black, Cadet, and Plum.
- Works for infants, toddlers, and kids
- Machine washable and flame-retardant-free cover
- Easy to install and can fit inside most cars
- Features help keep your baby safe and secure
- Some kids found it uncomfortable
- Some parents found the car seat covers difficult to remove
- Not compatible with strollers
2. Britax B-Safe Endeavours Infant Car Seat
Coming from the same company, the B-Safe Endeavours Car Seat is my top recommendation from all the infant car seats on this list.
This car seat has the same flame-retardant-free SafeWash fabric and safety features that make non-toxic Britax car seats so great!
This car seat was made to accommodate infants weighing 5 to 35 lbs. In terms of age, they recommend a maximum age of 12 months. For height, it would be about 32 inches.
I was pleasantly surprised with how many safety features it has, such as the 2 layers of side impact protection, a steel anti-rebound bar, a spring-assisted recline, a sun canopy, and a 6-position adjustable headrest.
I can absolutely tell it was built for the comfort and safety of any baby!
It’s important to note that infant seats were meant to be rear-facing, which is the safest position to reduce any impact in case of an accident.
This flame-retardant-free car seat is also travel system ready. It’s compatible with all Britax single strollers as well as BOB Gear strollers.
With a great design and weighing at 11.5 lbs, this is a convenient rear-facing car seat that’s easy to install in any car.
With or without the base that comes with it, it’s frustration-free and will work great for most people!
I’m glad it was so easy to install, saving me A LOT of time!
This car seat also has a bunch of colors to choose from, but you should get the Otto for the SafeWash fabric.
- Machine washable and flame-retardant-free cover
- Built-in safety features will keep infants secure
- Easy to install for most scenarios
- Compatible with Britax and BOB Gear strollers
- Not as light as other infant seats in this list
- Some parents found the car seat fabrics stiff
3. Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat
Children’s car seats can be very pricey, but they’re definitely worth it when it comes to the protection and safety of your baby.
As a mom, I try to save as much money as I can by going for safe, reliable, and more AFFORDABLE car seat option, and I found one right here!
This car seat is called a 3-in-1 because it works for infants, toddlers, and kids. It can be rear-faced, front-faced, and converted into a booster seat.
It’s an all-in-one seat that will last for YEARS!
The Grow and Go has an easy in-and-out buckle, an adjustable headrest, a 3-position recline, side-impact protection, and removable seat fabric that you can machine wash.
Thanks to these, it makes installation a BREEZE and eases my mind knowing my baby is in good hands!
It’s important to note that this product isn’t 100% without flame retardants.
Traces of phosphate-based flame retardant chemicals can be found in one of its components. Although, this isn’t a big concern because not a lot was used for it to be a health risk for your child.
If you want a car seat COMPLETELY WITHOUT flame retardants, you’ll have to go for the pricier options on this list.
- Most affordable non-toxic car seat
- Removable and machine washable fabric
- Works for babies and kids
- Has two cup holders
- Offers great impact protection
- Small traces of phosphate-based flame retardants
- Some parents found the installation a hassle
- Not compatible with strollers
4. Nuna Pipa Lite Car Seat
I like to travel a lot, so thank goodness for Nuna Pipa, the LIGHTEST and MOST PORTABLE car seat I could find!
This wonderful brand an entire product line without flame retardants, and they recently transitioned to these flame retardant-free infant car seats in 2019!
Nuna car seats are GREENGUARD Gold certified too, so I’m incredible relieved that it’s been reviewed and tested to be free from toxic chemicals!
The Nuna Pipa Lite boasts a lightweight polyester fabric that’s meant to absorb any impact away from your baby.
It also has side-impact protection, a leather carry handle, a removable UPF 50+ canopy, and a 5-point harness to ensure your baby is safe and secure!
I can drive peacefully knowing I don’t have to look back at my baby every 5 minutes!
It also comes with a car seat base that you have to install in your car. Without the base, it won’t be safe to use.
It’s a bit of a hassle for me because I have to bring the base with me whenever I want to use it somewhere else.
Another great detail with this flame-retardant-free car seat is that it comes with a GOTS-certified organic cotton fabric insert, crotch cover, and harness covers!
- Extremely lightweight and portable
- Security features work great to protect babies
- Certified to be safe and free from hazardous chemicals
- Needs the base to work
- Traveling with the base can be a hassle
5. Clek Oobr High Back Booster Car Seat
For mothers with children who have outgrown their car seats, booster seats are the best option for you!
Clek car seats are some of the most trustworthy products without harmful flame retardant chemicals on the market!
Although, only their Mammoth and Full Moon variants are made without flame retardants. These are made from merino wool, which is organic and naturally fire and stain-resistant!
Merino wool also naturally adapts to different climates. When it’s hot, it can help regulate body temperature to keep it cool, and when it’s cold, it provides warmth and good insulation!
I’ve used this car seat for my kid in different temperatures, and I’m happy that he felt comfortable and happy every time!
This booster seat has a rigid LATCH system that locks it securely in place. It’s also built similarly to a regular car seat.
It has an all-metal substructure and an adjustable headrest that’s built with foam layers to absorb all kinds of impact!
You can also recline this flame-retardant-free car seat for up to 12 degrees, which is great for adding comfort to long rides for your child.
My baby and I can enjoy long, peaceful rides in the car thanks to this infant seat!
If your child outgrows the height of the backrest, you can easily remove it and continue using this product for a longer time!
- Organic fabric is naturally flame-retardant-free
- Structure and foam work well at absorbing impact
- Recline gives more comfort
- Removable backrest makes it work for a longer time
- Might not fit in some cars
6. UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat
UPPAbaby non-toxic car seats are some of the best high-end baby products out there.
The MESA Car Seat is the first to be recognized by the Ecology Center as SAFE and without flame retardants!
This product is made of polyester and merino wool blend fabric that keeps babies warm in colder climates, and cool in hotter climates. It’s naturally flame retardant too!
I’m no handyman, but the installation process was very fast and easy, thanks to SMART Secure system!
With visual indicators to tell me it’s safely installed, I just have to focus on the road and not worry a thing!
It has an adjustable headrest, side-impact protection, and a UPF 25+ canopy too!
If you own any of these strollers, going for the MESA Car Seat is a no-brainer. The UPPAbaby travel system is one of the best ones out there!
This car seat is suited for babies that are 5 lbs to 35 lbs, or 32 inches tall. However, it also works great for preemies.
It has a low harness position and the built-in infant insert has a wedge that puts your preemie in a flatter and safer position.
- Works great for preemies and infants
- Design and visual indicators make it easy to install
- Naturally flame-retardant-free
- Seamlessly attaches to UPPAbaby strollers
- Still needs adapters to work for other strollers
- Some parents noted that sticker details interfere with breathability
7. Clek Fllo Convertible Car Seat
Much like the Clek Oobr, this convertible car seat is made of merino wool fabric. It’s naturally flame and stain-resistant, and it works great for different climates!
What I love about the Fllo is how COMPACT it is! It’s narrow enough that you can fit THREE of these in the back seat!
I can bring my baby and some friends on a trip too!
These toxic-free car seats also have built-in rebound bars for added impact protection. You can use these for rear-facing until your child reaches 50 lbs!
Similar to the Oobr, this has an all-metal substructure and foam layers that work great at absorbing all sorts of impact with an adjustable headrest too! This was designed to work for ages 6 months to 72 months.
Clek also offers the Foonf, which is a step higher than the Fllo. The core features are the same, but the Foonf is heavier by 10 lbs, has a detachable rebound bar, and has more recline options for comfortability.
The Mammoth and Twilight variants are the only two options that are made from merino wool and free from chemicals.
- Naturally free from toxic chemicals
- Structure and foam work well at absorbing impact
- Built-in rebound bar adds more protection
- Can be used for rear-facing up to 50 lbs
- Compact design makes it easier to fit
- Some parents found it difficult to install
8. Maxi-Cosi Mico Max Plus PureCosi Infant Car Seat
Maxi-Cosi is a popular brand that sells a lot of car seats. Out of all their products, they have two non-toxic car seats in the market today.
One of them is this wonderful and adaptable infant seat!
This seat is made of polyester fabric that you can remove and machine wash. It’s FREE from flame retardants, PFAs, and other harmful chemicals.
Maxi-Cosi car seats have a patented Air Protect technology that adds great side-impact protection for your baby. Its PureCosi fabric also gives a premium cushion and cozy feel on your baby’s head and neck!
I’ve driven on my share of bumpy roads, but this car seat kept my baby safe and sound with NO harm done!
Additionally, Maxi-Cosi car seats can carry babies up to 30 lbs, which is a bit lower than the usual 32 lbs for infant seats. It also comes with a base that has an anti-rotation stability leg.
This works great for stability in case of accidents!
Although, what makes this seat stand out is how ADAPTABLE it is. If I want to my baby to the park instead, I can prop this up on my stroller, no problem!
There are a lot of variants you can pick, but the PureCosi Onyx Bliss is the only option that’s free from flame retardant chemicals.
- Compatible with a lot of different strollers
- Patented technology works great for child safety
- No harmful chemicals used
- Easy to install
- Some parents found it hard to fit inside their car
How to Choose the Best Non-Toxic Car Seats
I know there is a lot of pressure when choosing a car seat; after all, your baby’s safety is on the line!
But don’t worry! Here are the main factors I look for in car seats to assure that I choose the best and safest one!
Car seats go through rigorous testing for safety, chemicals, and so on and must be approved according to two regulations: ECE R44 and UNR 129-Size.
It is best to choose car seats that have PASSED official safety standards and are certified as SAFE and toxin-free!
Remember to check the NHTSA rating of your seat to see if it’s overall safe for a baby to ride in.
Choose a seat that emits ZERO harmful chemicals and is only made of baby-safe materials.
Some materials to look for include organic cotton and soy foam.
Choose seats that are flame-retardant-free and contain NO phthalates, heavy metals, PVC, or BPA.
GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard), GREENGUARD Gold, OEKO-Tex certifications are indicators that the seat is made WITHOUT toxic chemicals, so keep an eye out for these!
Age, Height, and Weight Limit
There are different kinds of car seats that cater to different ages, weights, and heights.
You may need a baby car seat, convertible car seat, or booster seat, depending on what your kid needs (I’ll discuss more of later).
- Baby car seats are meant for newborns to around 1 year old.
- You can upgrade your kid to a convertible car seat once they reach at least 15 months until around 4 years or longer.
- Booster seats are meant for bigger kids (around 8-13 years old) who have outgrown standard car seats
Installation and Security
You want a seat that is easy to install and attaches securely to the car. A difficult installation is likely a wrong installation and will lead to accidents!
The car seats must be installed CORRECTLY every use, and the only way yo guarantee that is if it is easy to install to begin with.
Look for extra safety features as well, such as a 5-point harness and side impact protection layers.
Comfort is super important for a baby, especially if you’ll be going on long family trips.
Ensure that the car seat is made of soft, gentle, and baby-safe materials; this also applies to every part of the car seat, like the safety harness and cushioning.
When you secure your baby, make sure they are not too tight or that the seat is soft enough to put them at ease during the car ride.
Only then can you prevent a crying baby for the entire trip!
It also help to stop and take breaks; take your baby out of their seat to allow them to stretch; staying in one position for long hours will only make them uncomfy.
If you’re going to be traveling a lot with your baby, you’d want a car seat that can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
A good car seat can stay intact after several uses, keeping your baby safe and secure for every ride. Ensure that there are no loose or defective parts; otherwise, it may be time to replace it.
Lastly, you want a car seat that is well within your budget.
Since a car seat will only add your already-long list of expenses, find an AFFORDABLE one that is also safe and durable.
If you travel a lot, you may benefit from a more expensive one as you will be using it more often, so you will need the extra features.
Additionally, check if the car seat of choice comes with a warranty, so you can be assured that any damages are covered.
Why Choose a Non-Toxic Car Seat?
I mean, why not?
Non-toxic car seats guarantee your baby’s safety during long car rides as they are not exposed to harmful chemicals, giving the parents peace of mind!
Other than that, non-toxic car seats are more environmentally-friendly, given that they are made with organic materials that are safe for the baby.
They are also likely to LAST LONG, so much so that parents can pass them down to younger children!
Who wouldn’t want to ensure their baby’s safety during a family road trip?
Types of Car Seats
There are three main types of car seats you would see in the market. Take a look and see which type will work best for you and your children.
Infant Car Seats
From the name itself, this infant car seats are meant for infants. In terms of weight, most of these car seats accommodate babies weighing within 4 to 35 lbs.
Infant seats have a lower recline design that’s meant for infants, and these are meant to be rear-facing. Rear-facing would mean your little one is facing the back of the car.
This is recommended for infants because, in case of an accident, a rear-facing position would absorb more impact from a crash. This will protect your developing baby’s head, neck, and spine that a front-facing car seat wouldn’t be able to give!
Convertible Car Seats
A convertible car seat gives the most value out of all the car seats. Convertible car seats are designed to adapt and grow with your baby. These can work for infants and toddlers!
There are different kinds of convertibles, but the most versatile ones are the all-in-one convertible car seats. These can hold infants up to toddlers that weigh 120 lbs!
If you already have full-grown children that have outgrown their infant or convertible car seats, then a booster seat is what you should look for.
These car seats are bigger and designed for older children. If you ask us, buying an all-in-one convertible would be best for long-term use.
Although, if you weren’t able to buy a convertible car seat right from the beginning, then it’s not too late to pick up a great booster seat for their safety!
Plus, for whatever seat type you choose, just be sure you know the right techniques on how to keep your infant cool in his car seat. Sometimes babies can get fussy so it’s best to keep them comfortable.
Benefits of Non-Toxic Car Seats
There are several reasons why non-toxic car seats are a GREAT investment!
Here’s a few of them.
- Durability – These car seats are made for long-term use, meaning you will likely not have to buy a new one! You can even pass these down to younger kids once your first kid has outgrown them.
- Environmentally-friendly – Thanks to their organic and baby-safe materials, these seats are more eco-friendly and therefore, safer for your baby.
- Extra safety – On top of the organic materials, these car seats go the extra mile to keep your baby safe with additional features that aren’t present in standard car seats.
- Comfort – Non-toxic car seats also have an extra layer of comfort thanks to their breathable and non-irritating materials.
Drawbacks of Non-Toxic Car Seats
Of course, with all these goodies come some reasons a non-toxic car seat may set you back.
Here are some possible drawbacks you may experience. Make sure to factor these in on your next purchase!
- Expensive – Non-toxic car seats are likely more expensive because of the higher-end materials extra features.
- Limited availability – Because of how high-end they are, some car seats may be hard to find in some areas.
- Difficult to install – Some car seats may different from regular ones in terms of installation, making the installation process more difficult.
Flame Retardant Chemicals in Car Seats
Like what I mentioned before, it was common for flame retardant chemicals to be used on car seats. To add more context, this is because of regulations that required companies to test their products for flammability.
This anti-flammability test isn’t so great for moms who are concerned about the harmful effects flame retardants can give children.
For the past few years, car seat companies tried to deal with this by using naturally flame retardant materials like wool. Some use synthetic materials like polyester too. Not only are these materials safe for babies, but they pass flammability tests as well!
This is a great step in the right direction for future infant car seats, and hopefully, more companies can follow suit!
The research on car seat flame retardant chemicals just keeps growing, and it’s thanks a lot to the Ecology Center!
They review, test, and contact different companies if their non-toxic car seats are truly non-toxic and free of flame retardants.
If your seat isn’t on their list, then that means at least one kind of flame retardant chemical is present. What should you do if your current seat isn’t on their list?
The best course of action is to buy a non-toxic car seat to replace your older car seats. Although, I understand how expensive these car seats can be. Not all of them are usable for a long time too!
If buying new car seats is out of the question, then I suggest regularly cleaning your child’s seat or avoid exposing it to heat.
This won’t get rid of the chemical flame retardants present in the car seat, but it can help reduce its harmful effects from reaching your children.
Aside from the Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat, which has one component with phosphate-based flame retardant chemicals, all other car seats in my list can be found in the Ecology Center Flame Retardant-Free Car Seats list.
That should ease your mind and make things easier for you to pick the best non-toxic seat for you.
What Are Flame Retardants?
A lot of baby products use chemical flame retardants for different kinds of baby essentials.
To avoid these flame retardant chemicals from affecting your children, buying organic or non-toxic baby products would be best.
There are two main types of flame retardant chemicals:
- One being toxic halogenated flame retardants, which brominated and chlorinated-based flame retardants fall under. These are considered to be the most toxic flame retardants.
- The other type would be non-halogenated flame retardants, which phosphate and nitrogen-based flame retardants would fall under. These are supposedly safe compared to halogenated ones, but there’s still some cause for concern.
Added flame retardants are a big no-no for children because of several health hazards that have been linked to them!
The most common flame retardant is TDCPP, a chlorinated-based flame retardant. This flame retardant has been linked to cancer and was actually banned from being used on children’s pajamas in 1977.
Flame retardants have also been linked to endocrine disruption, neurological problems, and your child’s overall development!
Best Practices to Deal With Flame Retardants
Flame retardants are still present in a lot of products like furniture, electronics, and cars. These toxic flame retardants usually leach out into the environment and can be harmful to your baby.
Babies usually inhale flame retardants when they break down into dust. They can also ingest them orally from objects they put in their mouths, like pacifiers.
It’s IMPOSSIBLE to completely protect your babies from flame retardants. The best thing we can do as parents is to make sure we reduce the chances of exposure as much as possible.
Flame retardants usually leach out from products faster when mixed with heat.
If it’s the summertime or if you’re in a hot climate, avoid leaving car seats and other baby products inside the car. If your car is parked outside your home, it would be best to store these inside your house instead.
If you parked your car outside somewhere else, stroller-compatible car seats or a spacious diaper bag to keep your baby products would be best.
These would ensure that no products are left and exposed to heat inside the car.
Of course, if you end up buying any of the car seats listed above, you don’t have to worry about any of these chemicals harming your baby.
Just be sure to also note in your Baby Preparation Checklist to steer clear from flame retardants for your other items.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you have any more questions on car seats and their safety, you can refer to the following section for some insight!
Can a Baby Stay in Car Seat 5 Hours?
5 hours in a car or a baby may be too extreme.
If you are planning a long trip by car, do not keep your baby in the car for more than 2 hours.
For newborns, refrain from traveling altogether. It is advised to keep them in a car for only 30 minutes.
What Brand of Infant Car Seat is the Safest?
Some of the safest infant car seat brands I can recommend are the forever-reliable Maxi-Cosi, Clek, and Brtiax
These brands are highly recommended for their ultra-safety features, and high quality organic materials.
How Do I Clean and Maintain a Baby Car Seat?
To clean an infant car seat, check the manufacturing instructions to see what can and can’t be done.
You can start by vacuuming or dusting any debris off the seat. For stains, an all-purpose cleaner OR damp cloth and soap combination should do the trick.
The same process applies to the harnesses!
If your seat comes with a seat cover, check if it is machine-washable. If it is, you can throw it in the washing machine, no problem!
Store the seat properly in a cool, dry place maintain its condition. DO NOT leave it in the car as it can get very hot, which could damage it.
Lastly, regularly check for damages, such as broken parts, cracks, and so on.Replace these damages immediately!
The Britax One4Life ClickTight All-in-One Car Seat is my top pick from all the non-toxic car seats on this list. A single purchase can last you up to 10 years, just make sure to take care of it well! This product checks all boxes for a safe car seat that’s easy to use for anyone!
For those with infants, I’m sticking with the same company and recommending the Britax B-Safe Endeavours Infant Car Seat. It might not be the lightest and most adaptable infant seat, but it has the best features for safety, security, and ease of use.
The Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat may not be 100% free from flame retardant chemicals, but it’s still safe enough for your baby. With over 13,000 reviews, a lot of parents find this a practical buy that will last them a long time!
Another good travel essential to have is an organic carrier for your baby. Many car seats can even be used to help lull your infant to sleep while in transit.