My Search for the Least Toxic Car Seat Available in Canada

Posted on Oct 1, 2013

**UPDATE AUGUST 7 2015 My new pick for best non-toxic seat

**UPDATE JULY 22nd 2014:  Unfortunately it looks like DIONO and ORBIT are not being truthful to their consumers and their carseats have both tested positive for the flame retardant TDCPP (Tris) by Duke university.  This is something tht was banned from children’s pajamas in the 70s but apparently still fair game in other children’s items.  This makes me so angry!! I no longer recommend any car seats and am eagerly awaiting the results of the new healthystuff.org testing.  Their first test gave me very little optimism that any of the manufacturers have made a change, take a look for yourself:(**

Sifting through the details of what is important to avoid when it comes to buying baby stuff can be exhausting, stressful and infuriating. I like to save most of my energy for the key issues that I feel are most important. The areas that bring me the greatest concern are the things that my children will be exposed to for long periods of time or will be putting in their mouths; think mattresses, car seats, household air quality & food.

My latest bout with eco-anxiety happened after I stumbled across a study done by HealthyStuff.org of the toxic chemicals found in Car seats. Let’s just say it took a couple stiff swigs of Kombucha and some serious neti pot nasal cleansing before I was finally able to wrap my head around being able to leave the house and put my son back into his chemical seat… I mean car seat hehehe.

Kombucha neti pot

I had already purchased a Graco MyRide Convertible seat for my eldest son before ever reading this study but I got lucky and the seat he had been using was rated in their “low” category. Unfortunately this study was done in 2011 and hasn’t been updated since but it has still been helpful since it reminded me of a whole new set of criteria to take into account when car seat shopping. After this study came out Graco and Britax made some commitments to cut the use of some chemicals in their car seats by 2013, so as soon as I was pregnant again last year I started researching like crazy to find a seat that was safe for baby #2. I quickly found myself very disappointed, why on earth does this remain so difficult? As far as I can tell from all my research, Graco and Britax still have yet to phase out using fire-retardant chemicals in their materials. The good news is that I found some less toxic seats in Canada and even better, I found them on sale.

The Front Runners

**UPDATE JULY 22nd 2014:  Unfortunately it looks like DIONO and ORBIT are not being truthful to their consumers and their carseats have both tested positive for flame retardant TDCPP (Tris) by Duke university.  This is something tht was banned from children’s pajamas in the 70s but apparently still fair game in other children’s items.  This makes me so angry!! I no longer recommend any car seats and am eagerly awaiting the results of the new healthystuff.org testing.  Their first test gave me very little optimism that any of the manufacturers have made a change, take a look for yourself:(**

I found three car seats that were attempting to be less toxic: The Diono RadianRXT in Storm or Rugby and the Orbit Baby line.

Orbit manages to meet the flame retardant regulations using Oeko-Tex standard 100 fabrics. These fabrics cannot contain any of the following:

  • legally banned and controlled substances
  • chemicals known to be harmful to the health (but not yet legally controlled)
  • parameters for health protection

Taken in their entirety, the requirements go far beyond existing national legislation.

Their website also goes on to state: ‘The more closely the product is in contact with the skin, the stricter the human ecology requirements that it must meet’

In my mind this makes Orbit a very good (albeit pricey) option for infant car seat, unfortunately their toddler convertible is not yet available in Canada. I emailed them to find out when it would be and sadly this was the response I received:

Lezlie, Jul 25 10:33 (PDT):

Hello Tania,

Thank you for contacting Orbit Baby. I would like to address your inquiry right away.

Unfortunately, the Toddler Car Seat G2 is not approved for use in Canada. The process for receiving approval is a long tedious one. I, unfortunately, do not have a time frame as to when it might be available in Canada.

I am sorry that I do not have better news for you.

Best Regards,

Lezlie
Customer Care Associate
Certified Child Passenger Safety Technician #T710994

 

What I Bought

Since I needed to figure something out for right now, I went for what I saw as the only other option, the Diono. Here she is in all her glory set up in my sister’s sedan so she can take Warner for outings while we wait for baby Sully to grow out of his bucket seat. Certainly a lot more compact than the Graco MyRide!

Diono RadianRXT storm

Not only do they declare right on their website that they don’t require any additional flame retardants on the Storm or Rugby fabrics it also has extremely good crash ratings and a 4.5 out of 5 on Amazon.com for customer reviews. It doesn’t hurt that it has one of the largest weight ranges and can be used from birth until well… adulthood, since it converts to a booster with a weight limit of 120lbs. If you are petite and into safety then don’t let me be the one to stop you! In fact it sounded so good I thought I would give it a try… #toobigforacarseat (I may have spent a little too much time watching this & looking at this ).

 

Diono RadianRXT least toxic car seat

My Purchase breakdown $$$

I did my usual research for the lowest price (MSRP is $359.99) and then waited patiently for a sale. It went down to $305.99 so I pulled the trigger and bought the Diono Radian RXT Storm Convertible Car Seat (Storm) on Amazon.ca. Of course this wouldn’t be The Free Baby if the deal stopped there! To save even more I made sure to go through the ebates.ca link (and received 1% back on baby items), used some Amazon.ca gift certificates I had previously earned via Swagbucks and as always used my favorite Canadian cash back credit card to pay.

Take Advantage of This Fab Deal Before it’s Too Late (Ends Oct 3rd!)

I just found a REALLY great deal for you on the Diono RadianRXT in Rugby. It is now on sale on Shop.ca with free shipping for $305.99. Then to save another $100 off this sale price follow these steps:

1. Sign up through this link at Shop.ca and you get a $25 credit on a minimum spend of $100.
2. Sign up for an Ebates.ca account and go through their link to Shop.ca for a whopping 20% back. (If you already have an Ebates account you don’t need to sign up but just make sure to go through their link to the shop.ca site).
3. Once on Shop.ca, Browse to the Diono RadianRXT in Rugby and add to cart, apply shop.ca credit. Enter SAVETEN into promo code.
4. Then if you have a Paypal account in good standing you will get an extra $25 credit just for paying with that account (Redeem by 10/14/13. Limit one Offer per PayPal account. $100 minimum)

Bringing the price down to $195.99 !! Breakdown:

Starting with a sale price of $305.99
-$25 Shop.ca credit
-$25 Paypal Credit
-$10 off with promo code SAVETEN
-$50 20% back via ebates.ca

I noticed that they also have the Orbit G2 infant seat in Black! It isn’t on sale but you can still take advantage of all the promotions listed above to get a great price!

Moving Forward

I really hope there is a whole new generation of healthy car seats available to us soon because the selection in Canada is very small and very expensive! My hope is that people continue to do this research like me and start making informed healthy choices by buying the least toxic baby items, leaving the manufacturers with no choice but to react.

(Note: Some of the links in this post are referral links. If you purchase something through our links, thank you. We appreciate your support!)

4 Comments

  1. The Free Baby » Let’s Keep Car Seat Manufacturers Accountable!
    July 6, 2014

    […] against the lack of accountability manufacturers show. In a previous post that covered my search Canada’s least toxic car seats I included a link to the HealthyStuff.org’s online database ranking popular products on how […]

    Reply
  2. Aglaee Jacob
    August 27, 2014

    How disappointing. I was feeling really excited about getting the Diono Radian car seat but I really don’t want to encourage a company that isn’t truthful with their customers. I don’t even know how that can possibly be legal… 🙁 I really need to get a car seat now and still don’t know what to do. What a shame that we don’t have any safe option! I guess I’ll have to get whatever affordable car seat out there and put a gas mask on my baby and us while we’re in the car. ;(
    Thanks again for your work.

    Reply
  3. Carrie
    June 27, 2015

    Which Diono model and fabric color tested positive? It’s hard to tell from your statement if it’s across the board for the brand or if only certain models tested positive. I did not see Diono listed at all in the report. Any more information you can give is greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    • Tania
      June 27, 2015

      Sorry for not being more clear, I pulled the info about Diono testing positive for tris from the comments on this post which is very informative: https://naturalbabymama.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/a-safe-but-non-toxic-car-seat/
      A bunch of commenters had their seats tested and it appears that both rugby and storm tested positive 🙁 Her is an excerpt from the blog author found in the comments:

      naturalbabymama Post author

      June 10, 2014 at 2:12 pm
      This is what Diono keeps telling people but several Diono Rugby or Storm car seats have been tested by Duke and they are showing Tris.

      Reply

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