PFAS and Flame Retardant Free Booster Seats
Crash test rated without unnecessary chemicals
If you have a kiddo who has grown out of the forward facing car seat, it's time to get a booster seat! Just like infant and convertible car seats, booster seats can have unnecessary harmful chemicals like add flame retardants and PFAS (a Teflon like stain resistance coating). Since these chemicals have been linked to multiple developmental health effects, we like to steer clear whenever we can. Luckily, car seat manufacturers have caught on and are making some great options with natural fabrics. The three we recommend are the Nuna AACE, Clek Oobr mammoth merino wool fabrics, and Britax Grow with You in Safewash Fabrics.
Non-Toxic Booster Seat
What is a booster seat? Well unlike a car seat that has 5 point harness, a booster seat uses the car's seatbelt to keep your kid safe. All forward facing car seats have their own manufacturer's weight and height limits and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids use a car seat with a 5 point harness until they reach these limits. The earliest this usually happens is around age 5. A booster seat helps raise up your kid so that the seat belt fits properly over their hips and collar bones instead of resting on their tummies and face. A booster also helps so that their legs bend at the knees instead sticking out straight. Most booster seats start off with a high back and then transition to a backless version that is more convenient for traveling and ride sharing when your kid is big enough. In fact, most kids are not ready to use the seat belt in a vehicle until they are 10-12. So whatever booster you get, you'll likely be using it for at least 5 years!
That's part of the reason why it's important to invest in a flame retardant and PFAS free non-toxic booster seat. Perfluroalkyl substances (PFAS), sometimes called PFOA and PFOS, which are specific types of PFAS or PFCs which stands for per- and polyfluorinated chemicals, are used in a variety of different products (more than just pots and pans) because they are water and oil resistant. While that does sounds really appealing for the fabric of a car seat, the health risks might not be worth it. Scientists have found that PFAS chemicals do not break down easily and can live in our bodies for long periods of time. Research has shown that PFAS can cause reproductive and developmental difficulties, liver and kidney problems, as well as increased cholesterol levels. Other worries include: an altered immune system, thyroid hormone disruption, and cancers.
Flame retardants are a group of chemicals that are added to a variety of different products to help them meet flammability standards. While a car seat not catching on fire during a crash is also very appealing, there are other ways to meet flammability standards nowadays without these added chemical flame retardants. More and more car seat manufacturers are doing this because scientists have shown that as flame retardants accumulate in our bodies, they can cause problems like cancers, decreased fertility in both men and women, impacts on the immune system, disruption to the regulation and creation of hormones, and lower IQ and hyperactivity in kids. (1)
So if you're looking for a PFAS and flame retardant free booster seat, check out these three options below. All three get a Best Bet rating (the highest rating) from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), so you can feel good that they are crash tested to keep your kid safe as well. More and more car seat manufacturers are making non-toxic booster seats, so hopefully there will be more and more options in the coming years.
a) Nuna AACE The Nuna AACE is Greenguard Gold certified for low chemical emissions! There is an adjustable headrest, and an extendible, expandable seat with eight recline positions to keep your kid comfortable as well.
b) Clek Oobr mammoth merino wool fabrics The Clek Oobr is a safety all-star and also reclines for comfort. Make sure to pick one up with a merino wool fabric, which is naturally fire retardant and easy to spot clean so there are no added chemicals.
c) Britax Grow with You in Safewash Fabrics The Britax Grow with You booster actually starts off with a harness that is removable for when your kid is big enough to use the vehicle seat belt. It reclines and the Safewash fabric is safe to machine wash and dry and is also flame retardant free.