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HealthyStuff.org, the Michigan nonprofit agency behind the report, recently analyzed over 150 car seats for the presence of flame retardant chemicals, which have been linked to learning disabilities and developmental problems. Virtually every car seat tested contained some of the toxins.
Now before you completely freak out, consider this: Your child’s chance of dying in a car crash is far, far greater than his chance of being harmed by chemicals in his car seat. And HealthyStuff.org strongly supports the continued use of car seats, no matter what. "None of the results of our findings mean you shouldn't have a car seat, even if that car seat is the poorest one we tested," said Jeff Gearhart, research director for the group. "Parents should use a car seat regardless of what our tests show.”
That's because child safety seats reduce an infant’s risk of death in a car crash by 71% and decrease the risk for toddlers and preschoolers by 54%, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What's more, nearly 9000 children were saved between 1975 and 2008 because they were snuggly strapped in their car seats, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
It's also because it's not clear what amount of the toxins actually escape the car seat and enter your child's system. This is one of those times when you need to weigh the risks. If you're in the market for a new car seat and this news worries you, you can consider one of the five least-toxic models below, after you've done your research based on essential safety factors, like how the car seat will fit your child and whether it's a good match for your car. Otherwise, just take a deep breath and worry about something else.
1.Graco Turbo Booster in Anders
2.Graco SnugRide 35 in Laguna Bay
3.The Chicco Keyfit 30 in Limonata
4.Combi Shuttle 33 in Cranberry Noche
5.Graco SnugRide 35 in Flint