Findings releases new test results for a variety of products throughout the year. Our findings section highlights the latest set of test results, discusses overall trends and important findings for each set of products tested.

2011 Childrens Car Seat Findings

Overall Findings

  • Consumer products throughout our economy, including children's car seats contain harmful chemicals that are linked to reproductive problems, developmental and learning disabilities, hormone imbalances and cancer.
  • Over 150, 2011-model car seats were sampled from retail locations based in Michigan. This is a follow-up study to car seats sampled in 2008 (131) and 2009 (58).
  • Brands tested include: Alpha Sport, Baby Trend, Britax, Chicco, Clek, Combi, Compass, Dorel Juvenile Group (Cosco, Eddie Bauer, Maxi-Cosi, Safety First), Evenflo, Fisher Price, Graco, Harmony Juvenile, Orbit Baby, Peg Perego, Recaro, Sunshine Kids, Teutonia, The First Years.
  • Brominated flame retardant chemicals that are either deemed toxic or that lack adequate health safety data were detected in 44% percent of the 2011 car seats tested.
  • Over half (60%) of car seats contained one or more hazardous chemicals tested for (including PVC, BFRs and heavy metals).
  • Overall, car seats are improving. Between 2008 and 2011:
    • average seat ranking improved by 64% (1.5 - 2009 to 0.9 - 2011);
    • number of car seats with BFRs declined by 18% (63% 2009 to 44% in 2011)
  • However, some companies continue to use more potentially hazardous BFRs in their products than others in the industry. These include Baby Trend (100%), Recaro (100%), and Britax (84%).

Best and Worst Car Seats

Worst 2011 Car Seats:

  • Infant Seat: Graco Snugride 35 in Edgemont Red/Black & Graco SnugRide 30 in Asprey
  • Convertible Seat: Britax Marathon 70 in Jet Set & Britax Marathon in Platinum
  • Booster Seat: Recaro Pro Booster in Blue Opal & Recaro ProSPORT Toddler in Misty

Best 2011 Car Seats:

  • Infant Seat: Chicco KeyFit 30 in Limonata, Graco Snugride 35 in Laguna Bay & Combi Shuttle 33 in Cranberry Noche
  • Convertible Carseat: Graco Comfort Sport in Caleo, Graco MyRide 65 in Chandler and Streamer, Safety 1st OnSide Air in Clearwater, and Graco Nautilus Elite 3-in-1 in Gabe
  • Booster Seat: Graco Turbo Booster in Anders

There are healthy car seats!

Car seats are necessary to safeguard children in cars, but hazardous chemicals are not necessary to make a quality car seat for children and infants. The majority of seats are now manufactured without BFRs. The best car seat list above contains are examples of seats which do not contain PVC or Lead and do not use brominated flame retardants. only tests for a limited set of chemicals of concern. Car seats may also contain other chemical hazards, including chlorinated flame retardants (CFRs), which were NOT tested for in this study. is asking all car seat manufacturers to disclose and eliminate all hazardous chemical additives in their products.


NOTE: is an initial screening of chemicals in products for a handful of hazardous chemicals. There are a number of chemicals of concern that the X-ray fluorescence (XRF) device and cannot detect. For example, there has been much concern recently about bisphenol A, a component of polycarbonate plastic. The XRF device is not able to detect bisphenol A, nor can it identify polycarbonate. In addition, the XRF device cannot detect phthalates, a family of chemicals of concern, although we have used the presence of PVC plastic as a surrogate for the likely presence of phthalates. ratings do not provide a measure of health risk or chemical exposure associated with any individual product, or any individual element or related chemical. ratings only provide a relative measure of high, medium, and low level of concern or concentrations of several hazardous chemicals or chemical elements in product in comparison to criteria established in the methodology.

Inline HTML

This content comes from a hidden element on this page.

The inline option preserves bound JavaScript events and changes, and it puts the content back where it came from when it is closed.

Click me, it will be preserved!

If you try to open a new ColorBox while it is already open, it will update itself with the new content.

Updating Content Example:
Click here to load new content