When buying carseats there are two additional green options to consider. 1. The toxins in the carseats. Read more. 2. The plastic and waste in the carseats themselves (which are hard or impossible to recycle and can also be associated with the toxins above.) Read more.
How to find a greener carseat
- Check out the toxin rating of your carseat on Healthy Stuff.
- Consider buying a used carseat. If you are interested in buying a used carseat I suggest you get one from someone you know, from a social service organization, or from Craigslist or another social sharing/selling site and arrange an interview with the person. (I have noticed that there is A LOT of shaming that happens if parents want or need to buy used carseats. I suggest parents not let this get to them, the carseat industry has spent a lot of money projecting the message that a new seat is the only way to go. This, however, is not backed by science: even brand new seats are a lot less safe than most think. The key comes in installing and using the seat correctly. I grew up poor and I live part of the year in the developing world, and sometimes a person has to just do the best they can.)
If you are buying a used carseat:1. check the expiration date,2. call the manufacturer and ensure it isn’t recalled,3. do a visual and smell check to make sure it looks to be in good working order and doesn’t smell like chemicals, perfumes, or cigarette smoke,4. make sure you get the User’s Manual.5. only take the used carseat from someone who knows its whole history and knows it was not involved in a crash5. And, double check with your gut, a mother’s instincts are powerful.Oh, and one more thing, don’t try and buy a used carseat in the U.S. and use it in Canada or vice versa. Unless a carseat has the seal of approval from the country in which you want to use it, the exact same make and model of carseat, is considered invalid
- Integrated carseat systems. Integrated Carseat Systems (like what you can still find in a Volvo) are very safe and never expire and you don’t have to recycle them.
- Carseat “vests.” I ended up buying a Ride Safer Vest. It’s the closest thing I could find to the Integrated Carseat System described above. Sort of like a race car driver vest that the child wears and that forces the straps into the correct location. I love this system because it is very lightweight and easy to carry in the suitcase when traveling. Check it out on Amazon. (These are legal in the U.S., but last I checked they were only legal in Canada with a doctors note.)
- For slightly less wasteful carseats there are ones that use less plastic, are easily portable, and there are some systems that last longer than others.
You can see more on expiration dates from the Canadian Transport. I loved the Sit ‘n’ Stroll which is a carseat and stroller in one and thus great if you use transit and taxis a lot or travel. (Check it out on Amazon.com)
- Booster seats. I was pretty excited when my kids were finally in a booster seat. I got the lightest, most narrow, and safest backless booster I could find. Lucky for me, it was also one of the most affordable. The booster seat I have is the Harmony. The Ride Safer Vest is also available in bigger sizes for this age. And there is also the inflatable, easy to fit in your purse, BubbleBum booster (hard to find in Canada though).
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