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Orbit Baby Car Seat Concerns: Sprout’s Response

Suzanne Price

A customer wrote on our Facebook page yesterday asking about a recent study that claimed to have found some toxic chemicals on an Orbit Baby car seat. We were immediately concerned and contacted the company. Below is Orbit’s very thorough response. We continue to believe that if you would like to help your child avoid the harshest flame retardant chemicals, Orbit’s Infant System is the best option out there.

Please read below the response from Vivian Chiang, one of Orbit’s founders:

HealthyStuff.org recently released a study on chemicals found in child car seats, including Orbit Baby.  As you know, we use third party certified materials; our fabrics and foams on our G2 products adhere to the international Oeko-Tex® Standard 100, and we are the only car seat and stroller company with this certification.

Chemical testing is a complex and confusing subject at hand, so I’ll try my best to explain:

  1. XRF Screening is only a preliminary screening tool, and often leads to imprecise results: HealthyStuff.org used a method called XRF screening, and it is important to remember that it is just a screening tool designed to allow you to analyze many samples inexpensively in a short amount of time. The device is essentially a gun that you point, push a button, and get readings. I’m sure many of your pregnant moms can relate on this point: during the 1st trimester of pregnancy, the doctor will ask you to get a 1st trimester screening. This test comes back with a bunch of numbers which tells you the likelihood of having a baby with a genetic abnormality. And the doctors always say, it’s just a screening test. If you want to know for sure whether or not your baby will have a problem, you need to get the amniocentesis. That’s the only way you’ll know for sure.
  2. Orbit Baby performs additional higher precision testing on our products to ensure safety: The only way you can accurately know if a product contains these harmful chemicals is to perform a more scientific “wet chemistry test”. Government chemical safety laws are designed around wet chemistry tests since XRF can lead to inconclusive results. Wet chemistry tests are performed in a lab, by trained chemists, who essentially destruct the object at a precise level in order to get accurate results of the sample’s composition.
  3. Unreliable test samples: In this case, we suspect that HealthyStuff.org took the majority of their XRF readings from floor display units at a local baby store. We suspect this because it would have been financially difficult to purchase hundreds of car seats of the latest models, let alone locate all the different color ways. Imagine what could end up on these floor model samples that have been on display for months and touched by hundreds of customers? As a result, the samples may not be reliable. For example, salt is made of sodium chloride, so if a customer had some French fries and rubbed their fingers on a car seat upholstery, the XRF gun would likely pick up chlorine.
  4. Variability in results across different models of the same brand: If you were to look at other car seats in the report, you’ll see that the exact same car seat tested high for some colors, and low in other colors. Again, this points to possible inaccuracies of the XRF screening method.
  5. HealthyStuff.org testing has been inconsistent in the past: HealthyStuff.org previously tested our Toddler Car Seat as one of the best, but then gave the generation-one Infant Car Seat a much lower rating. This didn’t make sense to us because both products are largely made from the same fabrics and materials.

The bottom line is this: Orbit Baby stands behind the safety of our products 100%, and we are proud to go above and beyond to ensure our products are free of potentially harmful chemicals. Beyond XRF screening, we perform extensive testing on our fabrics and foams to ensure they are safe. We comply with chemical regulations not only in the US, but in Europe and Canada.

One of the reasons I started Orbit Baby with my husband, is that I wanted to create the safest possible car seat for my baby. I was pregnant with my first daughter at the time. Not only did I want my baby to be safe in a car seat, I also wanted her to be able to breathe clean air around her, which is why we took on the initiative of sourcing Oeko-Tex® Standard 100 certified fabrics. Both Chloe (five) and Zoe (turning four next month) have sat in Orbit Baby car seats their whole lives. I would only use these products if I had the utmost confidence in them, and would only want other parents to use them if I felt they were 100% safe. 

Please do pass along the above points to any customers who have questions about the recent report from HealthyStuff.org. You can also read more about our response here: http://www.orbitbaby.com/en/support/healthystuff/

All the best,
Vivian

Comments (3):

  • Jessica Bloc said on Tuesday, August 23rd, 1:31pm:

    This is a great article! Thanks for the tips!

    • Sprout San Francisco said on Wednesday, August 24th, 10:40am:

      We’re glad we could help!

  • natale said on Wednesday, August 24th, 10:43am:

    Agreed! Great article!