Chemical alert on child car seats

Original Article: Three out of 19 child car seats tested by the consumer watchdog were found to contain the cancer- causing chemical formaldehyde.

Tests by the Consumer Council and International Consumer Research and Testing also found other harmful substances, including plasticizer and flame retardants.

The council advised parents to wash the cover and cushion of the seat before using it for the first time to remove formaldehyde – which can also cause allergies – from the surfaces.

Two car seats made in Italy – by Chicco and Peg Perego – and one made in China, by Cybex, were found to contain formaldehyde. The Italian-made car seats for infants cost HK$3,500 and HK$4,128 while the China-made one, for nine-month-old babies and above, costs HK$4,380.

They all claim to meet United Nations vehicle safety regulations.

Council chief executive Connie Lau Yin-hing said formaldehyde can be washed away and that parents do not need to worry.

“Sometimes infants or children may have contact with the car seat surface with their mouth,” she said. “Parents should clean the cover and cushion of the seat before using it for the first time.”

She said the test results are a reference for parents before buying a car seat, adding that only high levels of formaldehyde in the body may damage health.

Plasticizer, which may affect glands, was also found in the fabric cover of two car seats – from France’s Bebe Confort and Maxi-Cosi of Portugal.

Two other models – China- made Chicco and Italian-made Chicco – were found to contain organotin compounds, which are industrial chemicals. One contained about 27 milligrams per kilogram, exceeding the limit of 1mg/kg for baby-product textiles.

Ten models were found to have flame retardants.

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