The Basics to Eco Baby Strollers

Why and How You Should Purchase a Natural Baby Stroller

Getting from point A to point B by being active and spending time outdoors walking your baby in a stroller is a great way to exercise, explore, learn, and enjoy fresh air and your neighborhood. Unfortunately conventional strollers may not be healthy for your baby. This article highlights key chemicals you should avoid and how to go about purchasing a healthier alternative from strollers made of natural materials to used baby strollers. 

 

Common chemicals in baby strollers

In general, baby strollers are made with a bevy of chemicals and materials that are something of a concern. Here are some features you should be seeking out while looking for eco stroller options for your little one:

  • Polyurethane foam: This is used to make baby mattresses, baby carriers, and baby car seats, polyurethane foam is full of chemicals including formaldehyde, toluene, formaldehyde, benzene, and surfactants, all of which can pose serious health hazards for your baby. Choose natural latex rubber or organic cotton batting for a healthier baby stroller.[1]
  • Polyvinylchloride (PVC): PVC can be used to make baby strollers, but it should be avoided if possible. Manufacturing and disposing of PVC creates dioxins which cause neurological, reproductive, developmental, and hormonal health problems.[2] PVC plastic is highly flexible and can be identified by the #3 in the chasing recycling arrows.
  • Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs): This is a class of flame retardants used widely for consumer products, including baby strollers. They can dissolve out of consumer products and be absorbed by the human body where they accumulate in our fat and resist degradation. Over time as they build up they can create health problems like decreased thyroid hormone levels, low birth weights in babies, hyperactivity, and even cancer.[3]

 

What to look for in an eco stroller

Making a greener stroller purchase starts with these eco-friendly features:

  • Longevity: Look for something that will grow and adjust as your child develops. That way you’ll only have to purchase one stroller for your child that will last them until they’re ready to sit in a big-person chair. Also look for one that will suit all of your needs rather than buying one for running, one for walking, and one for doing your errands. You’ll need less storage space, spend less money, and save resources by doing so.
  • Natural fabrics: Look for baby strollers that are made with eco-friendly fabrics like organic cotton and wool, bamboo, or recycled polyester (check out our fabric recommendations for organic baby carriers). Just as with any textile you buy for your baby (clothing, slings, wraps, or linens), choosing natural options will protect their health and the planet. And be sure to stay away from convenience finishes that make fabrics stain-resistant or flame retardants as these can be highly toxic.
  • Recyclability: If possible, look for options that are either made from natural materials that will break down in the environment when composted or from recyclable materials. Likely with something as complex as a baby swing there will be a mix of materials (metal, plastic, wood, etc), in which case you should be able to disassemble the chair once it’s outlived its usefulness so that each individual component can be recycled. Of course, if you can find one made with recycled materials, even better.
  • Secondhand: Always an eco-friendly choice, buying used baby strollers is both economical and very green. It means you’re reusing something rather than letting it be sent to a landfill, and you’re preventing new resources from being used to make a new item. You can often find high quality items at secondhand stores such as TheBabyChain.com, Gently-Used.com, or try out Craigslist or Ebay. Or look into buying from a local secondhand baby store, like Once Upon a Child.

Okay, so now you know what to look for, here are a few choices to consider in your quest for an eco-friendly stroller:






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References

1 Five Problems with Baby Mattresses (Toxic Chemicals) . (n.d.). Retrieved May 20, 2010, from Healthy Child: http://www.healthychild.com/toxic-sleep/five-problems-with-baby-mattresses-toxic-chemicals/

2 PVC - THE POISON PLASTIC. (n.d.). Retrieved April 25, 2010, from Greenpeace: http://archive.greenpeace.org/toxics/html/content/pvc1.html#dioxin

3 Healthy Milk, Healthy Baby - Chemicals: PBDEs. (n.d.). Retrieved May 19, 2010, from Natural Resources Defense Council: http://www.nrdc.org/breastmilk/pbde.asp

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