Among all the tests carried out on the different models of child restraint systems on the market, tests for toxic substances are a very important part of the process. Any surface or component of the child seat that comes into contact with the child must pass the relevant tests. The regulations in this case are very similar, if not identical, to the standards imposed upon the textile and toy industries.
A child seat may not contain any traces of toxicity or toxic or potentially hazardous components that might endanger children's health. Following these tests, the child restraint systems are classified according to the amount of substances identified in all the components.
The detection threshold is taken as the reference point; in other words, the absolute limit that may not be exceeded. The classification "very satisfactory" is achieved when there is "none or barely any trace" of toxic substances. This means that the amount found is, at the very most, equal to (or very slightly over, because there is a minimum tolerance) this detection threshold.
What substances do these tests search for?
Traces of the following components are tested in all the textile elements of the child seat:
- PAH, or polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: they test for traces of 18 of these compounds, such as benzo(a)pyrene, chrysene, fluorene, etc.
- Phthalates: a group of chemical compounds that are mainly used as plastifiers.
- Fire retardants: these are chemical compounds that raise the ignition point of the materials to which they are applied. They are thus able to withstand higher temperatures without catching fire, which is essential in closed environments and, of course, in child seats, provided they fall within certain controlled values.
- Plastifiers: additives that soften materials to increase their flexibility.
- Phenolic compounds, among which the main thing to be established is that there are no traces of phenol (highly toxic and corrosive), nonylphenol (toxic for reproduction and also corrosive) and bisphenol A (damaging to health) in any textile element.
- Organotin: a family of chemical compounds of tin and carbon. Some of the compounds in this family are highly polluting and others are very toxic.
- Heavy metals.
The objective of all these tests carried out on CRS is quite clear: to guarantee children's safety, not just in the event of a collision but in any other aspect that may affect them. The strict standards that apply to the world of games and toys and the textile industry are applied with exactly the same rigor to other children's products, such as car seats.