Eco-Friendly Strollers: Everything You Need to Know
(Plus, Enter to Win a Bumbleride Indie Stroller)
Eco-Friendly parenting is more than just a trend, it’s a nod to the future of family life.
Many of us become earth loving parents because of our little ones. Our children are the most important people in our lives. More and more, parents are taking a longer-view look at what kind of world they will leave behind. Eco-friendly strollers and other baby gear have become a statement about how we parent.
Understanding manufacturing processes, the risk of toxins, and reusability are an important part of the buying process for an earth friendly parent. But it can be a confusing way to shop. Our goal is to make one aspect of the process just a little easier. Today, we’ll help you choose the right eco-friendly stroller for your family.
2 Key Factors to Consider When Purchasing an Eco-Friendly Stroller
So you’ve decided to go green? Good for you! A stroller is the largest purchase most parents will make for their new baby. It's a wonderful idea to spend those dollars in an earth-friendly way.
Before you begin wading through the details, ask yourself these basic questions:
- What is my budget?
- Where am I willing to compromise and where am I not?
The best intentions often don’t jive with our budget. For that reason, it’s important to think about cost before you start shopping. Eco-friendly strollers do not have to be more expensive than others, but sometimes they are. That is why the second question is important. Set your budget, and then decide what aspects you’re willing to compromise on and which you are not. This guide will help you with those decisions.
What to look for in an earth-friendly stroller
At PeppyParents.com, we use two main factors to judge how eco-friendly a stroller is. Those factors are:
- Screenings for potential toxins,
- Manufacturing process.
What’s good for baby is good for the planet.
Every stroller manufacturer we work with wants to create a product that's good for babies. But some companies take that practice far past regulations and into the future. Companies doing extra to protect your child are often naturally more earth-friendly.
Companies like Bumbleride and Nuna not only meet safety standards, they far surpass them. When the absence of toxins in the manufacturing process is a top concern the stroller is more likely to be earth-friendly.
These terms are the ones earth-friendly parents look for when choosing a stroller:
Made with Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Fabrics
The Oeko-Tex Standard certification is an impressive distinction. Only a few stroller manufacturers in the USA take the time and energy to required to maintain it. The designation means that the fabric is free off 100 different common chemicals and toxins. This certification must be renewed annually. It is a strong sign that the company you are purchasing from walks its talk when it comes to safety.
Note: As of fall 2016, all strollers from Bumbleride and some from Nuna use Oeko-Tex Standard 100 fabrics.
A Word On Organic Fabrics
It is rare to find organic-certified fabrics on a stroller. The materials used to manufacture durable stroller seats is usually synthetic. The Oeko-Tek 100 certification is a more efficient label to look for in large gear than organic.
Look for organic fabrics when you're buying infant inserts, blankets, or other cotton fabrics. For gear, look for the Oeko-Tek 100 label.
Ask questions about flame-retardant fabric treatments.
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, many common flame retardants can be hazardous to the brain development of a child. This conversation can be confusing. These chemicals are not all the same, and not all experts agree.
In general, try to avoid products made with Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs). These are illegal in some U.S. states and are no longer produced domestically. But many manufacturers in China, India and Japan still use them. Figuring out exactly which baby products have these chemical treatments can be difficult.
Chemical treatments are typically applied to the foam within the fabric. That means you will find flame retardants in strollers, car seats, bouncers, and even some baby carriers. Few manufactures post this information online and it can change from batch-to-batch. We recommend contacting the manufacturer to ask specifically about flame retardants.
Note: As of fall 2016, Bumbleride strollers are flame retardant free.
Avoiding chemical cocktails: What other chemicals might be in my stroller?
What we understand about the chemicals used in plastics, fabrication, and other manufacturing continues to develop. For that reason, some of the most forward-thinking manufacturers produce baby gear that goes far beyond regulatory requirements. Think of it this way, regulations tend to be reactive. That means lots of bad things have to happen to get a regulation. When you're looking for a stroller, look for companies who are doing more than just following regulations.
There are many problematic chemicals used in manufacturing. When you’re shopping for a stroller, educate yourself on these chemicals. Check where the manufacturer stands on them before you buy. These are the ones we think are the most important to understand:
|Chemical Compound:||What You Need to Know:|
BPA is an acronym for bisphenol A. This is an industrial chemical that was used in the manufacturing process. Since the 1960s, BPA has been a big part of plastic and resin production. There has been much controversy in recent years over the safety of BPA. Those who believe it is a hazard point to evidence that the chemical can seep into foods. BPA could be linked to certain cancers, fertility problems and diabetes.Until recently, we would have recommended always going BPA-free. Recent evidence suggests that some of the BPA alternatives are even worse. For that reason, we recommend doing your own research and deciding what is best for your family.
Formaldehyde is widely used in the manufacturing of everything from building materials to hair care products. It’s strong-smelling and flammable. It's the smell you associate with funerals, because it's used in embalming.
We’ve known for many years that formaldehyde is a carcinogen. Yet we continue to find it in every imaginable type of household product, in the air, and in our water supplies. Although many industries still use this chemical, we’ve seen a move from baby gear manufacturers to make sure their products are free of it.
As of fall 2016, we know that BOB, Bumbleride, and Nuna fabrics are all formaldehyde free. For other manufacturers, we recommend reaching out to the company before purchasing your stroller.
Remember egg-crate mattress covers from your youth? That's polyurethane foam. Most modern mattresses, whether for children or adults, use it. This flexible and heavy duty foam is most often used to fill stroller tires. Sometimes it is found in seat design.
Polyurethane foam is unlikely to carry emission or toxicity certifications on its own. If the stroller you’re considering uses polyurethane foam anywhere except in the wheels, look for the Oeko-Tex or EcoInstitut certification. This way you will know the toxicity has been tested.
|Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)||
PVC is the world’s third most common synthetic plastic. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, PVC exposure risk has to do with the phthalates used to soften it and the heavy chlorine content. This exposure can cause birth defects, certain cancers and damage to the endocrine system. But the biggest risk from PVC happens during manufacturing, not during use.
We recommend avoiding PVC if you can, as a way to show you care about the families of those who make your stroller.
Look for the PVC-free label in PeppyParents.com product descriptions. Many rain covers used to be made with PVC, but more and more are moving away from this problematic plastic.
When trace amounts add up to something bigger (or why we love eco-friendly baby gear)
We want to be clear. All the stroller manufacturers we work with are doing their best to make a healthy product.
Making an earth-friendly product is extra work. Sometimes that work eats into profits. Unfortunately, conscientious manufacturing isn't the norm. Companies doing this work are doing something special. There are two big reasons we love them for it:
- Trace amounts of toxins everywhere add up, especially in small bodies. The small bits of chemicals allowed in so many products are everywhere, but nobody is adding up all those traces. For example, we used to think that trace amounts of lead were no big deal. We know now that even tiny amounts have dangerous consequences for developing brains. For this reason, we recommend avoiding toxic chemicals whenever you can.
- The people manufacturing your stroller have children too. Many of the substances we’ve covered are believed to be safe once production is finished. Yet, they come with huge risks to the people manufacturing them. Just like we want our families to be safe, it’s important to prove that we want others to have that same safety. When you buy a consciously made product, you’re sending a strong message to companies about where your priorities are--not just for your own family, but for all families.
Healthy planet, healthy baby. Two stroller manufacturers proving their commitment to the next generation of earth-loving parents.
We all want our children to grow up free of disease, injury, and as pain-free as possible. But sometimes we forget about what our world might look like when it’s time for them to have babies of their own.
Some baby gear companies are taking serious strides to make the world a cleaner place. Two of our favorites for your big-ticket items, like strollers, are Bumbleride and Nuna.
Bumbleride’s Unique Manufacturing Process
If you’ve spent even a few minutes researching baby gear, you know that most of it is manufactured in China. While this doesn’t mean a product is inferior, companies interested in eco-friendly manufacturing go elsewhere. And that’s just what Bumbleride did. After touring factories around the world, the company chose a family-run factory in Taiwan.
The unique Taiwanese factory that manufactures Bumbleride’s strollers employees locals and fuels its area’s economy. The factory is known for performance manufacturing. Check the label on your mountain bike. Odds are pretty good it was made in Taiwan. It’s an area known for high-performance engineering. This distinction is an important aspect of creating an all-terrain stroller.
Besides the factory’s location, Bumbleride works with their manufacturer to develop energy efficient and environmentally friendly production processes. Below are just a few ways Bumbleride’s manufacturing process is protecting our planet:
|Oeko-Tex and Bluesign Supplier Certified||
All Bumbleride fabrics are Oeko-Tex and Bluesign supplier certified. This means that independent, third-party, bodies have verified that the fabric coming in contact with your child and workers is free of over 100 toxins and hazardous compounds.
|100% Recycled Polyester-made Fabrics||rPET is actually made from recycled water bottles! The material uses 35-53% less energy to produce than traditional polyester. In addition, this reuse of plastics keeps bottles out of landfills. Finally, rPET produces fewer emissions in the air than the raw production of virgin polyester.|
For 2016, Bumbleride introduced a Silver Black color stroller that uses a new dye process to conserve 25-40 gallons of water per stroller. The stroller not only reduces water waste, it also reduces pollution.
It’s encouraging to see a brand doing so much to be friendly to the earth.
Nuna is creating in careful ways. Glimpse into the future of eco-friendly gear.
Nuna’s european factory is ISO 14001 certified. That means they are serious about environmental issues. Committing to production in the E.U. means committing to a higher production standard than most right out the gate.
The ISO 14000 standards are a family of standards created to help organizations cut the negative affects to the environment from manufacturing. The standards go beyond complying with applicable laws. The ISO 14001 standard consists of a group of standards utilized by The European Union and other organizations.
Complying with these standards is voluntary.
Nuna utilizes solar energy, recycling programs, and special water treatment processes to make their products. Nuna is serious about green manufacturing.
Earth loving parents love Bumbleride and Nuna! Their commitment to fewer toxins, conscious design, and thoughtful manufacturing are stand-outs in the industry.
I’ve bought my eco-friendly stroller, now what?
So you’ve made the leap and purchased an eco-friendly stroller? Good for you! We hope you enjoy the great feeling you get knowing you're protecting your baby and the planet too.
So now what?
Keeping your stroller safe and earth friendly means doing the right things post-purchase too. To keep your child safe, it’s essential to clean and maintain your stroller. Then, when you’re finished with it, the stroller can be recycled or sold to another family.
Regular cleaning and maintenance is essential to keeping your stroller safe for baby.
You might know that your car needs an oil change every 3,000 or so miles, and a tune-up every 30,000 or so. Well, the same is true for your stroller.
How often strollers should be checked depends on the type purchased and where you live. A good rule of thumb is every three months for a full cleaning and tune up. Spot clean and adjust as needed.
|Maintenance the wheels.||Remove each wheel and clean the wheel shafts with a gentle cleaner (we recommend BuggyLove). Then, lubricate the wheel shafts with BuggyLove lubricator. This process clears out dirt and grime that can build up in this heavy-use area.|
|Clean the brake pin.||Use compressed air to clear out any grime from this important area.|
|Hand wash the removable stroller fabric.||Use BuggyLove gentle wash or a couple of drops of Dawn dish detergent. Fill your tub with tepid water and hand wash (Note: always refer to the care instructions in your stroller’s manual for specific cleaning options for your stroller).|
Always spot-clean spills as soon as they happen. Liquids and foods allowed to sit on the stroller fabric can stain, and could soak into the foam core. This could eventually result in mold, which isn’t good for your children to breathe in.
My little ones are growing up, what do I do with my stroller when my family finishes with it?
All earth-loving families know the importance of recycling. Did you know that you can recycle your stroller too?
We recommend passing on strollers that are in great condition to another family. You can do this by selling it or by donating it to a family/organization in need.
Strollers that have seen better days can be recycled. Look for programs at your local big box store. If you don't have one in your area, disassemble the item yourself and recycling the component parts.
Now that you know how to choose an eco-friendly stroller, let us know how you’re family is handling earth-loving parenting. Build a Pinterest Board of your favorite eco-friendly products, tips, and DIY tricks and submit it below. Every entry is a chance to win a Bumbleride Indie Stroller!
#EarthLovingParent Bumbleride Indie Giveaway
- Category Name: Strollers