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        toddler in a car seat

        How To Clean Baby Car Seats

        Keeping your baby's car seat clean is something we all strive to do, but it's not always easy. Car seats may be the most hard-working piece of baby gear you own - they attract food, crumbs, spilled drinks, spit-up, and even vomit. Whoever said not to cry over spilled milk hadn't been in a hot car after a baby. Before you swear off eating in the car for the 100th time, use these tips and tricks on how to clean baby car seats.
        Photography
        Chanakon Laorob

        Car Seat Cleaning Supplies

        Remember that you should never use any cleaning product in your car seat that you're not sure is safe. These are the best cleaning supplies to have on hand to clean a kid's car seat:

        Handheld vacuum - Some parents even keep a small handheld vacuum in the garage or trunk to have on hand when crumbs happen because they will.

        Baby wipes - Cleaning straps and the base as soon as spills happen – is another reason to love a baby wipe.

        Small soft brush and sponge- We love a toothbrush for scrubbing the sticky, baked-on things kids get in and on a car seat.

        Warm water - Have a small bucket of warm water for your toothbrush and sponge. Resist getting straps soaking wet.

        Gentle soap like baby shampoo - Use a mild soap to spot clean with the sponge or toothbrush.

        How to Clean Car Seats

        Here's the scoop: How to clean car seats properly is something you want to read directly from your manufacturer as different car seats require slightly different cleaning methods. Going rogue (using too much water or harsh chemicals or not putting the cover or harness back properly) can meaningfully impact the efficacy of a car seat. When cleaning your child's car seat, the following tips will help you ensure the seat's safety:

          1. Choose the right time to clean your child's car seat; it will take up to 24 hours to air dry.

           2. Clean each piece of the car seat part by part. Before beginning, remove the harness and unbuckle the straps as your manufacturer suggests. Often, manufacturers will have how-to videos for removing belts and covers and putting them back on correctly.

          3. Take care of crumbs: vacuum debris and hair from the cover and around the harness area with a small, handheld vacuum. Get in any crevices with attachments.

          4. Use a damp sponge to lightly clean the area if there is dirt on or around the straps or buckle. When cleaning your child's car seat cover, it is best to use a mild soap or detergent. Avoid any chemicals or harsh solutions as this may damage the cover.

          5. Clean the car seat cover with mild soap and water. Check your manual to see if you can wash it in the gentle cycle or spot clean with a sponge and mild detergent on visible stains.

          6. Clean the car sear base with a sponge or small brush.

          7. Spot clean the car seat buckles and harness - each manufacturer may have different tips for safely cleaning buckles, but typically you can remove food or sticky spills and wipe them down with baby wipes

          8. Allow the seat to air dry completely and replace the cover, securing the straps. 

        Child Car Seat Preventative Cleaning Tips

        • Move Fast: Clean up messes as soon as possible to avoid permanent damage. Keep a cleaning kit in the car with baby wipes, paper towels, travel-sized baby shampoo, and vomit bags.

        • Consult the Manual: Read your car seat's manual carefully to learn how to take care of its materials best as they're designed to absorb shock and protect your child, so it is essential to follow the instructions to keep them effective.

        • Be Realistic About Food in the Car: Never let your kids eat in the car - just kidding, we wish it were that easy! Keep snacks in a spill-proof snack cup and avoid anything sticky or creamy.

        • Be Prepared for Car Sickness: If your child gets car sick, pack a sleeved bib and a vomit-bag-lined quart cup so that you can catch any car sickness. To reduce the chances of vomiting, have kids look ahead vs. to the side, trade books and iPads for audiobooks or music, and ask your doctor about using Dramamine.