Car Seats Need Maintenance and Cleaning Too!
Few things are a constant in life when it comes to kids, but if there is one thing its that kids make messes! Big messes, small messes, wet messes, dry messes – any kind of mess you can think of, chances are a kid somewhere has made it. Clean up sometimes involves creativity, but what happens when the mess is in your child’s car seat?
A car seat's job is to keep your child safe in the car. It is designed, engineered, and tested to help keep your precious cargo safe on every ride. A car seat manufacturer provides very specific care and cleaning instructions for a car seat to ensure it provides the protection they need during the lifespan of the seat.
Here are some general tips that will help with keeping each part of your child’s seat clean, comfortable, and functional. Cleaning instructions may vary by car seat manufacturer, so always be sure to check the manual that came with your car seat or contact your car seat’s manufacturer prior to cleaning your child’s seat.
Car Seat Cover
The car seat cover is the part of the car seat that your child sits on and is the first place a muddy shoe or a sticky hand is likely to touch. It is typically composed of a fabric outer and padding and may be attached to the shell in a variety of ways. Instructions for removing and cleaning the cover will be available from your seat’s manufacturer or may be present in the instruction manual that came with your seat.
Some car seats may have covers which are easier to clean. Clek offers a Crypton Fabric option across all models that is designed to provide permanent protection against stains, moisture and odor-causing bacteria. The covers may be removed for deeper cleaning, but most messes can be cleaned up easily through spot cleaning with a little warm soapy water.
Clek also sells a cleaning and stain remover kit that makes cleaning your car seat up a breeze. The kit is ideal for Crypton Fabrics but will work well on any water-cleanable fabric such as your stroller or other baby gear. The non-toxic cleaners are eco-friendly and will remove almost any stain imaginable including sunscreen, grass, and crayon. The kit comes with two cleaners - one for dye-based messes and one for protein-based messes, an upholstery brush, a spray attachment tool, and a user guide
Shoulder Harness Straps and Crotch Strap
The shoulder harness straps and crotch strap are responsible for keeping your child restrained. They are also one of the first points of contact if a child throws up, has an accident, or makes any other sort of mess while in the car seat, so it's important to know how to clean them safely and effectively. Instructions for cleaning the harness straps and crotch buckle may vary by manufacturer, so be sure to follow the instructions in your car seat manual or contact your seat manufacturer for assistance.
Clek recommends surface cleaning harness straps with a damp cloth using warm water and a mild detergent. Cleaners such as bleach or other commercially available products may affect the strength of the webbing and should be avoided.
Buckle washing instructions are also available in most car seat manuals. Clek allows the crotch buckle to be rinsed under warm water if needed. The use of detergents or lubricants is not recommended and could adversely affect the buckle.
Your car seat’s manufacturer is available as a resource to assist in questions in the event the harness straps or crotch buckle have been cleaned in a way other than directed in the car seat manual.
The A-what??? This little guy is found on every harnessed car seat but doesn’t get the love or attention it deserves. The a-loc is a locking mechanism for your harness. You can look at the a-loc as a little monster with teeth that holds the harness tight while your child is in it. When you tighten the harness the a-loc opens its mouth and spits out the harness adjuster towards you. When you loosen the harness the a-loc opens its mouth and eats the harness adjuster taking it away from you. With all of this back and forth movement you can imagine that the monster’s teeth can get dirty and need a good cleaning now and then. Check your car seat manual or contact your seat manufacturer for instructions on cleaning this part.
For Clek Foonf and Fllo, first remove the seat cushion, as explained in your owner's manual. Once removed, unfasten the clips which hold the front plastic panel in place to get better access to the mechanism. With the panel removed, you should have a good view of the mechanism which you can inspect for any debris or other such obstructions, as you open and close the mechanism.
You can also inspect the Adjustment Strap to ensure it is undamaged and no residue has built up on the belt. You can clean any residue found on the Adjustment Strap or on the mechanism itself with a damp cloth and/or a soft-bristled brush (great use for and old toothbrush!).
Car Seat Frame/Shell
The seat frame or shell of your car seat is the structural part that the cover, harness straps, and crotch strap are attached to. In most cases, the frame of your car seat will require minimal cleaning.
The standards that car seat manufacturers have to meet require that labels be permanently placed on the car seat to remind caregivers of important information regarding the use and installation of the seat. Take care to not damage the labels on your car seat if wiping the seat frame.
Clek allows cleaning of the Foonf and Fllo exterior plastics by using a soft cloth with warm water and soap. Instructions for cleaning the frame/shell of your car seat will vary by manufacturer.
Messes are par for the course when it comes to kids but keeping your little one riding in style post-mess is possible. Keeping a copy of these tips and Clek’s Cleaning and Stain Remover Kit on hand will make it easier to clean when one of those messes happens.*Featured image courtesy of Mother's Polish