Category Archives: Car Seat Safety

How to Clean Your Car Seats

Car seats can get really dirty and hold a lot of germs. It’s important to sanitize them, especially with the recent coronavirus pandemic.

Some parents may be eager to reach for bleach-based cleaning products and other virus-killing chemicals but they should pause.

Harsher cleaning products and strong chemicals that work well on some surfaces may damage the car seat, thus leading it to not being able to fully protect a child in a crash.

How to Safely Clean Coronavirus From Your Child’s Car Seat

Parents should clean their children’s car seats following the car seat manufacturer’s instructions, such as using a mild detergent and water. Many seat pads are removable and machine washable as well.

Do not clean your car seat in any other method than what the manufacturer suggests. Read your car seat’s manual for instructions or find it online through the car seat manufacturer’s website.

For example, the manual will recommend you on how to wash the seat cover – whether you should hand wash or you can machine wash on a specific seating. Make sure to read the drying instructions as well.

How to Clean Car Seat Harnesses and LATCH Straps

Generally, harness and straps should only be spot-cleaned with a nonabrasive cloth or sponge using mild soap and water. These parts need to be air dried rather than machine dry.

How to Clean Car Seat Buckles

When cleaning buckles or push-on LATCH connectors, use only water. This is because soaps or lubricants may leave residue that can affect performance of the buckle.

The seatbelt straps should also be wiped down with a damp cloth.

If you have machine-washed your harness or damaged it in some other way, you should purchase a new car seat for safety reasons.

If you machine-washed your car seat cover when you shouldn’t have or cleaned your car seat improperly, you should reach out to your car seat manufacturer and let them know. They’ll suggest you to buy a replacement piece or get a new car seat.

Coronavirus and Protecting Your Child

Infant Car Seat Cover

If you’re using an infant car seat, you may want to considering purchasing an infant car seat cover.

When you take the car seat out of your car with your child inside, sometimes you might want to cover up his seat from the outside. This is especially helpful if your child is sleeping and you don’t want to disturb him.

There are infant car seat covers for both winter and summer. Below are a few we suggest. If you want the full list, read our best infant car seat covers.

Brica Infant Comfort Canopy Car Seat Cover

The Brica Infant Comfort can be used on the car seat as well as attached to a stroller. This is great if you want to bring your baby out for a walk and are concerned about the coronavirus.

Their retractable rain and sun cover is UPF 50+, meaning it blocks 98% of UVA and UVB radiation. The sun cover can also be used as a waterproof shield if you get caught out in the rain.

If you remove the sun cover, there is a mesh panel that allows your little one to see outside while still being protected from things such as insects. The mesh material provides ventilation, visibility, and privacy. Your baby can breathe easily and not get overheated. Both the panel and sun cover can be folded back on top so you can have sun coverage while having access to your baby.

This convenient canopy installs easily, fits all major brands and includes a zippered carrying case for easy storage.

Barnaby Belle ‘Night’ Baby Car Seat Cover

This stylish baby car seat cover protects your baby from germs, insects, and sunlight. This lightweight cover is made out of 100% muslin cotton, which makes it a breathable and cool canopy for your baby. You can easily fold up this cover and put it in your diaper bag.

The Barnaby Belle cover is an universal fit for all baby car seat models with its adjustable velcro straps.

Stroller cover

If your child does not use an infant car seat or you are not using a travel stroller system, you may just want a stroller cover instead.

These are very affordable and recommended if you are worried about your child being outside. Here is a few products we would recommend:

Baby Stroller Rain Cover

Baby Stroller Rain Cover - Provides Extra Warmth and Shields your Child from Wind and Rain. Universal Size, Mesh Material for Ventilation and Reflective Trimming for Night Visibility. (White, Quilted)

For just $10, this baby stroller rain cover may help ease your mind when taking your child out.

It is a universal fit for strollers and features a thick quilted material.

Bemece Stroller Rain Cover Universal

Bemece Stroller Rain Cover Universal, Baby Travel Weather Shield, Windproof Waterproof, Protect from Dust Snow

This universal size rain cover fits most strollers, protecting your baby from rain, wind, snow, cold and dust.

When Can a Child Sit in the Front Seat?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent, no child under the age of 13 should sit in the front seat.

If your child has outgrown their child safety seat but is too small to use an adult seat belt safely, he must use a booster seat.

Front Seat Requirements

Many states have laws for when a child can ride in the front seat, based on height, weight or age so it is important to check the law in your state.

States that use height as a requirement usually state 4 feet 9 inches as the minimum height to sit in the front seat. 

Remember, the safest spot for anyone in a vehicle is the middle of the back seat. Children, regardless of age, should especially ride in the back seat for as long as possible.

The Dangers of Riding in the Front Seat

When a child rides in the back seat rather than the front, his risk of injury in an accident reduces by a third!

In a head-on crash, which is the most common and deadliest type of collision, a child riding in the front seat can be thrown into the vehicle’s dashboard or even through the windshield.

There’s also a greater risk of being hurt by objects thrown into the car if he’s sitting in the front rather than the back.

Dangers of Air bags

In addition, air bags, designed to protect front seat passengers, can cause severe injuries to children if they inflate.

According to the Auto Safety Expert website, if a child is below the height requirement, the inflating airbag can hit him in the face, chest, head, or neck at speeds of 90 – 210 miles per hour.

More than a hundred children have been killed by air bags in recent years nationwide.

Many of those deaths were actually in slow-speed collisions that should have been minor.

Air bags pose a huge risk to infants and toddlers in rear-facing car seats because the back of their car seat is very close to the car dashboard.

Car Seat Safety

It is typically safer for a child of any age to ride in the back seat of any car. However, if your back seat only has lap belts and no shoulder restraints and your child uses a booster seat, he is actually safer in the front seat than in the back seat.

If you have to transport multiple children, the youngest child should ride in the back seat.

In spite of all the dangers, if you have to let your child under the age of 13 ride in the front seat, make sure he uses both the shoulder and lap belts.

The lap belt needs to fit low across his pelvis and the shoulder belt should not cut across his neck. The shoulder belt should never be behind his back.

Move the seat back away from the car dashboard as far as possible. Also, disable the front seat passenger side’s airbag.

Some new vehicles come with a sensor that automatically turns off the air bag if the passenger in the seat is under a certain weight.

If your car does not have a switch to turn off the airbag, you can get one installed.