How to safely clean your child’s car seat


SAN ANTONIO – Chlorine-based disinfectants and other strong disinfectants may be recommended for cleaning high-contact surfaces to combat the new coronavirus, but when it comes to your child’s car seat, experts say hold the spray bottle. Strong chemicals can be a bad idea.

“When it comes to car seats, each component must withstand high forces and repeated use to keep children safe during a crash,” said Emily Thomas, automotive safety engineer at Consumer Reports. “You don’t want to use any cleaner or disinfectant that could compromise any of the seat components.”

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What should you use? Consult your car seat owner’s manual for washing and drying instructions for each component. If you no longer have it, look for an online version on the company’s website.

While many manufacturers say it is okay to machine wash and dry the car seat fabric cover, check the manual because you don’t want any flame retardants to deteriorate.

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The harness should never be placed in the washing machine. Instead, follow the manufacturer’s instructions and clean by hand. Most specify soap and water for the harness and plastic components as well. And make sure there are no slippery soap residue or oils left on the buckle.

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