Spring Cleaning Tips for Car Seats

cleaning car seats


Spring is the time to enjoy warmer weather with your family. But winter illnesses may be lingering on. A proper cleaning routine is one way to reduce the spread of germs and keep your family healthier. And a great place to start is your car, and specifically your child safety seat.

Before you remove anything from your car seat, refer to the owner’s manual. Each car seat is different and may have guidelines about specific cleaning details. The manual is your best resource to know what cleaning supplies you can use and to obtain directions for how to clean your car seat. If you can’t locate your manual, the manufacturer’s website will have a digital version. 

To ensure you can correctly reinstall the safety seat after you are finished cleaning, take pictures of the seat while it is installed. Note locations where straps and belts pass through the seat and where your LATCH connection points are found. Take pictures from various angles - above, below, front and back - to help you remember exactly how the seat was installed.

After you remove the safety seat, vacuum the area around the seat to clean up any food crumbs. As you clean the seat, be sure not to remove any labels or instructions, as these are necessary to ensure correct seat usage. Allow time for the car seat to dry thoroughly before reinstalling it. Dry the seat cushions and padding separately in direct sunlight or your clothing dryer, if the manual states this is acceptable.

Your spring safety seat cleaning is also a good time to check its expiration date. Locate the manufacturer label on the side or base of the seat. Typically, car seats are only good for six years after the manufacture date. If your car seat has expired you must buy a new one. Plastic becomes dry and brittle over time, especially under prolonged exposure to heat and sunlight. A new car seat will ensure the greatest safety for your child.

Double-check your manual to ensure you have reinstalled the seat correctly. Your freshly cleaned child safety seat will look better while keeping your child safer.

If you need more information about the proper use of your car seat, visit Safe Kids.

For more tips on car seat installation, refer to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.