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Don't clean child car seats with harsh chemicals

Posted July 14, 2020 4:12 p.m. EDT
Updated July 14, 2020 5:48 p.m. EDT

— The disinfecting frenzy developed during the coronavirus pandemic should continue. But be careful what's used to clean certain things, including child car seats.

Wipes, if still available, are a go-to for a quick clean and disinfectant, but some experts say don't use them on a car seat.

“When it comes to car seats, each component must withstand high forces and repeated use in order to keep kids safe during a crash, so you don't want to use any cleaners or disinfectants that could compromise any of the seat's components in any way," says Emily Thomas, Consumer Reports' auto safety engineer.

Car seat

What should be used?

Check the owner's manual. It has washing and drying instructions specific to the model and each of the seat's components.

Go online if the manual is unavailable.

Most manufacturers say it's ok to machine wash and air dry the car seat cover, but don't put the harness in the washing machine.

Instead, follow manufacturer instructions to clean the harness by hand. Most recommend a mild soap and water.

Same for plastic components.

CR says if harsh chemicals have already been used, reach out to the manufacturer for replacement covers and parts.

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