You know all about keeping your child safe in your car, from proper car seat installation to keeping up with scheduled maintenance, and everything in between. But what about keeping your car safe with Baby around? He is growing like crazy, and with that growth comes a growing risk of damage to your vehicle’s interior during car rides.
If you suddenly find your upholstery decorated with marker and your floormats covered in crumbs, it may be time to consider these road trip tips to keep your car in good shape while traveling with a toddler.
- Protect your seats: At this age, Baby is significantly safer in a rear-facing seat, but this car seat positioning can mean damage to your seats from dirty shoes and feet. Still, don’t rush to turn him around to face forward just yet. Instead, try draping the back of the seat with a towel, receiving blanket, or even an old nursing cover to protect your car from dirt and stains. Just tuck the fabric under the headrest and lower it all the way to hold it in place.
Car seats can also cause indentations in leather seating, but most child passenger safety technicians do not recommend placing anything between the car seat and the seat itself, as misusing the barrier can compromise the safety of the seat. If you decide to use a barrier, read the manual for the car seat to see what, if anything, is safe. Some brands may allow a sheet, towel, or specific seat protector to be used under the seat.
Limit food and beverages: The most obvious solution for keeping your car clean from spills would be to implement a “no food and beverage policy” in the car. However, for families traveling long distances or cruising at mealtime, this may not always be practical. If Baby really needs a snack in the car, choose a container with lid flaps that block food from escaping. Opt for spill-proof cups, and avoid sticky, mushy foods in the car altogether.
Clean up clutter: Get in the habit of cleaning your car after every outing with Baby to keep clutter at bay. Grab any containers, activity books, or toys used to keep him entertained and bring them inside as soon as your trip is complete. Making this part of the regular routine will keep the interior of your car looking like a playroom.
Invest in insurance: Contact your insurance broker and discuss options for protecting yourself in case your car becomes damaged with rips or stains. Some insurance companies will allow you to add a rider to your policy that will cover interior damage.