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News & Press: JPMA Statements

Updated COVID-19 Tips: Cleaning Car Seats

Thursday, September 17, 2020   (0 Comments)

Families should continue to ensure that infants and children are properly restrained for every ride, and that car seats, booster seats and seat belts are used as directed by their manufacturers. Parents and caregivers with questions about cleaning their car seats during the COVID-19 outbreak should follow instructions provided for their car seat model by its original manufacturer.

“To maintain their integrity and performance, most car seats and vehicle seat belts cannot be disinfected with harsh chemicals,” said Kelly Mariotti, executive director of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). “Manufacturers have determined specific cleaning solutions and application methods that do not impede performance, and these cleaning instructions should be followed.”

Certain cleaning methods or chemicals may change the flame retardancy or performance of a car seat, so following the guidance provided by the specific manufacturer is crucial. Spot cleaning with a mild soapy solution is generally acceptable, but instructions for certain car seat models may also allow for machine washing of fabric pads, as well as other methods to sanitize components.

“Car seats are safety devices designed and intended to protect children from one of their biggest threats – motor vehicle crash injury,” explained Mariotti. “To accomplish that, they must be stringently tested, and we caution parents against anything that potentially impedes their performance.”

In general, cleaning methods are contained in the instruction book that comes with the specific car seat. If that book has been misplaced, the manufacturer’s name and contact information can be found on a required label on the car seat itself. Manufacturer websites may also provide cleaning information. In cases that alternative sanitation methods have been tested and identified for use with certain car seat models or components, only the original manufacturer can accurately provide the appropriate guidance.

General Tips
Please note that these tips are general guidance, but that specific manufacturer instructions for cleaning specific car seat models or vehicle components must be followed. A listing of manufacturer websites and customer service information can be found here.

  • During the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping your hands clean is important to help prevent the virus from spreading. Proper handwashing is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family from getting sick.
  • If a child or other person handling the child’s car seat is infected with COVID-19, the car seat and vehicle seat system that the individual used must be cleaned and disinfected as specified by the car seat and seatbelt manufacturers.
  • When disinfectant chemicals cannot be used with a car seat model or harness system, a car seat used by an infected child should not be used by other children for a few days. After that period, the car seat and its components can be cleaned according to manufacturer instructions and returned to service. Relebant information from the American Academy of Pediatrics can be found here: https://services.aap.org/en/pages/2019-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-infections/clinical-guidance/covid-19-and-safe-transportation-in-motor-vehicles/
  • Parents and caregivers should exercise caution to prevent becoming infected themselves.

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