I knew when Norton started gnawing on the pull strap of his infant car seat that it was time to clean the darned thing. Well, actually, I knew that it was time to clean Norton’s infant car seat when we had to put a receiving blanket under him in Cache Creek (3 hours from home) because he’d gone through his diaper and his clothes.
Fortunately, the task of taking apart the infant car seat for cleaning went to the husband. He patiently sat down and popped the restraint straps out of the seat, and then carefully removed the padding.
Well, great. He had taken it apart. Now I had to figure out how to clean the darned thing. He figured that it would just be thrown in the washer and dryer, and done. As the baby laundry maven, I knew that it was a distinct possibility about the cover, but I was pretty sure that I had read somewhere that the straps to the infant car seat weren’t supposed to be submerged in water.
Great. Before I went crazy on baby laundry for the seat with no instructions, I figured I’d better do some searching to see what I could come up with.
It turns out that washing the car seat cover for our Graco SnugRide 32 infant car seat was a pretty simple thing. I found the instructions on the Graco Baby’s website under care. Turns out that all I had to do was toss it in the washer on gentle cycle and hang to dry.
Okay, no problem, I could do that. And the straps? I was right. Those aren’t supposed to be submerged. I ended up wiping those down with Lysol wipes, then wiping them again with a wet wash cloth. I repeated the process with the bucket shell of the car seat. My part took me about five minutes worth of my time.
I suspect that the hard part was putting it back together after everything was clean and dry. I didn’t even try to put it back together. Honestly, if it had been all on me, I probably would have decided that it was too much work to wash the darned thing and bought a new one. As it was, it took my careful, brilliant, detail oriented husband who loves assembling things about twenty-five minutes to reassemble it.
I know that I would have gotten frustrated in that time and dropped a few choice words. So, long story short? Washing an infant safety seat isn’t hard at all. But putting it back together might require a bit of patience.
Have you cleaned your infant car seat? How did you do it?
Originally written August 15, 2010. Canadian infant car seat standards have changed since then, but there’s one standard that remains: your straps should never be submerged. While there are no documented instances of safety strap failure, the manuals all agree that we shouldn’t throw them in the wash. Why? Because of what could happen. The straps can weaken, which could lead to breaking or stretching during a crash. Sure, we all want our seats clean… but we want them to be safe even more.