The coronavirus pandemic has many of us on a disinfecting spree, but different surfaces require different solutions.
For many surfaces, experts recommend a bleach solution as a good defense against COVID-19 but according to Consumer Reports, bleach and other disinfectants may not be the best for your child's 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. You don't want to use any cleaners or disinfectants that could compromise any of the seat's components in any way," said Emily Thomas, Consumer Reports auto safety engineer.
To find out what you should use, refer to your car seat's owner's manual. You'll find washing and drying instructions that are specific to not only your car seat model but for each of the seat's components.
If you no longer have your manual, check for an online version or get a replacement from the manufacturer.
Most manufacturers say it's okay to machine wash and air dry the car seat cover, but you should never put the harness in the washing machine. Instead, follow their instructions to clean the harness by-hand. Most specify using a mild soap and water mixture. Plastic components can also be wiped down with mild soap and water as well.
If you've already cleaned your child's car seat incorrectly, reach out to the maker for replacement covers and parts.
"And it's also a great opportunity to make sure that your child's car seat still fits them properly. So review the height and weight guidelines and make the appropriate adjustments necessary," said Thomas.
Also be careful when cleaning bike helmets. Cleaning a helmet with harsh chemicals, like ammonia or bleach can potentially degrade the materials and possibly its performance.
Coronavirus cleaning: The best way to disinfect your child's car seat, helmets
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