VOMIT. PUKE. THROWUP. UP CHUCK. All words that strike fear in the hearts of pretty much every mom out there. And the only thing worse than your kid puking everywhere is your kid puking everywhere in the car. Trust me...I know.
A few weeks ago as I was driving along, the kids and I were jamming out to our favorite Taylor Swift song when out of nowhere my three-year-old starts puking....everywhere.
My six-year old who was sitting next to him starts gagging, my one-year-old starts screaming to get out of his seat and all the ruckus wakes up the baby who immediately starts crying. Pure chaos erupted....and all the while, my son is still throwing up. I pull over and start frantically searching for a bag, a bucket, something....but all I can find quickly is my hands. (I know...so gross!!) Oh, if only I was better prepared...you would have thought I would have learned my lesson from the last two times this happened....but sadly, I didn't.
After that experience I made a plan...a plan that I'll share with you, but first...let's talk about what steps to take to clean that yucky car seat!
Step 1: Uninstall your car seat. As disgusting as it may be, I suggest taking pictures of how everything is assembled if you really need to take the seat apart...it will be useful later.
Step 2: Remove ALL the covers (if possible) and rinse vomit out in the sink. To clean straps and harnesses, blot stains with a mild soap like DP Clean Stain and Odor Remover. DP is great for fabric, straps and other parts that can’t go in the washer because it utilizes natural enzymes to remove stains and odors, so it's completely safe for babies and kids!
Step 3: Consult your user's manual that came with your car seat or check the manufacturer's website (they usually have a manual online) to make sure it's safe to wash the cover in the washing machine. If so, wash it on the delicate cycle and let it air dry. DO NOT put it in the dryer. If machine washing is not recommended, you can simply hand wash the cover in your sink or bathtub.
Step 4: Wipe down and sanitize the frame of the car seat. You can use q-tips soaked in mild cleanser or diluted vinegar to get all those crevices in your car seat. Don't forget to clean the crotch buckle and the chest clip....those are perfect hiding places for the puke.
Step 5: This is the tricky part. Once the cover is dry, put the cover back on the car seat frame. Often times, this is easier said than done. If you are unsure of how to do this, consult your users manual or manufacturer website. Better yet, go back and look at the photos you took before you took it apart.
Step 6: Wipe down the inside of your car. Go ahead clean that car seat mat...now's your chance! This is also another good place for DP Clean if you have any lingering odors.
Step 7: ReInstall your car seat.
If these steps seem too overwhelming or time-consuming, you can contact a professional cleaning service such as Tot Squad. They specialize in this stuff and the extra bonus is they can make sure your car seat is correctly reassembled and safely reinstalled.
Okay, now the plan for the next time (please don't let there be a next time). I created a small bin that I now keep in the trunk of my car (you don’t want any loose items in the passenger area of the car that can become projectiles in a crash) that contains cleaning rags, a trash bag, a bottle of DP Cleaner, baby wipes, a couple of puke bags, a bottle of water, hand sanitizer and a change of clothes for each child. I am also putting a small sand bucket in a central place in the backseat for sudden upchucks. A mom can never be too prepared, right?
So, parents, what things do you keep in the car to be prepared for a kid throwing up? Please share!
Stephanie is the voice behind the blog “The Inspired Mommy” where she shares (sometimes too much) what life with four children under the age of seven is really like...the good, the bad and the ugly....and how she loves every second of it.