Smiling boy pointing at burning vehicle

How to Protect Your Car From Your Kids

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Awww! How adorable can this photo be? But wait…

Did she just use the screwdriver to write “I love my DAD” on her daddy’s car?!

With children around the house, especially toddlers who are very curious and energetic, it’s almost impossible to keep your beloved family car from getting dirtied and vandalised by them. However, there are ways to minimise the damage they could “inflict” on your vehicle.

Here are some:

1. Spill- and mess-proof the seats and floor

Bringing in food and drinks while travelling with kids is essential to keep them from getting cranky on the road. As the food and beverages are passed around and consumed, however, spilling and dropping them onto the car seats and the floor is inevitable.

Limit the spills by putting a towel on the seat or use a seat pad under the fitted car seats. Not only can the seat covers protect the seats from spilled food and drinks, but they also help keep the seats from getting soiled by dirty shoes and feet.

Invest in seat back protectors. Little children, no matter how you tell them to behave and keep their feet on the floor, always put their legs up on their seat or the one in front of them. Even if their shoes are removed, the feet can still leave dirt marks; Seat back protectors are a convenient way to keep the seat back clean.

As for the carpeted floor, you can also use thick rubber floor mats to protect it from spilled food and drinks, as well as from shoe dirt and other messy stuff that’s hard to clean. If your backseat floor mats have a rubber backing, you can also flip them over.

As much as possible, offer food and beverages that do not stain or smell terribly if spilled onto the seats. You can also put the food in lunch boxes and use water bottles or easy-to-drink pouches to minimise the spills if dropped.

2. Handle sports equipment and musical instruments properly

With your kids growing and learning new hobbies in school, it’s normal to find your car becoming storage for many of their stuff, like sports equipment and musical instruments.

Many of these items have rough edges that can damage your car’s plastic trims and other parts. To avoid the damage, keep your children’s stuff in a washing basket or any container that’s large enough for storage.

Plastic bags also come in handy, especially when you have kids that play soccer or other sports. Before letting them inside your car after a rough day in the field, have them take off their dirty shoes and then put the shoes inside the plastic bags before leaving them in the boot.

Also, keep towels in the boot for cleaning up spills. The clean ones can also be used as seat covers, blankets, or head covering during an unexpected rain or very sunny day.

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3. Use the right car interior cleaning products

When the inevitable mess happens, know the right cleaning products to use, especially if your car's interior is all carpet and upholstery. Many of these products can protect leather, glass, and painted surfaces:

  1. Paint thinner, for greasy stains
  2. Hairspray, for ink stains
  3. Club soda mixed with baking soda and water, for carsick stains
  4. Coldwater with dry laundry detergent, for blood stains
  5. Liquid resin, for frayed carpet

It is also smart to keep cleaning supplies in the car. Your first defence against dirt and mess are wet wipes, paper towels, and Ziplocks.

Use non-toxic cleaners as much as possible. Remember also to keep all cleaning supplies out of children's reach at all times, as well as store the products in a secured place to keep them from becoming projectiles during a crash.

4. Invest in a car cover

If you leave your car in the backyard or in an open garage where your toddlers can explore, it's best to have your car protected with a car cover. It will not only protect the vehicle from the elements but also limit the mess that your little monsters can do to it.

Armed with marker pens, for instance, they would only leave their drawings on the car cover and not on the car's shiny paint.

5. Supervise your kids

Telling your kids not to mess with the car may not always work, but it helps in the long run as they eventually learn to obey rules. While they are too young to know what is right and wrong, however, the only way to prevent them from damaging your car is by keeping an eye on them.

Do not let your kids play with any components of a DVD system or electronic system without supervision. It also helps to protect the DVD screens with sticky plastic covers as your little kiddos could reach to the screens and leave marks on them.

It is not impossible to own and maintain a great car and be a great parent at the same time. With the right products and strategies, you can keep your car always looking fresh and clean even when you have little monsters around the house.

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