The fabric used to make the child restraint system (CRS) cover is different than the usual fabric. The CRS fabric is special in that it has a fire retardant feature. Yes, apart from making sure your child is anatomically safe in a crash, a CRS also has this safety feature to prevent rapid spread of fire to help give you that extra seconds to get your child out if the crash also involve a fire emergency.
Correct maintenance and care is important to retain this feature. Always check the washing labels and the CRS manual to get the best and specific care instructions. Examples of the meaning behind the symbols in the care labels are as per in the picture.
- Clean only the parts that are allowed to be cleaned as per the instruction manual.
- For machine wash (if allowed), use a regular or delicate setting with the correct water temperature settings recommended by the manufacturer.
- If you frequently need to wash the CRS cover, it is best to hand wash it even though the manufacturer allow machine wash.
- Do not use cleaning products that may destroy this safety feature. Only use the type of detergent recommended by the manufacturer.
- Avoid using baby wipes, air freshener spray or odour-eliminating spray as they may contain chemical substance that may destroy the fire retardant material.
What if there is a stubborn stain or the CRS has become too smelly? Can a bleach be used? Or can we steam wash it?
If you look at your child restraint’s washing label, you can see there’s a small triangle with a big ‘X’ mark on it. If a plain triangle without any mark is seen on a fabric, it means that the fabric may be bleached.
The triangle with an ‘X’ mark symbol signifies “no bleaching” in cleaning your child restraint. The use of bleach may damage the fabric structure causing you the need to replace the cover too soon.
Apart from that, bleach usage may also remove the fire retardant layer in the cover. This fire retardant feature is important as discussed earlier. So be careful and always follow the manufacturer’s instructions in cleaning your child restraint.
Apart from bleach, hot water at a temperature above the recommendation, steam cleaning and antibacterial detergent are also not recommended to be used to clean the CRS cover unless otherwise noted by the manufacturer.