First time parents often wonder how they will handle messy diapers. There are special trash cans, sprays, bags, and inserts to help contain the smell. The diaper industry has built itself up by claiming no leaks and protection against blowouts. The companies prey upon parents' fear of the gross and smelly diaper.
I'm here to tell you that there is another source of gross and smelly that you should fear.
The car seat.
It is a sneaky and sly smell, it builds over time. Those snacks you pass back during a long trip, or flowers your child picks for you- they all end up in the deepest darkest crevices of the car seat. They blend with a little bit of juice or water spilled and a hot summer day and.......Then suddenly you go to take the car seat out of the car (as I did today) and you are blown away by the smell wafting from it. You remove the cover, thinking it is just a few snack stains and the summer sun causing the smell. But oh, no, it is never that simple.
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Upon removing the car seat cover today I was assaulted by an even stronger odor. My desire to throw away the car seat and just start over was only barely squashed by my pinny pinching ways. I realized this was not a quick job.
Pixie was already wearing her bathing suit (always ready for a last minute pool trip). She and I went outside armed with toothbrushes, scrub brushes, and soap. After spraying it down to get all the big chunks of debris we started scrubbing. I used the word "debris" in that last sentence not to scare you, but the reality is that we uncovered disgusting bits of food, rocks, beads, and unidentifiable fuzz and muck.
I had to resort to wooden skewers to scrape out and clean all the five thousand compartments of the plastic frame of the carseat. After a half our of excavating and cleaning, while being "helped" by Pixie, I gave up. I wouldn't call the carseat good-as-new but merely less-disgusting-than-before. Luckily, after 4 kids and numerous carseats my gross out level is disturbingly high.
I am grateful to the car seat designers that engineer such amazing protective contraptions for my brood, but if you need some ideas for future models:
-Collection tray at the bottom for all the random "bits"
-Non stick surface- then I could just rinse it off with a hose
-Maybe not the five thousand tiny crevices that are magnets for the aforementioned "bits"?
-Dishwasher safe - Ooooo, just take it apart and put the whole thing through a cycle. How cool would that be.