How to Store A Car Seat? A Complete Guide

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Written by: Fatima O. Millers, CPST

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If you are here because you need help with how to store a car seat. You’ve come to the right place.

Storing car seats is an important way to keep them safe, clean, and in good condition for future use.

Here is what you will learn in this blog post.

  1. Why you should care about properly storing your car seat
  2. How to prepare your car seat for storage
  3. The best places to store your car seat
  4. How to keep your stored car seat in good shape

At the end of this post, you can download our car seat storage checklist to help you easily remember all the steps.

What can go wrong when you’re storing a car seat improperly?

Storing your car seat improperly can lead to wear and tear on the car seat, damage from pests and critters, mold, or unnecessary exposure to heat and light.

All these things can cause your car seat to become unsafe and unusable.

Not to mention, depending on the car seat, it can be difficult to get back into its original shape or have missing parts if not stored following strict guidelines.

Storing your car seat properly will help ensure that when you’re ready to use it again, it is still in perfect condition and will be safe for your child.

Things to do before you store your car seat?

Before you start storing your car seat, there are a few things you should do to prepare it.

First, you must check the car seat’s expiration date. All car seats do have an expiration date hidden somewhere on the seat, usually within the user manual or stamped onto the bottom of the car seat.

This will tell you how long your car seat is safe to use and when it needs to be replaced.

Storing a car seat that’s past its expiration date or is about to expire won’t do you any good. If your car seat is expired, here is what you can do with it.

In addition to the expiry date, car seats can be recalled due to safety issues. Before you store your car seat, check on the NHTAS website for any recalls or safety notices about your car seat model.

If there is a recall, you must contact the manufacturer to find out what steps need to be taken.

Once you have checked the car seat’s expiration date and any recall information, make sure the car seat is in working order and all parts are secure including the manual before preparing it for storage.

If you lost the user manual, you can usually find a digital copy on the manufacturer’s website but it’s always best to have the original.

Most manufacturers will send you a replacement manual if you contact them.

Also, check for any damages or loose parts. If there are any broken parts, the car seat is no longer safe to use and should be replaced.

If the car seat has been in an accident, it is not advised to store it or re-use it.

Where to store your car seat?

Once you have prepared your car seat for storage, the next step is to decide where you will store it.

The best place to store your car seat is in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture.

The storage place must have great air circulation throughout and should be free of mold, mildew, and pests. These can stick to the car seat over time and damage the overall quality.

Another thing to keep in mind is that car seats should be stored at room temperature – not too hot or cold

Outdoor-type storage spaces, like a shed or garage, may not be the best option because they are prone to temperature fluctuations and can also expose the car seat to critters and insects, or even rodents.

Just remember, the most important thing when storing a car seat is to make sure it is in a secure, dry, and well-ventilated area.

1. Storing a car seat in the garage or shed

As mentioned earlier storing your car seat in the garage or shed is not advised, as the temperature and humidity levels in these spaces can fluctuate widely.

However, if your garage or shed is climate controlled and it’s just like any other room in your house, then it shouldn’t be a problem.

If not, then you should consider storing your car seat in a different location or invest in a waterproof sealed container like this rolling plastic storage tote. Make sure your car seat fits in the container you choose.

Also, your car seat must be stored off the ground. If you don’t have shelves or storage units in your garage or shed, these mesh shelves are perfect for car seats and other items.

2. Storing a car seat in the basement

Storing your car seat in the basement is definitely an option, but you must make sure that it is a dry and well-ventilated area.

Basements tend to get very humid, so try to keep your car seat away from any sources of moisture. You should also keep the car seat away from any windows or vents where drafts can occur and cold air can enter.

To be sure your car seat will be safe in the basement, consider using a dehumidifier for big spaces. It works wonders to keep the humidity in check.

3. Storing a car seat in an indoor closet or cupboard

A wardrobe or a storage room with shelves and boxes dedicated to your car seat will be ideal.

Make sure the car seat is well-ventilated and that any dampness or moisture can be avoided.

If you can place the car seat in a box or tote bag and make sure to include a few packets of sodium bicarbonate or silica gel desiccant bags.

These will help keep your car seat dry and free from any potential moisture issues.

4. Storing a car seat in the car trunk

If you’re short on space in the house, you can use the trunk of your car or a closet. Your car is a great place to store your car seat. The temperature can be controlled and it will be out of reach.

The only problem with storing your spare car seat in the car is that if you have an accident, your car seat should be replaced even though it wasn’t in use.

Of course, It would depend on the severity of the crash and the stance of each manufacturer. But it’s still a risk that I won’t recommend you take if you still want to reuse that car seat.

Get your car seat ready for storage

Now that you know where to store the car seat, follow these simple steps:

1. Clean your car seat

Use an upholstery cleaner or a Hepa filter vacuum to remove any food crumbs, dirt, and debris from all the nooks and crevices of the car seat. If you leave anything behind, it can attract pests and turn into mold.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean a car seat. Never use harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners as this can damage the car seat.

Also, most car seat brands don’t allow you to soak or submerge the car seat straps in water. To clean the straps and pads, use a damp cloth and mild detergent or a wet wipe.

If the car seat cover is too dirty, you may want to dissemble it (if the manufacturer permits it of course) and watch it with an additive-free detergent.

Once your car seat is clean, let it sit in the open air for a few days. This will allow any remaining moisture to evaporate. Never store a damp car seat as it can develop mildew.

2. Store the user manual with the car seat

Your user manual is very important, as it contains all the installation instructions. It’s best to store it with the car seat so you don’t have to look for it when the time comes.

Your car seat may be stored for a few years, so make sure you store the user manual in a waterproof and sealed plastic bag.

3. Choose a storage container

Once you have chosen where to store your car seat, you should find a proper storage container to keep it safe and clean.

Keeping the car seat on a storage shelf inside the house or in your car truck won’t probably require an additional container. A tote bag or plastic bin bag will do the job of keeping the dust away. Otherwise, use a cardboard storage box.

However, if you are going to store your car seat in the basement or outdoor shed, you should get a storage container that is waterproof and airtight. Use a plastic bin with a cover or opt for a waterproof car seat bag to protect your car seat from the harsh winter weather.

Make sure to choose one with handles for easy access and transport. When purchasing the storage container, make sure that it’s large enough to accommodate the car seat, the base, and the straps.

4. Clean and disinfect the storage area

Before placing the car seat in the designated area, make sure to clean and disinfect it.

If it’s a storage shelve or closet, clear up any dust and dirt. If it’s a shed or a basement, use bug spray for about 24 to 48 hours before you put the seats there. This will help to keep the pests away.

If you’re storing your car seat in the car trunk, use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of dirt and debris. Make sure you don’t leave any liquids or chemical products in the car trunk.

Once you have completed all of these steps, your car seat is ready for storage

How to keep your stored car seat in good shape for a long time

  1. Do not store heavy items on top of the seat since this could warp the plastic base.
  2. Store your car seat with some Silica gel bags to absorb excess moisture.
  3. Consider Using a Dehumidifier, If you are storing your car seat in a basement, attic, or shed.
  4. Check on your stored car seat every few months.

Wrapping up

Storing your car seat correctly is an important task. All you have to do is:

  1. Use our tips to make sure that you store it in a safe, clean, and dry area.
  2. Make sure to check on it every few months to make sure that it is in good condition.
  3. Follow the guidelines recommended by the manufacturer and keep the user manual with the car seat as a reference.

By taking these precautions, you will ensure that your car seat is safe and ready to use when the time comes.

And always remember to use the correct car seat for your child’s age, weight, and height for maximum safety on the road.

Also, don’t forget to download our free checklist to make sure you don’t miss any of the steps when storing your car seat

Happy storing!

Please note: The content provided on Car Seat Parent, including all materials and information, is not intended to serve as medical or health advice. Always consult with ahealthcare professional regarding your specific circumstances, especially when it concerns the safety and well-being of your child in relation to car seat use.

About Fatima O. Millers, CPST

Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Fatima delivers insightful car seat reviews and recommendations. Combining her CPST expertise with an engineering background, her advice is both safe and practical.