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Car Travel With Kids: 7 Steps To A Neat Backseat

A young boy sitting in a car's back seat after soccer, making muddy shoe marks on the clear plastic front seat protector.

Remember your pre-parenthood days when you were so proud of your spotless wheels?

Chances are, these days your backseat is all about clutter, crumbs, and a few mysterious stains (that can’t be what it looks like, can it)?

Give Your Backseat a Makeover

While your days of traveling light may be over, you can still have a neat, well-organized car. The secret: clean and declutter it once, and then use organizers and accessories to keep it that way. A backseat makeover will only take an hour or two, and you’ll love the results.

Get an Auto Litter Bag (and Teach Kids to Use It)

Kids generate a surprising amount of “carbage.” An easy solution: install a car trash can. Make sure it’s weighed, leak-proof, and has a lid, like our auto litter bag. To help kids get in the habit of using it, create a little chant, like: “Where does the carbage go? In the carbage bag!”

Protect Your Car’s Upholstery

When it comes to your vehicle’s upholstery, there’s no substitute for good ol’ prevention. While some stains are removable, once the upholstery is torn or dented, you’re stuck. To protect your auto investment, shield your upholstery with a thick, sturdy car seat protector or a full-length bench seat cover.

Don’t Forget the Back of the Front Seat!

Speaking of upholstery, one spot that’s often overlooked (until it’s too late) is the back of the front seat, where little feet love to kick and scuff. One easy way to keep your seat back from looking like a dance floor: attach our rugged seat back protector.

Organize Your Cargo Space

If you use your trunk or cargo area for hauling strollers or sporting gear—and who doesn’t?—it pays to protect it with a rugged cargo mat. And to keep all your gear organized, get a clip-on cargo net.

Use a Back Seat Organizer

When it comes to road trips with kids, the world’s #1 best invention has got to be travel toys. That being said, the #2 best invention is travel toy organizers. You have choices, from a back seat organizer with cup holder that sits beside your child to hanging backseat organizers that attach to the front headrest. Tip: make sure it’s portable, and the more compartments, the better!

Build Kids’ Toy Pick-up Skills

Once you install a toy organizer, get kids in the habit of using it. Stress the benefit of not losing those toys. How about composing a “pick-up-the-toys” song? (One dad we know insists the ride’s not over until the last toy is put away.)

Make Sure Kids Have a Cup Holder

Many kids like to have a drink in the car, but when you combine kids, motion, and sloshy liquids, you’re asking for it. So besides that seat cover, make sure your child has a drink holder close by. If your vehicle’s built-ins are out of reach, add a clip-on cup holder. Better yet: add our travel tray, which gives kids a play surface as well as cup holder pockets.

Let’s face it: the family car is like our second home on wheels. It deserves a little love and attention. Want more backseat makeover solutions? See all our car organizers and auto accessories!  

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