Car Care

Keeping your family car protected from the kids

For more tips on making your summer road trip seamless, we continue our AA Road Trip Ready series with some tips on keeping your car clean and maintained when you have kids. You can’t really avoid general wear and tear on your car from the elements, but regular maintenance makes any damage much more manageable. 

Inside, it can be a completely different story and there are some car interior mishaps that are almost impossible to control. If you’ve got children or grandchildren, then you’ll know exactly what we’re talking about.

We’ve put together some helpful tips to protect your car from mishaps on your summer road trip.

Rear Seats

When you’re travelling with children, the back seats usually end up accumulating the most mess, especially if you’ve got a toddler who won’t behave unless they’re sitting there with a biscuit in-hand. Before you know it, the back seats look like the scene of a biscuit factory explosion.

The best protection for this is a hard wearing seat cover, particularly on the lower seat squab. If you can get one in an easy wipe material such as vinyl, then even better.

If you haven’t been using a seat cover and it’s already too late for the seat squab, you can do a good job of cleaning up with the upholstery cleaning machines found at selected petrol stations.

Once done, you have a clean slate again which can be preserved with a protective cover.

Front Seats

There’s no escape for the driver and passenger seats either. These are often prone to wear and tear on the back as children tend to kick or slide past them as they rush in and out of the vehicle.

Again, we’d recommend buying a whole seat cover or a kick mat that protects the back of the front seats from damage. If you can find a multi-storage apron, these usually fit over the front passenger seat, to help store all of your children’s knickknacks, then even better!

A vehicle’s carpet is also another area that can suffer. A day at the beach, for instance, can result in grains of sand reappearing for months or years down the line.

If you’ve got slightly older children who are in to their sports, you might be fed up that they ignore your request to wipe their dirty boots or trainers before hopping in the car.

The original mats that come with a car are often carpet and, while they may offer some level of protection, they’re generally not as good as some of the heavy-duty, aftermarket rubber mats. These may not be as aesthetically pleasing, but they’re far easier to clean and maintain. If the odd soft drink gets spilt, the mats can be easily hosed or wiped down.

We recommend that you always keep a packet of cleaning wipes on hand. These can be simply tucked into the pocket found behind most driver or passenger seats, or other storage compartments. Our pic would be Big Wipes, which you can buy from from only $17.99, these are super tough on dirt and grime, but kind on your hands.


The outside of your car isn’t completely safe from damage, particularly during the summer months.

Watch out for sunscreen getting on the paint work of your car - some sunscreen products may react with the paint, leaving small hand prints and white marks on the body work. If you spot them early, they’re usually easy to remove with a quick polish. The longer they stay on, the harder they are to remove.

If the children tend to play near or around your car and any minor scratches occur, a light coat of some clear nail varnish can help erase them.

We recommend that you always keep a quality, easy to store car polish on hand. Our pic would be Flitz Polish Paste, which you can buy from from only $44.99, a supreme solution for cleaning, polishing, de-oxidising and protecting many different surfaces including metals, fibreglass, plastics and painted surfaces.

Keep it clean!

We recommend having regular clear outs of your car, as any spillages over time can become much harder to clean, and in some cases become rather smelly.

It always pays to be prepared when you’re travelling with children in the car. Make sure you have plenty of paper towels or cleaning wipes on hand for any sudden spills, and some bags for any rubbish.  Cars are made to be used and enjoyed by the whole family. If you don’t want to spend hours cleaning out your car after every road trip, then these preventative measures will go a long way in reducing your cleaning time, giving you more time to spend with your loved ones.

The AA want to remind all motorists ensure that their vehicle is road trip ready before heading off this summer, with an up to date vehicle service and WoF. 

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