Puke-protect the car seat with Glad Press’n Seal wrap

At Amazon: Glad Press'n Seal Food Wrap, 2 pack
At Amazon: Glad Press'n Seal Food Wrap, 2 pack

Safety note 10/19/12: Please read Parenthackers' safety concerns in the comments before trying this hack. I agree that this is not wise for an infant car seat (something I should have thought through before posting), but I'm not seeing the problem for an older child. I will modify this note and the hack as the conversation continues. — Asha

10/20/12: Big thanks to Julia for sharing this CPSafety roundup of car seat manufacturers' statements about "aftermarket accessories." – Asha

10/20/12: Final word: many have asked me to delete this hack due to safety concerns. I think that the conversation in the comments is extremely valuable, so I'm not going to remove the post, but, as I say elsewhere on the site, do a gut check before you try ANY hack here. Nothing at Parent Hacks is safety tested, nor is it to be construed as a recommendation — simply, "this is an idea a reader shared." Given everyone's concerns, I do NOT recommend doing this, but I also appreciate that everyone's limits are different. — Asha

Jennie turned a wine bottle tote into a portable carsickness cleanup kit. She follows it up with a bit of preventative prep using one of my favorite products, Glad Press'n Seal wrap.

On our last drive I came up with a modification for a hack where someone used Glad Press'n Seal wrap as a bib or temporary art smock for painting.

My son had gotten sick the morning we were to leave for a road trip and I was worried that he'd throw up in his car seat. So, I lined it with Press'n Seal wrap!

I lined the car seat cover and even the straps where I could [My edits for safety reasons — Asha.]. Other than his not liking that his seat looked different it didn't seem to bother him. It didn't make him sweaty at all.  

Fortunately for me (and him) he didn't get sick but if he had we were covered — literally. Just don't forget to bring the rest of the roll with you so that you can reline the seat if necessary!

Glad Press'n Seal is one of those products I'm surprised I like so much. It's much more expensive than regular plastic wrap, but I seem to find so many more uses for it. My compromise is to keep an eye out for newspaper coupons and then to use them when Press'n Seal goes on sale.

Related: Press'n Seal table mat

More: Hacks for vomit

More: Hacks involving Glad Press'n Seal wrap


  1. Shannon says

    This would be so great for lining just the back of infant seats to keep the poop explosions that always happen in the car seat from making a huge mess. Love this!

  2. says

    This is a great idea, but the problem is… any item put between the kid and seat can void the warranty if there is an accident.

    Yes, I realize that press n’ seal isn’t going to do ANYTHING to hurt or cause the car seat to malfunction, but the car seat companies would jump on that right away.

    Please don’t do this!

  3. Bill says

    This is a ridiculously dangerous choking / asphyxiation hazard. Even more so when you consider using this with an infant.

    Please remove the original post so that no one tries this.

  4. Jen (you, another one) says

    Actually, if you get it too near where the straps move in and out of the seat, it COULD interfere with proper function in an accident.

  5. Amberly says

    Ditto everyone else! What a stupid and dangerous suggestion!! Not only are you providing your child pieces of small plastic that he/she could easily choke on, you are also changing the essential function of the carseat by putting something inbetween the child and the seat that is supposed to be protecting him.

    This is a irresponsible, neglient, ill thought out post. How disappointing. Parent “hacks” you truly are!

  6. Asha Dornfest says

    Wow, thank you all for the comments. I’ve added a safety note to the post to clearly point out everyone’s concerns, and I will update it as necessary. I agree–I needed to be more clear about NOT using this hack with an infant car seat, and, given your comments, lining the straps seemed unwise. But putting plastic wrap on the seat itself? Not wrapping the ENTIRE seat, just putting a cover on the interior of the seat, with no contact with any straps or buckles? I can’t see how that would be a problem.

    I am totally willing to be corrected on this. Also, if it voids the warrantee, then it’s a no-brainer. I will remove the post.

    HOWEVER, I’d like to remind people to be civil about disagreement. Strong feelings are good. Insults and judgement, not.

  7. Luke says

    As long as the user is exercising due safety, such as not allowing the wrap to interfere with the restraint or buckles, and that the child isn’t prone to putting things into their mouth, this sounds like a fine idea – though I would point out that cleaning up a car seat isn’t that hard (the liners come off) really and a towel would suffice in a pinch.

    As with all child rearing decisions, the parent needs to be cautious and make choices with their own personal understanding and knowledge of their child.

    I personally would never do this with a rear facing seat.

  8. says

    I sometimes wonder if the more reactionary objectors have children at all. I think this a very clever idea, especially with my preschoolers who seem to be very unlikely to remove the liner from their seat and ingest it. Keep calm, carry on, etc.

  9. says

    I use a towel to line the car seat for my son. Started doing it when he was tiny to catch any leaks and to make it more comfy. The lining on the seats is polyester and so hot to sit in. Sweat-city!! I think that desperate times can call for desperate measures- lining the seat makes sense if your child is sick! Maybe someone should start a business making plastic car seat covers!!!

  10. Asha Dornfest says

    I agree, the vehemence is surprising, but then again, latex balloons inspire the same sort of heightened emotion.

    I always appreciate safety (even negative) feedback as long as it’s civil. Fact is, my kids aren’t babies anymore, and I need that reality check.

  11. Patrick says

    Choking hazards is one thing, but the idea that the liner is interfering with the “essential function” of the seat because it’s placed between the child and the seat seems ridiculous to me. The clothes your child is wearing would also interfere, unless car seats were always supposed to be used naked? I must have missed that memo in parenting class.

    My bigger issue with the hack is that cleaning is pretty straightforward for any well-design child safety seat. I wouldn’t be worried about the car seat, I’d worried about the rest of the car. That’s what I would cover in press n seal. of course you’d burn through boxes of the stuff pretty quickly then.

  12. says

    I think, used wisely, this is a decent hack for traveling. It’s all well and good to say that car seat covers come off, but that does me little good if I’m five hundred miles from home on the side of road. And maybe I’m the only one that finds Britax covers *incredibly* hard to remove, as in upwards of fifteen minutes off and another ten or so to get back on.

  13. says

    Honestly, my first thought when I read the original hack was that it seemed like a giant waste of time and plastic wrap. Then again, although I have 3 kids (all under 4 yrs), I do not have one who gets sick in the car. So this is not even on my radar even though I do have young kids and babies.

    I do see where it could be a safety hazard and personally would never try it. I like the idea of having an extra car seat cover so if one is dirty, there is another around. Great suggestion!

    I don’t think you need to remove the original hack. The updates are visible and the comments are there as well.

  14. says

    I appreciate the update… however the concern isn’t that it’s a choking hazard (though I can see that too) it is that if you’re in an accident, ANYTHING attached to the seat that isn’t sold with the seat can void the warranty.

    It doesn’t matter if you ‘think’ it shouldn’t or if there is ‘no way’ it would interfere… it’s a way for the car seat’s warranty to be voided.

    Please please please delete this hack completely.

  15. Asha Dornfest says

    Julia: See my updated update! I just want to thank you for adding so much to this convo — expressing your clear disagreement while keeping the communication open.

  16. says

    A cheaper & less-time consuming version of this hack (for non-babies, non-chewers only, of course) would be to take a trash can liner and put it over the whole seat then put slits in the plastic to expose the 5 point harness.

    The Press’N Seal could then be used to cover the openings between straps. This would probably also simplify barf clean-up too as fewer joins between the plastic would mean less opportunity for spillage.

    I wouldn’t ever use this for a daily protector, but I might use it as a stopgap measure when an already-queasy kid was about to take a ride. I’ve had to use a bag to cover a partially barfy car seat and I’ve had to bag a different seat when my child spilled a whole glass of lemonade in a car seat in the second hour of a day-long drive to a funeral.

    Some situations are less than ideal, and I’ve done variations on this when I’m hours from a clean-up site and something unpleasantly liquid happens to a car seat.

    Parent Hacks is usually the nicest community on the Internet. We’re all thinkers here, so disagreement is par for the course. Let’s continue to trust that wisdom prevails best when graciously well-argued.

  17. GenE Shockley says

    I use a small square of the Press and Seal, to cover the intake vent on a very sensitive smoke alarm that goes off every time I cook steak in my oven.

    I know there will be concerns about this too, but I do only leave the plastic on UNDER SUPERVISION, and only while the problem cooking event is going on. The plastic comes off right after the food is cooked.

    ALSO: There are other smoke alarms elsewhere in the house for continued smoke/fire safety.


  18. Dave says

    One of our twins gotcar sick as an infant a lot, A LOT!!! I got the slip over seat protectors they make to keep kids shoes from scuffing the back of the front seats. I used the bed wetting protectors we got for the cribs, the 1×2 sized ones, to lay all over the floor, center area, etc. where she might project. There was always a new spot i’d find that wasn’t covered on the next occurance. I kept plenty of towls and clothe changes in the vehicle. I always thought the wet dry vacs made for cars that run off the cigarette lighter a good idea but never tried one. Many times i had to remove the car seat to take in the house, take apart and clean. Then we got a steam cleaner to avoid using chemical cleaners. That solved the clean-up problem. The steam is hot enough to even kill the odor. Over were the days of using a bottle of Fabreze to rid the smell.

    We began to notice the signs she was getting close to getting sick. Cracking a window often prevented her getting sick. Those times the cracked window didn’t work, I often was able to stop and get her out of the vehicle in time. Fortunately she hasn’t gotten sick now that she is big enough to see out and around the car and if she is feeling sick she is able to tell me.

  19. says

    It is really wise to be able to protect the car that we use so that it will be with us for a long time. Same way, car wraps are very good in protecting our cars. It is proven to help in maintaining the original paint of the car. It is also beneficial for the advertisement of business converting the car into a mobile ads.