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Kid vs. Car!
Dish's guide to preparing your car for parenthood!

By Corey Conley

Children are the future, both bundles of joy, and perpetual geysers of various undesirable fluids and sticky substances. Their probing and curious minds often venture down the path of property destruction, and they are wholly dependent on you for motorized transportation. For those of us who prefer our cars remain intact and booger-free, preparation is key. For future and current parents on the move, Dish Auto has put together this list of tips and gadgets to protect both your car, and your little goo fountain.

Take cover
Take coverBeneath your child is a carseat with a removable, washable cover. Beneath the carseat is your car’s naked, hard to wash, unremovable upholstery. Investing in a cover now will keep your car’s leather or cloth seats from looking like a curbside couch after years of junior’s juice tantrums. DIY types can try out a rubberized bath mat with slits cut for seatbelts and LATCH tethers, while a range of styles and prices are available for purchase online, offering full bench coverage or a single seat crumbcatcher. Always verify with professionals that your seat cover doesn’t interfere with the childseat’s ability to protect and secure your child.

Silicone Implants
Silicone ImplantsCup holders, it turns out, will hold more than cups. They’ll hold discarded Jolly Ranchers, milkshake residue, or a whole packet’s worth of sugary mystery dippin’ powder just fine. Make cleanup a breeze by dropping silicone cupcake liners into each holder. When sticky comes to shove, lift out, rinse and replace. Pick up a pair at most places which offer baking goods.

Lock ‘em down!
Children like pressing buttons and pulling levers. Sit them in front of a nuclear launch console and they’ll happily pull latches, twiddle knobs, and hammer buttons until armageddon. Luckily, there’s a solution. If you’ve never had kids, there’s a chance you’ve never noticed a little switch on the rear doors where they meet the door jam. When flipped, it prevents the door from opening from the inside. Not only is this useful for pranking the poor fools who forget to shout “shotgun!” it’s pretty useful for keeping your little stuntmen from doing their best Vin Diesel impression, as they tuck and roll out of your car and into child protective services.

Safety Belts
seatbeltUnused seat belts can look like great fun for a bored youngster; as a slingshot for Hot Wheels,  practicing their best Tarzan swing, or any number of creative ways kids can turn the safety device into a hazard. Keep the potential for backseat shenanigans to a minimum by fastening unused seatbelts to their buckles and slowly pulling them all the way out at the shoulder then release the belt. In many cars this activates a locking device which keeps the belt from being pulled again. Even if your car doesn’t have this function, fastening unused belts keeps heavy and often hot metal components out of tiny hands.

Time for reflection
Time for reflectionNewborns, despite their thin biographies, often find themselves looking backward. As mandated by law, their carseats face the back of the car, making it difficult for parents to verify every gurgle and flatus is normal and healthy, rather than a sign of neo-natal distress. Solve this problem the same way Walgreens hunts shoplifters: with the awesome power of mirrors. Mirrors designed for this purpose can be affixed to a rear headrest and provide a wide-angle view of your mini-me from a glance at your rearview mirror.

Made in the Shade
Babies, it turns out, are total wusses. Not only are they terrible at thumb-wrestling and can’t handle their gin, they also are more sensitive to sunlight. Protect your special snowflake with a window sunshade. Some models use suckers to attach, which can be unreliable. Other brands have more luck with static or (our favorite), actually sliding over the entire top of the door frame. This design allows parents to still roll down the window, and has the bonus of preventing toys and other objects in arms reach from taking a one-way trip to the asphalt. / Issue 186 - September 1899
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