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dashboard dining: yes or no?

Now here's a topic of great parental debate:

Dashboard diningYes or no? Should kids be allowed to eat on the road? Different parents have different tolerance levels.

Different parents also have different views and criteria.

Yes, it's best if kids don't eat on the road - for the car's interior, their clothes, and our nerves.

Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether dashboard dining is right for your family.

Busy Family Schedules Support Dashboard Dining

It's hard to say no to eating in the car on the road when you have a 500-mile road trip ahead. 

You'll give the little one anything that will keep him quiet part of the way.

But as kids get older and easier to shush, some parents start getting strict about eating on the road. It doesn't matter which way you go; just stick with it.

Consider these rules of the road if food is allowed: It has to be of the non-sticky, nonstaining food group.

No chocolate (however if someone forgets this rule, read how to get chocolate stains out of upholstery), no grape juice, nothing too challenging to clean up.

When Dashboard Dining, Be Prepared for On-the-Road Cleanups

If your kids eat in the car, regular car cleaning is key to keeping it looking good (or as good as possible) inside:

  • Vacuum the car interior weekly. If you're eating on the road, this is a must.
  • If you don't let the kids eat at the dashboard diner, you can probably get away with vacuuming monthly.
  • Clean up car spills immediately, using upholstery or carpet cleaner for carpets and fabric seats. My baby wipes came in handy when those spills happened on the plastic console between the seats.
  • Each week - or at least once a month - clean the dashboard and doors with a damp cloth or the old standby, baby wipes.
  • Use a damp brush for vents and hard-to-reach spots.
  • Apply a vinyl cleaner and restorer to finish the job.

Happy travels!

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