Risks of COVID-19 In & Around Your Vehicle

KidsAndCars.org’s ‘Childproof Your Ride’ program is urging drivers to sanitize their vehicles to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The best defense for preventing the spread of COVID-19 is to stay at home and practice social distancing whenever possible. However, if you have to leave home, please be sure to heed the following safety tips to protect yourself and your family.

  • Do not ride inside a vehicle with someone who has or suspects they may have COVID-19. The virus can be spread by sharing air space or touching surfaces an infected person has come in contact with. The Journal of Hospital Infection reports that the virus can stay on surfaces found in cars for days.
  • Wearing disposable gloves, use soapy water to clean vehicle surfaces prior to wiping down surfaces with a disinfectant. This removes grease and dirt allowing you to effectively sanitize.
  • Clean and sanitize your vehicle after every trip. That way if you need to use your vehicle in case of an emergency, it will be ready to go.
  • Top 12 frequently touched vehicle surfaces to pay special attention to:
    1. Car keys & fobs
    2. Exterior and interior door handles
    3. Steering wheel
    4. Power ignition button, window switches, radio, GPS, other buttons & dials
    5. Gear shift
    6. Seat belts & seat belt buckles
    7. Car seats & booster seats
    8. Air vents
    9. Cup holders
    10. Grab handles
    11. Head rests
    12. Seat pockets
  • Keep sanitizing wipes/cleaner in your vehicle to regularly clean vehicle surfaces and use while running essential errands, like buying groceries or prescriptions.
  • Always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol) before you drive or ride in a vehicle. Ensure all passengers do the same and help children wash their hands properly.
  • Use a disinfecting wipe when touching surfaces such as;
    • Gas pumps & key pads
    • Vehicle fuel door & cap
    • Parking meters & tollbooths
    • Drive through ATMS & other touch screens
    • Keep a pen in your vehicle to use at banks, pharmacies, etc. or sanitize the “community pen” if you must use it
    • Public charging stations
  • Using rideshares, taxis, trains or public buses;
    • Avoid using rideshares or public transportation if alternatives are available
    • Avoid touching as many surfaces as possible & keep your hands off your face
    • Opt for using credit or debit cards instead of cash (money harbors many germs)
    • Sit as far away from other passengers as possible
    • Bring sanitizing wipes and wipe down seat belts, door handles, arm rests, etc.
    • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol
    • Wash hands with soap and water for 20 seconds as soon as possible after exiting any form of transportation
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a list of effective disinfecting products, but most household disinfectants should be effective.
  • Never leave children alone in your vehicle: When doing essential errands, leave children at home supervised by a responsible adult whenever possible to avoid unnecessary exposure to COVID-19. If you have to bring your children with you, NEVER leave them alone inside your vehicle. It is never safe for a child to be unattended inside a vehicle for any amount of time. Cars are stolen every week with unattended children inside and there are many other ways that children are injured or killed when left alone in vehicles for just a few minutes. (learn more here)
Direct link to tips: https://www.kidsandcars.org/covid_19/