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if I do file as a 1099 : will I still get that child credit benefit? - Yes, the fact that you would receive a 1099 vs a W-2 would not change the child credit benefits you receive. The credits here are based on your adjusted gross income and taxable income which would be the same whether you received a 1099 or a W-2.
I was told: I can write off my clothes (Im in sales) I can write off meals with clients I can write off the gas and car since I use this to get to my sales employment. - Yes this is correct. As a 1099 recipient you are treated as your own employer and as such you are most likely operating a trade or business. All reasonable and necessary expenses to carry on your business are deductible under Internal Revenue Code Section 162. This would include meals with clients, travel to and from work related destinations (personal travel is not deductible), clothing required for the job so long as it is not also used personally, etc.
One thing to be careful of here is whether or not you would be deemed a contractor or employee. Employee's receive W-2s and independent contractors would receive a 1099. The IRS has strict rules when making this determination see link here - http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Independent-Contractor-Self-Employed-or-Employee
Note that your employer should be making this determination as well.
The 1099 route is probably the most tax advantageous vs the W-2.
I hope this provides the clarity you were looking for. Please let me know if something is not clear and I will get back to you as soon as I can.