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Check out the recent review in The Mom & Care Giver
Thanks to the team there for this
Check out the recent Mum Sense magazine
Many thanks Debbie for your recent review from the BubbleBum Team
Product Review: Bubblebum Inflatable Booster Car Seat
Sometimes I just get so curious about a travel product that even if I don’t strictly “need” it, I have to try it for myself. That’s what happened with the BubbleBum, an inflatable booster seat that rolls up and stores in a bag when not in use. I was so surprised by the idea of an inflatable booster seat, that I just had to give it a try for myself and form my own opinion. Even after the company sent me one to try out, it was hard to get used to the idea. I had to try it and live with it for a while to decide whether I was comfortable with such a big switch from traditional carseats. In the end, a trip to San Diego with the seat clinched the deal, we’ll be ordering our own to keep.
The BubbleBumretails for $39.99, about $9 more than a traditional backless booster seat.
Why would someone want an inflatable booster car seat if they already have a traditional booster? The Bubblebum rolls up small enough to fit in a daypack or checked bag. That makes it a good choice if you’d like a carseat that’s easy to travel with, can be carried around town to use in a Taxi, or want a spare booster to use for carpools. The BubbleBum is also the narrowest booster seat on the market, making work well for “three in a row” carseat configurations.
In its packaging, the Bubblebum is approximately 7″ tall and 5″ in diameter when rolled into its bag. The bag is made out of stretchy material, making it easy to fit the booster back in it’s carry bag even if you don’t roll it as neatly as the manufacturer did. That’s useful if you’ll keep the booster seat in your trunk for carpools, but for travel, I prefer to keep it flat and slide it into the top of my checked luggage.
When inflated, the BubbleBum is narrower than most booster seats, boosters about 12.5 inches. If you have to fit a third child in the backseat of a car that is normally configured for two kids, it will probably fit.
Ages and Weights
The Bubblebum is designed for children over the age of four and between 40lbs and 80lbs in weight. Your child must also be able to sit for the entire journey without sitting on their knees. As a comparison, the Graco Backless TurboBooster works for kids between 40 and 100 pounds, while the Sunshine Kids Santa Fe Booster Seat works for kids 30 to 100 pounds
Using the Bubblebum
Inflating the Bubblebum
It took me 7 very deep breaths to fully inflate the booster seat, and when I timed it, it took about 30 seconds. I liked the booster’s twist valve, it was easier to use than the pinch valve you would find on most inflatables, and felt very sturdy. You’ll want to do this step yourself (instead of letting a child do it) so that you can ensure that the seat is fully inflated and that the valve is tightly closed.
Every time your child sits in the Bubblebum the lap portion of their seatbelt needs to be threaded through two red clips that the seatbelt in the proper spot across their legs. Because I worry about seatbelts twisting, I don’t allow my kids to do this step themselves. In our minivan, I have to climb into the back to ensure that the seatbelt is installed properly, so that rules this out as a “daily use” booster for us. For shorter kids, there’s also a Shoulder Belt Positioning Clip that can be used to position the shoulder belt so that it lays properly against the child’s shoulder. That’s an extra step that would also need to be done by an adult.
It’s easier to wiggle this seat around than one that is secured with latch connectors. If your child is likely to push their seat forward or side to side, this might not be the right choice, and for long car rides, when your child might like to lean back, they might be more comfortable with a booster seat that latches in place. My kids thought it was fine for short rides, but the inflatable chamber became uncomfortable on longer rides.
The Bubblebum’s cover is not removable for machine washing, and can be surface cleaned only. My kids often snack in the car, and accidents sometimes happen, so this was another reason that I would rule it out as a daily use carseat for our family.
Every carseat provides at least some of the following safety features, and it’s important to know which features the carseat you are buying provides, and make a purchase decision based on your needs.
Of these, the Bubble bum provides the seatbelt positioning feature and is made entirely of energy absorbing material that may provide some protection in a crash. It does not provide its own harness or impact protection.
The BubbleBum has passed both US and European crash test regulations. European regulation requires that child safety car booster seats are tested in the worst case scenario which of course is deflated. The BubbleBum was inflated and then opened to allow to deflate and crash tested. It was in this state that the approval was obtained.
The highly regarded Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)named listed the BubbleBum as one of 31 “Best Bet” carseats in its most recent round of tests. These tests focus on fit and correct positioning of the car seatbelt and do not include crash testing.
It’s also important to note that the inflatable memory foam used in the Bubblebum is new car seat technology. The crash test specs look good, but this product does not have long term real world track record. More details about safety can be found on the manufacturer’s website
The Bubblebum is a great choice for infrequent, short trips in the car. We’ll purchase two, one for Everest and one for Darya. I plan to use them when we travel and do not plan to spend long periods of time in the car (i.e. taxi rides around town or a trip from the airport to downtown). The Bubblebum is also a good choice as a spare seat for carpools – it stows in a small package in the trunk and fits well between two already installed carseats in my car. For everyday use, we’ll stick with our Radian Car Seat carseats (LINK LINK), which I prefer because of comfort, the 5 point harness, and the impact protection.
BubbleBum on Amazon
Disclosure: I received Bubblebum booster seat for review purposes. My opinions are always my own, and I strive to write fair and balanced reviews. If you purchase a product using a link on my site, it won’t cost you more, but I’ll receive a small commission. That income helps me keep DeliciousBaby going.
Wait… what? INFLATABLE BOOSTER? When I first saw the BubbleBum, I was confused. How in the heck could a bag of air keep my kid safe in the car? Well, long story short, the BubbleBum meets or exceeds all federal safety guidelines for children between 4 and 11 years old who weigh 40 to 80lbs. BubbleBum is safe to use in any vehicle apart from airplanes – which as you may know, have different requirements.
The BubbleBum comes in a convenient carrying bag, and has shoulder belt positioning clips in place of arm rests. It easily fits in small spaces, making it more comfortable for three kids to sit in the back seat, which is especially helpful if you have a smaller car like mine. It deflates after use, allowing it to be stored in a backpack, flight bag, trunk or even a large purse. Since it only weighs about a pound because it is inflatable and soft-sided, it is much more comfortable than a regular booster seat and your child can even carry it themself!
BubbleBum was founded by Grainne Kelly from Northern Ireland who, like many other parents, was appalled by the lack of car booster seats available from car rental desks, even when booked in advance. Grainne believed that every child deserves to be protected and safe while parents should be able to provide that with convenience and ease.
A huge hit with celebrities and wildly successful in Europe, the BubbleBum booster seat was also recently named a “Best Bet” by IIHS, as well as a winner of the 2011 JPMA Innovation Award as well as the PTPA (Parent Tested Parent Approved) Media Awards.
So be sure to follow them on Twitter at @BubbleBumUSA, “Like” them on Facebook at BubbleBum UK LTD or learn more on their website at www.bubblebum.us. You can buy your BubbleBum through their website, in stores near you or on Amazon.com!
*I received a BubbleBum for review, but all opinions are my own!*
Check out a recent review in teh Washington Post
Posted at 11:30 AM ET, 12/14/2011
The Bubble Bum in an inflatable booster seat developed by Grainne Kelly, a mom of two, who was frustrated by booster seats when traveling with her family.
Lugging boosters through the airport is a pain in the @#$%. I know because I spent five years as a single mom traveling with two kids in booster seats, trying to haul our luggage and boosters around by myself.
Trying to get booster seats through a rental car company isn’t any better. I was once let down after reserving two booster seats that didn’t show up with the rental car, rendering us sitting ducks for our entire vacation. If you are “lucky” enough to get them through a rental car company, there’s a good chance they’re old, recalled, peed on and/or just generally disgusting.
Kelly’s inflatable booster seat, which is for kids weighing 40 to 80 pounds, solves a multitude of problems. First off, the Bubble Bum was named a Best Bet by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety because it correctly positions the seat belt’s lap and shoulder belts across the child. Because it’s inflatable, it is also deflatable (clearly), which means you can press the air out in seconds and pack this puppy flat or folded in your carry-on bag. For city taxi trekking, you can inflate the Bubble Bum with just a few big breaths.
Here’s the real kicker: At roughly 12 inches wide, you can easily fit three across the backseat of most cars. As a comparison, some of the narrowest booster seats on the market right now are between 17 and 18 inches wide. You do the math.
In my situation, every other weekend we go from hauling around two kids to three when my stepdaughter is along for the ride in my 2004 Mercedes-Benz C320. Before Bubble Bum, with my younger two in their Britax Parkways, there was really no chance for a third child to squeeze in the middle seat (photo below). With the two little ones in narrower Clek Ollis, it was doable, but my oldest was extremely uncomfortable sitting in the middle. I also needed to help the girls buckle up from left to right just to get them all in. Needless to say, this made family outings or even simple errand runs unpleasant.
Now, my two younger ones can sit on their Bubble Bums in the outboard seats with more than enough room leftover for my oldest in the middle (photo below). They even have enough room to buckle up on their own. My girls also raved about how comfortable the air-cushioned Bubble Bum is to sit on, and they liked that their friends couldn’t see that they’re sitting on a booster seat while pulling through the carpool lane at school.
While you can pay close to $300 for certain booster seats, which shall remain nameless, the Bubble Bum costs $39.95. That makes it an affordable option to have as a “just-in-case” seat when the need arises. The Bubble Bum comes rolled up in a little tube that’s perfect for sticking in the top of a Christmas stocking, too. You can thank me later for introducing you to this booster seat, or maybe we all should thank Grainne Kelly for solving so many of our family-on-the-go woes.
CBS have reviewed some new gadgets to help parents whilst travelling and guess who is inuded?? Check out the full report below: