Saturday, 23 April 2011

Review of Bubble Bum Inflatable Car Booster Seat



When I received an email to tell me that there was a booster seat for the car that inflates and can be packaged away easily for carrying about, I thought yes what a marvellous idea.  How amazing, especially if you are travelling on a plane and can not take much with you.  I think it can cost about £3 per day to hire one along with your car.  So if you can buy an inflatable seat to keep forever for £29.99 then this has to be a winner!

and it might be for some people, those people I mention above that travel on a plane, or use loads of different cars for their child to receive lifts in but actually I am not one of those people.  We have one car and I want JJ to be as comfortable and safe as he can be on his seat and sadly the Bubble Bum booster seat was not the answer for us.  JJ is 7 but he is a strapping lad, dressed in clothes for a 9 year old so he was just too big for the seat I felt.  He loves it and told me it was 'well cool' and that he was 'totally comfy' but I am the Mummy and therefore out rank him! 

Look at these pics, does he look as if he is well positioned on the right size seat?

You can't even see it under him, right?

The other side, all looks well here!
Luckily because JJ is tall the seat belt sits over his shoulder in roughly the right place but I tried my girls on this seat, they are nearly 4 years old and very tall and they were too small (in my opinion) for the seat despite it stating that it is suitable from 4 years upwards.

I am pretty sure the bubble bum would do its job if we were in an accident (and it has passed all the relevant safety checks).  You might not realise but the logic of a booster seat is not to raise the height of the child (that is a comfort thing with the seatbelt) the safety aspect is that the boaster seats guides the lap belt over the lap and not the stomach area.  So in this regard the bubble bum is very good as it has two guides either side of the seat to ensure the lap belt goes across in the right place.  I found these to be fiddly though and a touch annoying.  I want to undo the seat belt and have my 7 year old jump out, not have to then fiddle with taking the lap belt out of a guide as he is pinned to the seat!

I will tell you what I was extremely impressed with and that was the professionalism of the company, Cheeky Rascals who offered me the Bubble Bum booster seat to review. I went back to them with my concerns about the size of the seat and the fiddly guides and they took time to reassure me that many people view these as benefits.  Here is what they had to say -

The girth of the seat is perfectly sufficient for the age group that BubbleBum is designed for. With no hard edges, it simply doesn’t need to be as wide as more traditional boosters to be comfortable. In fact, it can be seen as an upside  as it means that the BubbleBum can be fitted where other booster seats cannot – for example in the middle of two other child carseats, or as three BubbleBum boosters across the back seat of a smaller car, where you would normally only be able to fit two seats. Although legally you are allowed to let a child travel without a booster or child restraint in the middle of the back seat if there is no room for the extra booster, the child will obviously be much safer if they are seated on a child restraint such as the BubbleBum rather than just with an adult seatbelt.

The guides for the seatbelt are a very important safety feature of the BubbleBum and they set it apart from other boosters in making it much safer. They do take longer to undo, but are safer because of it. The idea of a booster seat is that it guides the seatbelt across the child’s lap and not across their stomach, so that in the event of an accident, it is the pelvic bones rather than soft tissue that absorb the impact of a crash (head and abdominal injuries being the 2 most common injuries following an accident). Traditional booster seats, although easier to undo, do not necessarily position the seatbelt correctly across the child’s lap and the force of the accident may cause the lap restraint to ride up against the child’s abdomen, potentially subjecting them to nasty internal injuries.  The guides for the lapbelt on the BubbleBum are carefully positioned so that the lap belt is always held in the correct place against the child’s pelvis, even if there is an accident. Interestingly, and relating to your previous point, the reduced girth also helps with this correct positioning.

An American lady – the carseatlady – has some very interesting facts and figures on this as well as a review of the BubbleBum (she was given one  to review – she has nothing to do with either BubbleBum or Cheeky Rascals).

I have to say as well that I do seem to be in the minority with my grumbles as  I did a google search on reviews for  the Bubble Bum and nearly everything I found came back very good. You can check out 24 reviews on Amazon here.

Ease of portability for travel                  5/5
Weight of product                                5/5
Height boosting ability                          2/5
Size of seat                                          3/5
Value for money                                  4/5
Look/ Style                                         4/5

This is  a review post.  I received this car seat free of charge to trial and review.  I was not instructed what to write, these are my honest opinions.

4 comments:

  1. Very interesting Mich,

    I never knew about the safety ideas of a booster seat, I just thought it was to do with height. A very honest, well presented review.

    x

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  2. Here in the U.S. Boosters are required from age 4-8 or until a child reaches 80 pounds (5.7 Stone). Also they must be seated in the rear since all cars have airbags (2 seaters are excepted but must have the factory defeat the airbag).

    If he is over 5.7 stone this definitely wouldn't work for your son. Considering his age and the clothing size I would suspect he's probably too large.

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  3. I love this post. I can see how this seat could work and the reasons it didn't for you. A great way to present a really honest post. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. I have a bubblebum for my 7 year old and the first few outings I had your same concerns. But we looked at how he was sitting and he was slouched trying to put his feet on the floor. So I put the case with my tyre inflator and other car safety stuff in it under his feet-he sits better and I am much happier than I was. You are right about the belt holders being fiddly-there is a knack to it which my 5 yr old got the hang of immediately, me and the 7 yr old still get frustrated. I have just ordered a 2nd one for a quick visit to friends in Germany as we can use them on the plane and don't have to worry about friends borrowing car seats for us. One other thing-I always use the shoulder strap guide-it keeps the shoulder strap in the right place and is very important for shorter kids (like my 5 yr old).

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Don't forget to leave me a comment, Cheers Mich x