When you’re travelling on holiday, or your child needs picking up in someone else’s car, making sure your child has a booster seat can be a headache. How are you (or your child) going to cart about a hard, solid, unwieldy piece of kit? Enter the BubbleBum, an inflatable booster seat that fits in a handy carrybag.
The BubbleBum is the brainchild of mum-of-two Grainne Kelly. She got tired of carting around solid booster seats for two children when she needed an instant car seat, so came up with the idea for this inflatable seat, which rolls up and fits in a small bag, much like a mini sleeping bag holder.
Grainne said, “Modern families do a lot of travelling in other people’s cars, coaches and taxis, and bulky, heavy booster seats just aren’t practical to carry around even for one child, never mind if you have two or three. BubbleBum has been designed to be small, light, practical and so easy to use that it’s perfect even for quick taxi journeys. Plus it looks good, so kids don’t mind carrying it around in their rucksacks or schoolbags.”
If you’re concerned that an inflatable seat is just not safe, here’s the official stuff: the BubbleBum has been approved under the United Nations ECE Regulation R44/04 for safety for both Group 2 and 3. It is designed for use with a standard 3-point adult seatbelt that has been approved to ECE Regulation 16 or equivalent.
However, it doesn’t have the additional safety features of the high-backed group 2 and 3 car seats, but when you’re facing a situation where you need an instant car seat it can be a great temporary solution.
What we love
The cover of the BubbleBum is a colourful purple – and most importantly wipeable. The inner inflatable cushion feels very tough and durable. It was also simple and quick to blow up. It only takes a couple of minutes to inflate and put in place.
Arron, almost 4, loved the fact that he could carry his own car seat, and we didn’t wait long to test it out. It’s simple to fit on the seat and run the seat belt through.
So many of us now juggle picking up our children’s friends, having our own children taken to various activities and so on, that a booster that our child can carry themselves and use in the childminder’s, grandma’s or another family’s car is a very handy solution.
Anyone who has bumped their legs constantly while carrying a booster seat, or who has cursed the decision not to take a car seat when visiting relatives by train and ended up having to walk everywhere, will appreciate the convenience of the BubbleBum.
Once Arron has grown another couple of centimetres, the BubbleBum will definitely be coming with us when he needs that extra seat. As we live in a small village, Arron will be able to take it with him to school, Beavers and so on, for when he is getting lifts in other families’ cars.
The BubbleBum is also very comfy for small bottoms. In fact, because it’s inflatable, it’s more cushioned than a lot of traditional booster seats, so could avoid the numb-bum syndrome and give a cushier ride on bumpy roads.
What to watch out for
I thought the BubbleBum seemed a little small for our car seats (we have a Vauxhall Vectra), and I wonder how a bigger child’s bottom would fit on it comfortably.
Arron is quite tall for his age, but the BubbleBum didn’t actually give him quite enough lift to have the seat belt in a comfortable place, while the conventional types or car seats do. It states that the seat is suitable from 3 to 11 years, but unless you have a very tall 3-year-old, I think you’ll be waiting until they’re a bit older.
I also found it hard to roll it up to get back into its bag, but I suspect that it might become a bit more flexible after a couple of months of use.
Who is BubbleBum booster seat best for?
Families who need a temporary solution for holidays or when their children need to travel in other people’s cars.
The BubbleBum is a great idea that’s handy and convenient. The will-we/won’t-we take the car seat debate will no longer be an issue for travelling families. However, it’s only a temporary solution and isn’t a replacement for your permanent car seat. Also, it may not give a 3-year-old enough height, or be big enough for larger children.