March 2011 – Car-lifornia Dreaming…
We are heading off at the end of the week for a fortnight in California, and I am currently researching and compiling ideas of where to go and what to take.
We are going to San Francisco and then to Los Angeles, and will be hiring two different cars, so I have been investigating the options for child booster seats.
Clearly we could just rent booster seats through the car hire company. Aside from the obvious advantage of convenience, this has some disadvantages, the primary one being that you have no idea of the history of that seat. Has anyone been in an accident in that seat? Will the seat be clean? Will it fit it right? Will it be comfortable for your child? The other obvious issue is cost. Remember, we are hiring cars at two destinations, so that’s four seats in total. At $34.95 per seat hire, that’s a total bill of $139.00, which as far as I’m concerned is money that could be better spent on shoes!
So, what are the alternatives?
Well, the travel car booster is actually a new innovation in the child safety industry, and I’ve come across three different options that we could go for:
The first is the BoostaPak, made by those wonderful people who designed the Trunki. This is an ingenious booster seat, that transforms into a handy backpack for kids. So not only do you have a great seat, you can also make your child carry it. I love it! These retail from £29.99 to £44.99, so it is worth shopping around. The best deal I found was with www.amazon.co.uk who were selling them for £29.99, with free delivery.
The only problem people seem to have with the BoostaPak is that the straps can sometimes fray, which can cause problems when carrying the booster seat as a backpack. I like the look of this and am waiting to see if they bring out more colour and style choices, as they have done with the Trunki.
The second option is the Bubblebum seat, an inflatable booster. Developed by a mum, this seat was designed to be easily inflated and deflated, so that it can be transported everywhere, from school bags to carry-on. I like the fact that this is so easily transportable, but I must admit I would be worried that it could deflate during use – although the website reassures you that it doesn’t. You may also need to use a seat-belt adjuster with the Bubblebum as it only raises the child up, and doesn’t filter the seat belt. The Bubblebum costs anything from £21.95 to £31.95, including delivery.
The final option I found is the Sitsac. This is very similar to the BoostaPak in that it is a backpack/booster-seat combination. The difference with the Sitsac is that when your child is sitting on the booster they can get access to the backpack. This option offers great functionality, however the whole package seems bulky. It’s more expensive too, retailing at £49.99 direct from Sitsac.
I am really pleased by the range of products on offer. I’ll let you know what we decide!