OK, its not a stroller, and I certainly don’t plan on doing regular car seat posts. But, I have been stupid excited about the Bubblebums since I first heard they were making their way across the pond, and I was lucky enough to be selected as one of 5 testers here in the states before they went on sale in the USA.
Because I have five out of six kids in car seats, it can be quite the jigsaw puzzle to make it work in any car, because obviously I need three across a third row. This sounds easy BUT IT IS NOT.
So I had to buy three of the narrowest seats on the market (until now!!!!!) because it was my only option. But it means that one of my twins are still in a five point harness, which I find ridiculous. They are almost 6 and 60lbs. I know I will be offending the car seat militia among you, who will tell me that their 11 year old is rear facing, but here we are. Move on.
Imagine my excitement when I saw this little baby:
It is less than 13 INCHES wide at the widest point. My dreams have come true. And of course, it has met and exceeded all EU and US safety standards. Its more than just an inflatable booster, it does belt positioning and everything else its meant to. Really, I am not a car seat professional, so I will refer you to those who are: Here is the Car Seat Lady’s (a pediatrician and car seat guru) post on Bubblebum, and here is the Bubblebum official safety info.
It comes in a little tiny cyclinder, a nice change…
and in its carry bag its about the size of two cans of soda. Yeah, you know I totally took a picture of it with a can of soda. **Diet Coke did not pay me for this picture**
So, its inflatable, which is interesting in a good way. I like it, especially as someone who travels so much (Hi. Last year we dragged 5- FIVE- full size car seats literally around the whole world. Five. Yeah….) because they can deflate and be carried around easily by me or, even better, by the child who’s butt it belongs to. Heaven. You just blow it up and its done. So great for people who ride taxi’s or switch cars a lot, it can fit in your diaper bag.
This is it deflated…..
and it blows up easily through this little thingingyjibbit (thats the official name for it….you’re welcome!)
and each seat has two fixed side positioners (for the lap portion of the belt) and a removable shoulder positioner for the shoulder strap. Why is my spellcheck not recognizing the word ‘positioner’? Is it not a word? Sorry about that….
Anyway. It is going to retail for $39-ish. Come on. Thats 1/10th of what I paid for my last 3-across car seats (cough*sunshinekidsradian*cough) so already I am $807 ahead for all three.
I drive a 2011 Toyota Sienna, and according to the literature my third row has 52 inches of hip room. I will be purchasing a 3rd bubblebum as soon as they become available but for right now I have the two bubblebums with a Clek Olli and there is inches of room between each for hands to clip belts, etc.
Ok, so lets get something out of the way that I don’t like. I am not a huge fan of the colors. My kids love it, but my kids don’t get my ridiculous need for my clean, shiny car to be matched by clean, shiny products inside it. My cherry red paint and tan leather don’t look so great with the bright purple and lime green. However, its pretty likely that no one else will share my OCD on that issue, and thats fine. I would like to see it in black. On the Bubblebum website it does say more colors are expected in the EU market, so maybe they will eventually find their way over here as well. Seriously, of all the things not to like about it, thats a pretty silly reason, and not at all worth me sticking with the overpriced monsters my kids were squeezed into before.
Overall, I am just SO excited that these are going to be available in the US. I really think its good to fill the gap in the market for people who need three across a row, but are in between needing a convertible car seat and having their kids be on the actual seat itself. And even if you only need one, its a no nonsense, compact, easily movable option, for practically no money at all. LOVE IT.
**Disclaimer of sorts: I was given two free Bubblebums for the purpose of testing and reviewing, but I was not paid at all for this post, and I certainly am not being all sunshiney sweet because I have to be. We all know I can be downright mean about baby gear I don’t like. I pinky swear, this is a genuine review with my honest opinions.