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When I was asked if I'd like to review a BubbleBum Inflatable Car Booster Seat review, I was intrigued as to what it would look like. The word inflatable left me feeling slightly concerned - would it be flimsy like a balloon or a beach ball ? Sticky and sweaty like one of the inflatable armchairs you see floating around on swimming pools owned by people like Paris Hilton ? Or rubbery like a space hopper ? Well, luckily, the answer is none of the above !
As you can see in the product photo, it's not a cheap-looking gadget, it's a real, comfortable and above all secure booster seat. It's really simple to inflate and only takes a few puffs but it's amazingly solid and doesn't feel like it's an inflatable seat at all. It's really comfortable to sit on because it has no hard edges and a huge advantage is that it's narrower than most booster seats. Anyone (like us) who has to fit three kids in the back of a car will know that this often poses a problem. We have a Renault Scenic which is quite roomy but even so, with Juliette and Pierre's car seats on the back seat, there's barely enough room for Sophie to squish in a booster seat and still have room to use the seatbelts. In fact, for this very reason, you are legally 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 BubbleBum gets around this problem nicely. The fact that it doesn't have arm rests also makes it so much easier to get to the seatbelt buckles.
It is safety approved for groups 2 and 3 (age 4 +) and has passed all the relevant safety tests and crash tests both inflated and completely deflated so it is definitely totally safe. As the distributors Cheeky Rascals explain : "The key point about booster seats is not actually the boost (that just makes the child more comfortable), it is where the seatbelt goes across their lap, and the seat belt guides on the BubbleBum ensure that the seatbelt sits over the child’s lap and not their stomach which helps to avoid nasty internal injuries in the event of a crash." The seatbelt guides on the BubbleBum ensure that the strap is in the correct position so that the pelvic bones rather than soft tissue would absorb the impact of a crash (with head and abdominal injuries being the most common injuries in an accident). The seatbelt guides do keep your child "trapped" in their seat and are a bit fiddly to undo when they want to get out of the car, but if that's what it takes for added safety in an accident, it's a small price to pay.
We haven't actually needed to use it that much in the car yet but, as you can see, Juliette is enjoying using it as a seat in her room for watching DVDs ! Where it will really come into its own is this summer at the in laws'. When we all meet up with the other cousins and they all want to swap about, going in each others' cars or hopping in with nanny and grandad or even inviting an extra friend along, it's always a hassle making sure everyone has the correct (and legally required) booster seats. As the BubbleBum can be deflated (and, importantly, is brightly coloured and attractive to kids), it can be thrown in the kids' rucksacks along with the buckets and spades and toys and we'll be ready for all eventualities.
For childminders and grandparents, it's a great spacesaver as it can be kept deflated in the boot of the car and blown up and attached as needed within seconds. It's also so light and portable that it would be brilliant for taking on holiday with you to far-flung places where seatbelts, let alone booster seats, are often a rare luxury in taxis, local buses and hire cars. I think ours may be coming on holiday to Turkey with us this summer !
star rating : 4.5/5
RRP : £29.99
for more information : http://www.bubblebum.co.uk/
to buy online : http://www.cheekyrascals.co.uk/1443/home
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