“ Manufacturer: Cheeky Rascals / Type: Child Seats „
Currently the law states that children under twelve years old and/or below the height of 135cm must use a booster seat when travelling in the car, so once Hollie moved out of her 'baby seat' we set about looking for a good quality booster seat that would keep her both safe and comfortable on the numerous car journeys we undertake. We eventually decided on a relatively cheap model, theorising that replacing it on a yearly basis to keep up with the trends and technology would be better than choosing a more expensive one and trying to keep it looking and acting in perfect condition for years at a time. I wouldn't have chosen an inflatable booster myself but a timely competition win a few months ago saw me receiving this 'Bubble Bum' seat which is sold, but not manufactured, by Cheeky Rascals.
It's a very simple idea; a car seat which is inflated by mouth and includes seat belt loops for added comfort and protection for your child. It's a stage 2 - 3 car seat which makes it suitable for children from 15kg up to 36kg, Hollie (at five years) just about fits in this weight scale but I suspect she was a little below the recommended minimum weight when we first started using it and while this isn't ideal she was still comfortable in the Bubble Bum.
The seat is very easily inflated, you need to blow until no more air can possibly be contained in the air chamber as for safely it must be fully inflated - there's no faffing around with a 'poke in' valve closure either, once you've blown the seat up you simply twist the nozzle and it'll close without air billowing out as you fiddle with an old style push valve. The twist is done is nano-seconds, but creates an excellent seal to ensure the booster seat doesn't deflate while in use - we've been using ours for months now and it doesn't need to be inflated after each use, I've noticed that when Hollie is sitting on it for long journeys (over an hour) it can flatten very slightly and I'll need to pop a bit more air into the chamber but for shorter trips around town a week or two can go by before the seat needs to be re-inflated. Obviously this is something you need to keep an eye on yourself as if your child is towards the upper weight limit the seat may deflate quicker, just give it a prod each time you use it and that'll tell you if and when you need to blow it up a little more.
The seat belt loops are well located and keep the seat belt in the perfect position across Hollie's body. To utilise them you simply get your child to sit on the Bubble Bum and pop the section of seat belt that runs across their lap into the plastic hooks before doing up the belt as usual. The benefit of this is to keep the belt in place to restrain your child in the event of an accident, and also to ensure the belt doesn't ride up their body and become uncomfortable as they sit in the car. The seat belt feeds through the hooks easily, you just need to be careful that the belt doesn't twist as you're sliding it through and it can be a real pain to untwist it once it's done up! Hollie seems to find the belt aspect comfortable, or at least has never complained that it's not (and being a very vocal child I'm sure I'd know if there was any 'digging in'), and the positioning of the hooks allows the belt to sit naturally across her body and also keeps a snug fit.
The seat itself is covered with a soft cover, the purple colouring means it doesn't show up any grubbiness or dirt at all and although is surface wash only it still looks as good as new despite being used on a practically daily basis. I think (although am not sure) that the Bubble Bum was created as a 'temporary' car seat, for those times when for whatever reason your child can't use their plastic booster - this isn't made terribly clear though and despite using it exclusively it has remained in perfect condition. It will deflate quickly and folds to a very small size, making it ideal for taking on holiday with you if you're planning on hiring a car and don't want to transport a bulky car seat.
Now, I've discussed mainly comfort thus far but the safety side of the Bubble Bum is excellent too. It conforms to various ECE safety regulations and is supplied with an extensive manual (well, it's a sheet but packed with info) so you can ensure you're using it correctly. Initially I'd been worried about the seat sliding around but the seat belt, and presumably the weight of Hollie, keeps it in place and even when she deliberately tried shoving it from under herself recently it didn't budge an inch - much to Hollie's irritation. Mine is the original Bubble Bum, but an updated version has recently been released which includes a 'strap clip' to hold the diagonal portion of the seat belt away from the kiddie's neck - this sounds a really good idea as young children can easily slip this section of the belt away from their body, leaving them virtually unprotected if the worst happened and you were involved in a car accident.
I absolutely recommend the Bubble Bum booster seat, an inflatable car seat might not be something you've considered in the past but it's worth a look to see whether one would suit you. Having three vehicles in our household (all of which Hollie travels in) means her booster seat is constantly being taken in and out of the car, I had worried this was going to amount to a little too much handling for something that is basically a blow up cushion but despite literally hundreds of removals and re-attachments there has been no damage to either the surface of the booster or the seat belt hooks. Priced at £29.99 (may be cheaper if you look around) I think this is a bargain for such a fantastic booster seat.
Cheeky Rascals Bubblebum Car Booster Seat, is colourful, comfortable, lightweight and portable.The deflatable booster will fold up compactly for storing or transporting allowing it to be used wherever, whenever.