Portable booster seat for kids under 40 pounds
October 6, 2019 6:20 PM   Subscribe

I am looking for a travel booster seat for my daughter, who is 4 years old and 40" tall, but is still only 35 pounds. Ideally it would be something that could be carried around comfortably for a whole day of walking. (US, California)

Do products like this still exist? All the links I can find for under 40 pounds no longer work, it seems like all these products were discontinued in the US. I am wondering if there were some new regulations here that have eliminated truly portable booster seats for under 40 pounds.
posted by insoluble uncertainty to Travel & Transportation around California (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I believe in the US, booster seats are only intended for children that weigh more than 40 lbs. So you probably won't find a booster seat that will meet your needs.

There are other options, though! The lightest weight one I'm aware of is the RideSafer Vest. The other one I know of is the Immi Go. Both are harness restraints; the RideSafer Vest is, as the name suggest, a vest that fits around the child and positions the seatbelt through the vest, so it's more like a booster. The Immi Go is a true car seat, but folds up into a suitcase-sized package. The Immi Go has a handle, but it's not great for carrying around, but it could easily be attached to a backpack or other harness.
posted by devinemissk at 6:37 PM on October 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

Amazon.co.uk describes the mifold portable booster seat as suitable for children from 15 to 36 KG (33 to 79 pounds).

Amazon.com describes the same mifold booster seat as suitable for children from 40 to 100 pounds.

So apparently the US regulators think these boosters should only be used for heavier kids; the UK regulators think they're okay for lighter kids.

FWIW, I've used the mifold -- I found it to be heavier than I expected, and somewhat counterintuitive to use (watch the videos and practice). It worked, but we didn't end up using it a lot.
posted by Winnie the Proust at 7:01 PM on October 6, 2019

devinemissk has it. You won't find anything other than the Immi Go and RideSafer vest that is street legal in CA for under-40-pounders unless something's come on the market in the last three months or so that I haven't heard about, and you probably don't really want to lug the Immi all day. I don't find the RideSafer vest to be particularly confidence-inspiring, personally, but it doesn't weigh much and you can stuff it in a backpack.

TBH, most parents I know hit a point where they just take their chances that nobody's going to stop them and make them weigh their child, and bring a BubbleBum or a smallish folding booster. Car seat laws are really, really, really hard to follow when you're travelling, especially with more than one kid.
posted by potrzebie at 9:56 PM on October 6, 2019

We use the mifold as well. It's far from ideal, but it fits the criteria you're looking for.
posted by wile e at 11:00 PM on October 6, 2019

We're in the same boat - except our son is 5.5 and probably not even 40". We got a Mifold for his friend/carpool, but I haven't really been able to make it work right (seems to cut over his neck).

I really haven't found anything - and our son has been teetering around 35-36 pounds for AGES (literally - just keeps growing up and we can't keep calories in him!).
posted by Pax at 7:15 AM on October 7, 2019

we have mifolds which we bought prior to a trip to Scotland (we live in Caanada). we got them when my kids were 4-almost-5, and 6. we love them and I find them super easy to use.

at four years old you will likely have to buckle your daughter in. at now 6 & 8 my kids do it themselves. also if your daughter is wiggly or insists on playing with the seatbelt these can get awkward. as for portability I have thrown the mifolds in my large purse for the day and been fine
posted by biggreenplant at 7:29 AM on October 7, 2019

There is (at least) one booster that is legal in the US for children starting at 30 lbs--the Harmony Youth backless booster, link here. It's not a "travel" booster in that it doesn't deflate or fold, but it's compact, lightweight at 2.4 lbs (made of foam) and I can confirm it is easier to carry around than a Graco TurboBooster, which we use as our other travel seat--the Harmony seat can fit inside a large backpack or be strapped to the outside of a bag. I've had good success with the RideSafer vest too, although it can be more difficult to use (it's more of a production getting the kid into and out of it each time) and the price is considerably higher.
posted by Jemstar at 8:00 AM on October 7, 2019

We use the RideSafer vest for our 36-pound son, and it works great. Excellent for air travel, too.
posted by Dr. Wu at 12:29 PM on October 7, 2019

I should say that, when traveling recently with our 38 lb. four year old (and 55 lb. seven year old), on a trip with two layovers, we did not lug our Immi Go with us. We brought two Mifolds and called it a day (or a week, as it were). I have essentially no regrets, though the Mifold doesn’t fit the little one as well.
posted by devinemissk at 5:02 PM on October 7, 2019

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