FQ Expert

Grainne Kelly Talks Car Booster Seats: Safety and Bubblebum

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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

Booster seats can be expensive to rent on holiday – we speak to Grainne Kelly, inventor of the Bubblebum seat that can come with you wherever your travels take you.

The Bubblebum inflatable car booster seat is the winner of more than 20 design and innovation awards including Mumsnet, not to mention being a best-seller and firm parents’ favourite. Finding space to pack an extra item among the army of soft toys and spare clothes can be a nightmare, but not so with the Bubblebum. It easily deflates and packs away into a rucksack or handbag, making it perfect for holidays, rental cars, taxis, coach journeys, school trips or car-pooling.

We caught up with her to ask her more about the Bubblebum, and why it is so important.

Why is using a car booster seat important for children aged 4+?

The second most common injury to children aged between 4-11 as a result of car crashes are abdominal injuries. These are caused by the incorrect positioning of the vehicle lap belt. The seat must not only position the belt but give a slight ‘boost’ so that the child is less inclined to push their bottom forward to bend their knees over the edge of the seat, which introduces slack into the belt path and again causes the abdominal injuries. 

A rigid seat causes ‘dead leg syndrome’ for children, similar to what you might feel if you sit on a desk with your legs dangling for a long period of time. BubbleBum counters this effect, as it is squishey!

What are the dangers of choosing not to use one? 

Abdominal injuries caused by the vehicle seat belt are the main risk of not using a booster seat. I myself was involved in a pretty nasty crash a year ago and had significant bruising and soft tissue damage on the top of my thighs and hips caused by the vehicle seat belt. Imagine that happening on the soft tissues of a child….

Where did the inspiration come from to create Bubblebum?

I was travelling with my children and every time I arrived to the car rental desk they said that they didn’t have the booster seats even though I had rebooked them in advance. They said that they had no space for them in their sparse airport offices. So I set about creating a lightweight, portable, safe and comfortable option.

What makes Bubblebum different?

BubbleBum is inflatable and deflatable therefore portable and packable. It is narrow so it fits easily between two other seats making 3 across the back seat easy. It provides just enough boost to help eliminate the slouching forward (which introduces slack into the belt fit). It is comfortable on the legs for little ones and the cool name makes it desirable to the cool kids who don’t want to sit on a ‘baby seat’. BubbleBum is only for ‘big kids’, not babies.

Also, because BubbleBum is so compact and portable, it can travel with the child and not the vehicle making school pick-ups a breeze. Grandparents and carers need never worry about having no booster in their car!

How much money can someone save if they invest in a Bubblebum? 

Rental of a booster seat, that everyone else has used first, averages at €11 per day from car rental companies. Based on a 10-day holiday every year for 5 years, the savings would amount to €520 (roughly £418) per child by using a BubbleBum instead of renting.

BubbleBum, the UK brand behind the Award-winning portable, lightweight, inflatable car booster seat for children aged between 4-11, have recently released two new products to its range – the Sneck: a comfy, cosy travel pillow that attaches to a car headrest; and the Junkie, which transforms your backseat, organises your junk and keeps your kids entertained. Find out more here.