Any parent who travels with young children knows that car seats can be a source of major headaches. Adding car seats to a car rental is expensive but hauling your own through the airport can be a nightmare. Even if you’re not renting a car at your destination, riding in a cab without child restraints is risky, even if it is technically legal in many places.
For very young children, there aren’t a lot of options, but now that one of my children has reached the magic “four years and forty pounds” mark and another is fast approaching, a few new possibilities are opening up. I mentioned in my previous post that there was a booster seat option called the BoostApak. It was originally from Europe, but now it is finally available in Canada and we recently ordered one.
The BoostApak is a backless booster which converts into a solid shell backpack. It comes in green or pink and we ordered the green for maximum versatility.
Here it is, fresh out of the box. The plastic shell is about 1.5 cm thick, so it’s a bit wide and heavy for a small child to carry. My preschoolers would probably be fine carrying it through an airport, but it wouldn’t be something they could carry all day. The empty booster weighed about three pounds, so it was easy enough for an adult to carry. The straps fit me fairly well, but were a bit too narrow to be comfortable for my husband.
To install the booster in the car, you fold the back flap up and snap the armrests into place, then thread the shoulder belt through the positioning strap. The armrests were actually quite solid, more so than they appeared in the product video I had watched. It only took a few seconds to set it up in the car.
The carrying capacity of the pack was reasonable, considering the thickness of the plastic shell. The first thing we checked was whether it would fit my son’s Lego carrying case since it now goes everywhere with us. It passed that test with flying colours. It also fit a family of Barbies quite nicely with plenty of room left for their accessories.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with it so far. I don’t think I’m quite ready to use a backless booster for the kids for everyday use, since we’ve just recently graduated from car seats, but it is an ideal option for travelling, as well as for occasional use such as carpooling or in their grandparents’ car. It will get it’s first test next month on the taxi ride to Disneyland when I go with my son and we plan to bring it to Hawaii with us as well. If it works out, we’ll get a second seat to bring to Europe with us in summer.
No more dragging car seats through the airport for us!