This purse-sized $40 booster car seat makes traveling with kids so much easier, but it’s selling out fast

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You know those people who make traveling with babies worry-free and effortless? I was not one of those people. As a new mum to two babies at once, I spent much of my twins’ first year of life simply trying to survive – traveling with them was a next-level aspiration that should wait for us to take all our landmarks.

Eventually we got there. After the baby phase, we were finally ready to hit the road as a family. But one of the main obstacles we still faced was the problem of land transport security. Either we had to travel with bulky car seats, or we were restricted to the type of cloistered resort that would provide them at all times, from the moment of airport pick-up. Was there another solution I was missing?

During a multi-generational trip to Maui, I finally understood what it was. My then four year old daughter made a new Canadian friend at the resort and this daughter’s family continued to leave the property for more adventurous meals and excursions via Uber. How did they do this? The Mifold booster seat, her mother explained.

Mifold bills itself as “the world’s most compact backless booster”, and it’s easy to see why. It’s about the size of a paperback and fits in my purse or my kids’ backpacks with plenty of room to spare. And (for parents of triplets out there, bless your hearts) it’s narrow enough to fit three in a row in the back seat of most cars. It works by pulling on the adult seat belt to adjust it to fit a child securely.

As soon as I got back from this trip, I ordered a reasonably priced pair of gadgets for my twins – and I’ve never looked back. We’ve since tossed them into carry-on bags and used them in rideshares, taxis and rental cars all over the world; they flew with us from Mexico to Marrakech, from Bora Bora to Barcelona.

Does it sound too good to be true? I was wondering this too, but Mifold is actually regulated for use in all US states, as well as universally accepted global car booster seat regulations in the European Union and Canada. (Note that it’s not available for sale or use in Australia, which has its own set of safety standards.)

That said, there are a few caveats. Primarily, the seat is designed for children 4 years and older, who weigh at least 40 pounds (up to 100 pounds) and are at least 40 inches tall (up to 59 inches). It will therefore not replace a forward-facing infant car seat, and it is not regulated for infants or toddlers. But it’s something parents will want to bookmark for when the time comes. Moreover, Mifold is compact yet dense – it weighs around 10 pounds. So plan for that extra weight, if not a lot of extra bulk.

Lastly, my kids tell me that it’s not the most comfortable thing to sit on for long periods of time. And even though this model is called Comfort because of its extra padding, I’d say their review is doable given its stiffness. I reckon you could cushion it with a sweater, say. Or just encourage kids to straighten up and tolerate a little shy back – it’s a small price to pay for their travel adventures.

Our Mifold seats are gray, which goes with everything (as if that matters — and it doesn’t). They have red accents to easily stand out when your Uber driver is a minute away and you’re digging through your bag under snacks, sunscreen and toys. Right now you can score my exact Mifold seats in gray at Walmart, but you’ll want to act fast because the blue and purple colorways are already sold out. (In fact, this Mifold booster seat is so popular that it’s also out of stock at Amazon and the Mifold website.)

This summer, my children will be 8 years old. And on this milestone anniversary, they will no longer be legally required to use booster seats. While the upcoming transition is a logistical relief, it is also bittersweet: it signals the end of the days when our travel boosters took us around the world with our wide-eyed little ones, a great pleasure and a privilege, I guess none of us ever will. Forget.

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