We mostly hire a car when we travel abroad – we find it gives us the flexibility we like. We love being able to choose where we travel to and when.
Summer 2017 saw us travelling around southern Spain. The thought of lugging two car seats out with us was one that didn’t appeal. It seems it’s a constant juggling act of keeping little people safe whilst on the move but also the challenge of carrying all the kit you need!
Now for our youngest I wasn’t willing to consider anything else. He has the CYBEX Sirona car seat. Ok so it doesn’t connect to an airline seat (but not having to pay for a seat for him is a major, or only!, perk of having a child under 2!)- but it does come out highly on all UK safety rating tests. Anyway, having hired seats in the past and having always been given manky old seats that don’t fill you with confidence we decided to take his out with us (taking full advantage of the budget airline luggage allowance!).
Our daughter though was a different matter. She’d recently gone forward facing and we felt we could now look for something equally safe but lighter and more mobile (I know you’re thinking, does such a thing exist?!?)
Well yes it does. I stumbled across the Mifold seat one evening when googling alternatives. The blurb on the webpage says it’s ’10x as a small just as safe’. Basically a regular booster lifts a child to be in a position of an adult whereas the mifold, instead of lifting the child up, holds the seatbelt down.
Ease of Installation
The mifold adjusts the adult-sized seatbelt to securely fit a child. Two red lap belt guides hold the lap belt accurately on the hip bones. The shoulder strap and red clip aligns the chest strap with the child’s shoulder. I’m not going to lie at first it seems pretty tricky to work out which way the seat belt goes but there is a diagram (and various online videos…thank goodness for free EU roaming!). I recommend practicing before you pick up your car hire with two cranky children! Once you’ve done it a few times you get the hang of it. It’s worth bearing in mind that you will need to re-install it after every use.
Comfort levels for children
If, like our daughter, your child has been used to sitting in a very supportive seat, the mi-fold takes some getting used to. They have to sit upright, as we do when sitting with a normal seatbelt. If you’re child falls asleep in the car then some sort of cushion (or Trunki Travel Pillow) comes in handy to prop their head up. The mi-fold has a first base so possibly not massively comfy for little bottoms. That said our daughter doesn’t seem to complain!
Size and ease of travelling
All in all this seat absolutely revolutionises foreign travel with children. At only £49 it soon saves you money on hiring them at airports.
It’s so compact that you could easily carry it around on a day trip (on indeed carry more than one of need be!). It fits easily into a glove box or handbag. It would be ideal for foreign holidays, taxi rides (for all those city breaks you’re planning!) or even for the occasional plus one car seat on the school run but it’s obviously not a replacement for a fully sized car seat.