Review of the BubbleBum Inflatable Safety Booster for Travel

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My review of the Bubble Bum Inflatable Safety Booster (Updated!) –  After using the BubbleBum backless inflatable booster with all three of my children–and several of their car-pooling friends, I thought it would be great to update this post and share with those of you who may be wondering about it now–or for a trip in your future.

But first, pin it to your travel board for future reference and to help others!

Review of the BubbleBum inflatable booster for travel

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links to help fund this independent website at no cost to you. Two Bubble Bum boosters were provided to me for review purposes with no promise of a positive review. My opinions are always my own.

The Bubble Bum has been a great solution for us many times, and we’ve even loaned ours to friends for their travels. Read on to see for yourself if this inflatable safety booster may be just the thing to help ease your family’s travels.

If you’re like me, the first thing you may wonder upon hearing the words “inflatable safety booster” are, is any booster that’s “inflatable” actually safe for road use?

the Bubble Bum
Pack it flat or rolled into its own travel sack, and travel on with the cushy Bubble Bum.

Safety? Check!

I was surprised to learn that, not only was the BubbleBum invented by a nationally certified Child Passenger Safety Technician, but the creators have had it tested and certified for BOTH U.S. and European safety standards–something most child safety seat manufacturers don’t bother with.

Even more surprising? The Bubble Bum even passed the European safety testing when DEFLATED. (What?!) To be clear, its certification reads:

“BubbleBum is crash test approved and meets and exceeds the EU ECE R44.04 and the US FMVSS 213 safety regulations. These entail both crash testing and materials testing.”

So, I’d say they’ve got safety covered with this one. But how does it play out during travel?

Review of the BubbleBum inflatable safety booster
The BubbleBum shown deflated and rolled in comparison with the car’s seat.

Traveling with our two BubbleBum boosters

Yes, it can be rolled up to fit in its own travel sack at about 12″ Long x 6″ Diameter. But for our purposes, it was perfect to leave our two Bubble Bums as flat as possible and instead pack them right inside our youngest child’s car seat carrying case.

We checked them all through to Hawaii for free in the car seat travel bag (car seats are checked free with most airlines, but suitcases, notsomuch — see Flying with a Baby or Toddler Best Tips Online for more hacks).

When we reached our rental car, and rain began to fall, the girls were able to sit inside the car and finish inflating their seats as it poured. Like Therm-a-rests and similar products, the Bubble Bum begins inflating as soon as you open the valve, but giving it the final taught breaths and sealing it off with a twist at the same time can be tricky.

Likewise, when deflating the BubbleBum, I found it necessary to use my knee to keep the rolled seat totally deflated while closing the valve to prevent it from re-inflating. This wasn’t a problem, however.

The one draw back we found was that it was very difficult for our girls to route the safety belts through the red clips each time they got back into the car, partly because one had a car seat on that side of her and partly because it just is a little tricky.

We got used to helping them with this, though it has been nice to no longer need to do that with their standard boosters! While there is an optional shoulder belt positioning clip that might be helpful with the younger children using this booster, we did not need it.

Click here to see the BubbleBum at Amazon – and thank you for supporting this site!

Other things to consider…

Bubble Bum in travel sack
The Bubble Bum rolled and ready for transport in its own travel sack.

Thanks to the two Bubble Bums provided for our review, we had no problem fitting our three kids across the back seat of our rental car during our vacation. At only 13 inches wide, and weighing less than 2 lbs., it is also ideal for carpooling with extra children.

Better still, its packability makes it easy to send along to school with your child on days when someone else might pick up.

I would also like to mention, that with a thin layer of memory foam on top of the “bubble,” it’s also surprisingly comfy (yes, I had to try it myself!).

I think the BubbleBum folks should consider making a grown-up version for long-haul drivers and also the elderly who can use a little extra padding, and may no longer be the height considered safe for airbags (what, you weren’t expecting that in the Travels with Baby blog!?).

review of bubblebum safety booster for travel

Click here to see the BubbleBum at Amazon – and thank you for supporting this site!

BubbleBum vs. the RideSafer travel vest

While the BubbleBum is a far more affordable option to the RideSafer travel vest for older / larger children at least 4 years and 40 lbs., I would note that it does not work for the 3-year-olds and smaller 4-year-olds, as the size small RideSafer travel vests do (recommended for 3 years and 33 lbs. and up).

Like the RideSafer travel vest, it can be used with shoulder-only safety belts. Though the RideSafer 2 (deluxe) also includes a safety tether so it may also be used with a lap-only safety belt when a tether anchor is available.

In select states with strict “elevated booster seat” requirements, the Bubble Bum meets this criteria for use in private vehicles. Unlike the RideSafer travel vest, which is not a seat and never expires, the Bubble Bum has a 4-year life.

Click here to see the BubbleBum at Amazon – and thank you for supporting this site!

You might also like:

How to Travel with a Car Seat (Without Losing Your Mind)

For more travel car seat, booster, and car seat alternatives, see Great Products & Gear. To browse all Pack This! features, click here.

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Safe journeys,

Shelly Rivoli, author of the award-winning Travels with Baby and Take-Along Travels with Baby guidebooks

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