Inflatable Booster Seats: Frequently Asked Questions

Family photo with parents and three children

One of the most frequent questions we’re asked at the Comprehensive Children’s Injury Center is: “How can I fit three car/booster seats across the back of my vehicle?” And the answer is not always a simple one.

Not many vehicles on the market will fit three full-size car seats or boosters in a row.

Here’s the good news: If one of the children is of booster-seat age (over four years old), inflatable booster seats are an option. BubbleBum is one brand on the market.

Inflatable booster seats function similarly to many other booster seats, but are unique because they inflate/deflate and are very lightweight and portable. These features make it a great option for parents who need to fit three car seats across their back seat, as well as for children and families who participate in carpools or travel often.

Because BubbleBum is fairly new to the market, we get a lot of questions about them. Here are answers to some of the more frequent ones:

Inflatable booster seats: 5 Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Are they safe?
A1: Yes! Inflatable booster seats are crash tested. And they meet all of the same regulations in the United States and the European Union that typical booster seats have to meet.

Q2: What age can children use them?
A2: Inflatable car seats are suitable for children ages 4-11 years old and up to 57 inches tall. This seat does not have an upper or lower weight limit. However, we recommend that a child be at least 40 pounds to use a booster seat.

Q3: What are the dimensions of inflatable booster seats?
A3: Once inflated, they have a dimension of 11” x 11” x 4.5”, making them a great solution to the “three seats across” question we get. And when deflated, they can fit in a backpack or large purse.

Q4: Are they self-inflating? Or do I need to bring a pump?
A4: The seat has a small air valve that an adult will need to blow into to inflate it. It takes less than 20 seconds.

Q5: Are they an okay, long-term option?
A5: As with other car seats, this inflatable booster seat does have an expiration date. The manufacturer recommends not using the inflatable booster seat four years after the purchase date.

There are quite a few booster seats on the market, including inflatable ones. You may find it helpful to bring your children to a store to help pick one out. That way you can make sure that they fit in it and pick one they like using. However, if you’re looking for something to fit three car/booster seats across your vehicle, or a lightweight, portable option for a taxi or rental car, inflatable boosters are a great option.

For more information on Child Passenger Safety, visit our Comprehensive Children’s Injury Center.

 

Emily Lee

About the Author: Emily Lee

Emily Lee is an Injury Prevention Coordinator with the Cincinnati Children’s Comprehensive Injury Center. She is also a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician and Instructor. A lifelong Cincinnatian, Emily and her husband love exploring the city and spending time with their new dog, Bella.

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Comments

  1. Beth May 10, 16:02
    Can you put a Bubble Bum in a seat without a headrest? I.e. The back, middle seat of a car? I'm looking for exactly what you describe- 3 across in the back seat. Thanks!
    • Emily Lee
      Emily Lee Author May 11, 08:25
      Beth- Because the Bubble Bum is a no-back booster seat, a headrest is required so that the child has both head and neck support in the event of a crash. It's important that, in the event of an accident, a child has something to prevent their head from whiplash. Therefore for your scenario, a Bubble Bum would not work in the center seat, if a headrest is not available.