GrabFamily will equip all its cars with portable mifold Grab-and-Go child booster seats to make car travel with kids in Singapore much safer
In a taxi-heavy country like Singapore where it’s also prohibitively expensive to own a car, many a mama has struggled with the challenge of schlepping a car seat – particularly when kiddos enter toddlerhood and small, portable infant seats are no longer an option.
We all know it’s infinitely safer to put a child in a car restraint – and ride share companies have started turning away customers who don’t adhere to the law about children under 1.35m needing appropriate restraints (taxis are exempt from this requirement). And yet how often do you see kids roaming freely in cars? Or simply clip your toddler into a taxi seatbelt and hope for the best? Because honestly, it can be really hard dragging a giant car seat around to school, or the airport, or running errands at the grocery store.
Although it’s not a perfect solution, last week Grab Singapore helped families make great strides toward improving car safety by announcing a landmark partnership with mifold (pronounced “My Fold”) – one of the world’s most innovative, ultra-compact portable child car seat options.
The new GrabFamily initiative – the first of its kind across the Grab network – aims to equip all Grab cars with portable mifold Grab-and-Go child booster seats. The good news: this is a fabulous option for kids ages 4 to 7 (or those who weigh at least 15kg – good news for my big almost-3-year-old). The bad news: This still doesn’t do much good for kids in the 1-to-4 range who’ve outgrown infant seats but dearly need a restraint.
Why is there not an option for kids under 4?
At the launch event to announce their partnership, Grab Singapore Head Andrew Chan addressed questions about why Grab Cars couldn’t accommodate children under 4. Turns out last year Grab did run a pilot programme with car seats for younger kids, but drivers complained that they were too bulky (taking up valuable space in the trunk when not in use), and often infants cried when they were put in unfamiliar car seats.
All that said, Chan (himself the father of a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old) says he certainly understands the plight of toddler parents, and Grab is planning “to have more options in the future”.
In the meantime, all Grab drivers are trained in the use of a mifold and know how to properly install one.
So how does it work?
First off, note that GrabFamily will charge an additional $2 per ride. When you weigh up convenience and safety, that’s money well-spent, though it does feel a bit like a bit of a penalty for simply wanting to bring your child out safely in the car. If it helps subsidize having the seat, though, then so be it. Note that if you have your own child restraint, you won’t be charged $2 for use of the GrabCar’s mifold.
To make sure you book a GrabFamily car, open the Grab app on your phone and scroll all the way over to the right to the “GrabFamily” option.
Also present at the launch announcement last week was mifold’s inventor, Jon Sumroy. He explained what inspired him to create the product (carpooling with his kids while living in the U.S.), and what sets it apart from other booster seat products: “Instead of lifting the child up, mifold works by holding the seatbelt down.”
The mifold ensures that the seatbelt is correctly placed over a little one’s hip bones (rather than stomach) and over their shoulder bones (rather than their neck). It’s ridiculously simple: just a few clips and a slim padded seat.
After Sumroy demonstrated how the mifold works for the crowd, we all got a chance to try it out as well. Indeed it is tiny – weighing just 750 grams and only 25 centimetres long. It can easily fit in a child’s backpack, in a glove compartment, or any other bag, and makes a really fab option for travel.
Best of all, mifold should be available to purchase in Singapore in the coming months. It will retail for $99 at stores like Mothercare and Motherswork; it’s best to contact them directly for an exact launch date.
All in all this is a huge step in the right direction, though we’re still bummed there’s not a safe alternative for younger kids (your move, Uber! Why not bring Uber Car Seat to Singapore like you did in New York?!). In the meantime, for the month of March you can waive GrabFamily’s $2 fee simply by entering the promo code FAMILY. Happy (and safe) travels, mama!