Are you lovin’ the convenience of taxis, but yet apprehensive about the lack of safety for kids traveling in them? Or do you want to take your kids along in Grab or Uber rides without having to lug chunky boosters along? The law in Singapore requires children under the height of 1.35m to be belted up in a car seat while traveling in a private vehicle (including GrabCar and Uber vehicles). The answer might be right here.
As most of you would have read from our previous blogpost that my family (Min) has gone car(e)-free for the past year. We have taken quite a number of taxi rides with the kids through this time. I absolutely love not having a car and zipping around in taxis, buses and trains instead. Though it is legal in Singapore to take kids in taxis without carseats, we know it is not the safest option. We have also read recently that it is illegal to be in a Grab or Uber type of service without proper car seats. A friend told us about the mifold recently and I just had to try it out.
WHAT IS THE MIFOLD?
It’s basically a very very compact and foldable booster seat for ages 4 – 12 years and catering for children 15kg and up. It it literally the size of some purses. Have a look:
It weighs 750g, light enough to be carried everywhere.
It’s even the ideal booster seat to take on overseas trips! No more booster seat rentals to pay for. And it is great for Uber and Grab cars too! It’s also very convenient for carpooling and can be transferred easily across vehicles. Having the grandparents to pick up the kids last minute is no longer a logistical challenge with regards to car seats. If you own a car, you can slip the Mifold into the seats’ back pockets when kids are not in the car. No more transferring of car seats or boosters into the boot when giving others a ride.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Seat belts in cars are built for an average adult’s height. When my kids are belted up with the normal seat belt, the bottom belt usually wraps around their stomach and they would instinctively place the strap behind them for comfort, as the strap tends to cut into their neck. In an accident, the safety belts can actually inflict injuries on a child.
Traditional booster seats lift the child up into a regular adult position, thereby providing safety in the event of an impact. However, I’ve also noticed that traditional booster seats may slip during a ride. There were a couple of times where I had to push the booster back into position while Z was on it.
Instead of lifting a child, mifold does the complete opposite. It brings the belt down to the child’s height. My boys no longer lift the belt behind them and have reported that the mifold provides a comfortable ride.
IS IT SAFE?
I am happy to learn that Mifold has gained all regulatory approval in the European Union, United States of America and Cananda.
Have a read here on all the relavant regulatory approvals obtained:
OUR EXPERIENCE WITH THE MIFOLD:
– Remembering the Mifold
At the start, I had to keep reminding myself to pack the Mifold into our bags. There were times where I realized that we had forgotten the Mifolds after we’ve embarked on our trip. It is forming a new routine and habit and I am sure it would become more instinctive as we go along. It dawned on me that it may be much easier to get the older kids to carry a backpack each, with their Mifold packed inside, together with their water bottle, before each day out.
– Setting up the Mifold
Setting up the Mifold is not difficult at all and it will get easier with every practice. If it is your first time heading out with it, I would advise you to practice setting it up with your child on, at home, before heading out. Most taxi drivers in Singapore do not wait for the kids to be fully buckled before moving off. Therefore, getting more practice in and having the belt guide and clip adjusted before its maiden trip will help everyone get settled quickly and help you feel less frazzled in the cab. I had E and Z shouting “Mummy, help me!” and M screaming “Mummy, carry me!”all at the same time.
Also, measure the size of your kids’ bums against the Mifold lap belt guides before embarking on your first trip (size I, II or III). It will save you loads of pain trying to figure the right size in a moving car. My kids know their sizes now and they would adjust the belt guides to the exact size before boarding. All they have to do when they get in is to open it up, sit on it and belt up.
Be prepared that your kids may need to your help to belt up, at least at the start. It will take some practice for them to get to the level of proficiency in the Mifold promotional video. There’s some level of fine motor skills needed to slip the seat belt into the guide and kids need to get used to trying to clip the chest strap down on their own. They may also need help to get the belt out of the guide at the end of the ride.
However, once they’re strapped in, they look perfect. And I’m glad they’re safe too.
WHERE TO GET THIS?
I bought the Mifold brand new from Carousell. There are some stock available there. If you would like to buy direct, please visit http://www.mifold.com and it will redirect you to their indiegogo campaign site. They do ship internationally, though it is chargeable.
If you have bought one and need some help with setting it up, you may want to refer to this YouTube video: