MiFold Grab and Go Booster Review

Curious about the mifold?  So were we.  London Car Seat Safety was sent a Canadian mifold to review, as always our opinions and experiences are our own.

So, what’s the deal?  The mifold is new to the Canadian market.  What makes it special is that it is not like other boosters within the Canadian marketplace.  Rather than try to lift up the child to fit the adult belt properly, the mifold tries to bring the adult seat belt down to fit the child properly.  Pretty interesting idea.

Who can use it?

As per the manual, the mifold is for children over 4, weighing from 40Ibs to 100lbs (18-45kg) and between 40-57 inches (100-145cm) tall.  As always, we caution that boosters should only be used by children who both meet the minimum specs of the booster and are also able to stay seated properly for the duration of the ride.  For typical kids, this occurs between 5-7 year old.

What does it look like?

Now we’re are getting to the good stuff!  When folded the mifold is approximately 4″ by 8″ plus the required shoulder belt adjuster (which can be stored around the booster when folded) . There is a readily accessible slot for the owners manual. Half of the outside (that faces the vehicle seat when unfolded) is textured to help prevent the booster from sliding around the vehicle seat.

On the bottom side of the mifold there are warning labels, as well as two sliding release buttons to adjust the width of the lap belt guides.

Tell me more!

The CMVSS sticker is sewn onto the required shoulder belt adjuster strap along with a date of manufacture sticker.  The mifold expires 7 years from the date of manufacture.

There are three lap belt guide adjustments, at 10, 12 and 14″ points that are labelled i, ii & iii, The storage position is just that.  Do not use the storage position in vehicles (well unless you are storing it).  The lap belts guides need to be adjusted to the nearest to, but not touching the child’s thighs.  This may take a couple of attempts to determine the first time around.

Jill – 6.5, 52lbs, 47″

Jill required the 1st hip width setting.  We experienced difficulty with the combination of this child, this vehicle (2010 Honda Fit) and this booster.  For the brief moment, when I was able to get her sit in the booster without sliding forward, the belt appeared to be a little lower than I would like, but still within the acceptable range.

The main issue I had with her was a very strong desire to slide forward and bend her legs over the vehicle seat causing her to slump significantly.  I both verbally instructed her and then physically moved her back into position and she could not stay seated properly for more than a minute or so.  She normally rides in a traditional high back booster, but had difficulty with the mifold.

In another vehicle or seating position with a longer or shorter vehicle seat pan it is very possible that she would have sat properly, unfortunately this was not the case in the vehicle we tested in.  As always, no seat can fit all children, all seating positions or all vehicles properly.  Where possible, it is always advised to try before you buy.

Natalie – 9.5, 60lbs, 50″

Natalie had excellent belt fit with the mifold. She is on hip setting 2 and riding in a 2011 Ford Fusion.  The lap belt fit appropriately, touching the tops of her thighs and her knees bent comfortable over the vehicle seat.  The shoulder belt fit was good as well once the shoulder belt adjustment clip was adjusted properly. She commented that the booster felt a bit hard, but was okay.

She did require some assistance to thread the seat belt through the guides, but I feel for a child of this age and size she would catch on quickly.  I would strongly consider this as a travel or car pool option for this child in this car or similar.

Final Thoughts

The mifold is a promising seat that may work to fill a specific niche.  Because of it’s nontraditional design at this point, we are going to suggest that you try before you buy to ensure that the belt fit is appropriate and that your child is able to stay in position for the entire ride (not slipping forward).  While it may not work for all families, I am hopeful that the mifold may reduce the number of kids riding without appropriate child restraints when traveling, carpooling or with grandparents/relatives.

To find out more, or to purchase:

Mifold Canada website: www.mifold.ca
Mifold Canada Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mifoldcanada

Available for purchase on mifold.ca and Canadian Tire
http://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/mifold-booster-seat-grey-0461056p.html#srp

Great news!

Mifold canada is giving away a mifold grab-and-go booster to one of our readers. Want to enter? Enter below. Giveaway is restricted Canadian residents only.

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KidsEmbrace Deluxe Combination Harnessed Booster Review

London Car Seat Safety was sent a KidEmbrace Deluxe Combination Seat in Batman from Trillium Distribution, the Canadian Distributor for the Kids Embrace brand in Canada.

The seat comes in awesome character prints which kids love and parents love too.  Currently the seat is available in Spiderman, Batman, Cinderella and TMNT characters.

Details:

  • Forward facing weight range:  22-65 lbs.
  • Forward facing height range: 29-49″
  • Forward facing additional requirements: sitting unassisted and 1 year of age
  • High back booster weight range:  40-100 lbs.
  • High back booster height range: 38-57″
  • High back booster age requirement: 3 years+
  • Highest harness position: 17″
  • Highest booster guide position: 19″
  • Expiration: 7 years
  • Lower anchor weight limit: 45 lbs (though much of the documentation as well as the stickers on the seat indicate 40lbs).

 

Out of Box

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I was actually surprised how small the box was when it arrived.   Right away you will notice that some assembly is required. Thankfully, it can be done without tools. When assembling make sure not to catch the top tether (or your fingers) when popping the headrest on.

 

 

 
IMG_4213All KidsEmbrace seats in Canada have 3 harness slots as of this post. The slot heights are 13″, 16″ and 17″ approximately.

There are three positions on which the headrest can be set at.  The highest belt guide is ~19″

 

 

 

 

IMG_4212

There are 2 crotch buckle positions on the seat at 5.5″ and 7″.  The inner most crotch buckle position requires the buckle to be double backed to the forward most position when using it.

The manual states that says that you must use crotch buckle position closest to, but not under the child.

 

 

UAS Installation
IMG_4192
I installed this seat with UAS in a 2010 Honda Fit.  My model is a 18mo, 32″ tall and 25lbs.  She is using the lowest slots.  She normally rides rear facing but this does give a good example of how this seat will work with young toddlers.

When removing the UAS connectors from their storage area, I did find the belt path to be too narrow for me to easily fit my hand it.  I found I had to tip the seat on it’s side and feed the UAS through the belt path.

 

 

IMG_4207The UAS connectors on this seat are a bit different then those you may be used to.  Rather then the standard push button style or hook style they actually have a leaver to release the connection.

 

 

 

The manual for the Kids Embrace is inconsistent regarding when a child is to discontinue using UAS for seat installation.  Depending on what page you read, it says 40 or 45lbs.  I have contacted the manufacture who has stated that the UAS limit for this seat is 45lbs child weight and that they were going to work towards making it consistent both in the manual and on the seat.

Seat Belt Installation

The model in this picture is 5 years old, 44lbs and 44″ tall. For this test I installed the car seat in a 2011 Ford Fusion with a seat belt in the rear centre position.  Again, I was unable to fit my hand in the narrow belt path, so I tipped the seat on it’s side.  Even still, it was a fairly difficult install as the vehicle belt was getting caught up inside of the belt path.

This particular car has a fairly short tether run and I was delighted to see that the Kids Embrace seat was able to get tight without too much effort.

 

 

Booster Use

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The booster functionality on this seat is pretty good. Our model is 8 years old, 50lbs and 48″ tall.  She is still able to use this seat harnessed, but is on the top harness slot and is 1″ from outgrowing the standing height limit. She is using the second headrest position.

The belt fit is good on her.  A portion of lap belt is indeed resting partially on the top of her thighs (which is difficult to see in the picture due to her clothing choice), though it would be better if the seat did direct the lap belt a bit lower.  The shoulder portion of the belt fit was good as it is centered on her shoulder neither coming off the shoulder or making contact with her neck.

The upper threshold on the booster guide is 19″.  All three headrest positions can be use when the seat is in booster mode.  On a huge positive note, this seat as a booster also appears to be compatible in the third row of the current generation of Dodge Grand Caravans which has been problematic with a number of boosters due to retraction issues.

Washing the Cover

The main seat pad is machine washable, and drip dry – while the headrest cover is spot clean only.  There are 6 elastic loops and 2 pairs of the plastic push style fasteners.  I did require a flat blade screw driver to pop of a set of the push style fasteners as they were very snug.  Make sure to secure the hook and loop sections together to prevent pulls on the seat cover as well.

Between removing all the harness and then removing the various attachments the seat has to the cover I would consider this fairly difficult to launder.

Other Things to Note

  • Strap covers are large and optional.   They can be removed without removing the harness.
  • The cape can double as a blanket, and can also be removed as well without uninstalling the seat.

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  • The headrest can be used in all positions while harnessed as well which is useful for larger harnessed children approaching or on the top harness slots.
  • There are a number of manual inconsistencies.  You may need to contact the manufacture for specifics.  Areas where I noticed inconsistencies or errors include the UAS limits, how the cover is removed for cleaning as well as how to store the UAS when it is not being used.
  • The recline feature which existed on earlier US seats has been removed on this Canadian model.

Overall Thoughts

Firstly, Thank you Kids Embrace for making a car seat that kids want to use.  If your seats keeps one child safer longer you have been successful.  London Car Seat Safety brought this seat to our earlier Touch a Truck event.  Kids who had been riding prematurely in low back boosters were buckling up a harnessed seat and loved it.  Parents wanted to buy it.

Overall the seat offers average use with above-average styling.  For typical sized children it will provide years of use.  My one caution to parents would be to test the seat in their vehicle beforehand due to the narrow and set back belt path on the seat.

Trillium Distribution provided this seat for review, however, no other compensation was received.  All opinions are that of the reviewer.

Baby Parka Car Seat Cover Giveaway

So a few weekends ago we were at the London Baby Expo.  We had a great time and happy to be located fairly close to the Baby Parka booth.  Needless to say, a few of us wondered that way to check out what types of products they were selling to keep little ones warm and safe all winter long.

Baby Parka offers a very high quality “shower-cap” style car seat cover.  Shower-cap style covers do not place anything between the infant and the infant-seat making them ideal for use with infant car seats.

The Baby Parka offers a few features that some of the other manufactures do not.  This includes the double zipple at the front, the buckle me reminder under the flap, a reflective strip along the top of the seat and a snug elastic which holds everything in place.  It’s available in a number of colours the match your travel system, the interior of your vehicle or your outfit of the day.

Better yet?  Baby Parka was nice enough to offer us one to giveaway.  Enter below!  Open to Canada-wide.  We’ll cover the shipping (or deliver if it you are in town).

Baby Parka

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Trying Seats in Your Vehicle in London (and Surrounding Area)

Question

 

Are you in the market for a new restraint?  Both new and old parents alike have been frequently asking us where they might be able to try specific restraints in their vehicles before buying.  While this list isn’t inclusive it may give you an idea of where you may be able to shop and test vehicle seats you may be interested.  As always, we suggest calling before hand to ensure they have a demo available of the model you are interested in.

Sears Westmount – Carries Diono, Graco, Evenflo and Dorel Seats.  Allows seats to be tested in vehicles provided there is sufficient staff coverage.

Babies R Us – Carries Chicco, Diono, Clek, Graco, Evenflo, Britax, Baby Trend, Dorel.  May require presonal identification left at customer service.

Tummies to Tots – Diono, Clek,  Peg Perego.  Will allow potential customers to try seats before they commit to buying.

Children Furniture Gallery – Diono, Britax, Peg Perego , Clek.  Some staff are CPSAC certified technicians.

Marley and Me – Diono and Clek.  Planning on picking up Chicco seats in June 2014.  They have floor models of all seats they carry that can be tried in vehicles.

GreatCanadianRebates.ca

To help us raise funds we signed up with GreatCanadianRebates.ca as a fundraiser member.

GreatCanadianRebates.ca is a service where it showcases top online sales and offers cash back rebates on purchases made at hundreds of online retailers, applications to credit cards and travel purchased through travel web sites.   Available merchants include : Walmart.ca, TheBay.ca, Dell.ca, Expedia.ca, The Shopping Channel, MBNA and hundreds more.

If you are planning on making a purchase online, simply do the following :

1. Click on link to automatically sign into our fundraiser account at GreatCanadianRebates.ca

https://www.greatcanadianrebates.ca/fundraiser/londoncarseatsafety

2. Click a link to a merchant such as expedia.ca or walmart.ca

3. Make a purchase

Notes
• Rebates automatically go to our fundraiser account
• You do not give up any of your own money towards the fundraiser
• All your purchases will be shipped to your residence
• Your purchases are independent of the fundraiser. You deal directly with the merchant.
• If you are already a member of GreatCanadianRebates.ca you can donate current rebates to our fundraiser. See below for more details.

The more rebates we collect the more funds we will have available to cover our out of pocket expenses which include training, manuals and clinic essentials.  We are hopeful that in the future we will be able to provide safe seats for families in need.

Please Remember

Before making any online purchases, fill an application or make a reservation please be aware of the following to make sure your transactions are recorded properly for rebates :

• You must be logged into the fundraiser account
• You must have cookies turned on. Most people already do.
• You must turn off ‘Ad blockers’ if you have an Ad blocker program before clicking on a merchant link
• You must use coupon codes found only at GreatCanadianRebates.ca
• You must click on a link from GreatCanadianRebates.ca to the merchant before adding to a cart, making a purchase, a reservation or application. Please close any open tabs or windows of the merchant before clicking.
• You must make purchases online not over the phone

I am already a member – can I donate the balance of my cash back rebates?
Yes you can!
1. Sign in using own member account login and password.
2. Click on the “Transactions” link at the top.
3. Click on the “Donate Rebates” link.
4. Enter the fundraiser email address or keyword.
5. Check off which rebates to donate.
6. Click on “Donate Now” button.

Now all the selected rebates will be transferred to the fundraiser account.

Make sure to use our fundraiser account during holiday shopping season!

Happy Shopping!