An innovative booster seat developed in Israel provides proof that good things come in small packages.
The mifold “grab-and-go” seat promises to simplify carpooling for parents without compromising safety. mifold is flat, portable, foldable, dishwasher-friendly (!), and much smaller than traditional booster seats, so that children can carry it around in their backpacks. Soon, you won’t need to schlep a full-size booster seat on your vacation!
The crowds are already cheering for mifold: The miraculous booster seat has raised $162,000 on crowd-funding platform Indiegogo in only two days, which is more than four times its goal of $40,000. And, there are four more weeks to go for those who still want to jump on the bandwagon – early-bird supporters will receive the product for $31 by March 2016.
“The amount of interest has massively exceeded our expectations,” mifold founder and CEO Jon Sumroy tells NoCamels.
A lighter, smaller booster seat that’s perfect for carpooling
Unlike traditional booster seats that lift a child up to an adult’s position, mifold holds the seat belt down to fit the child snugly, taking it off the child’s stomach and neck for maximum comfort and protection. An additional perk is that it is fully adjustable to fit children as they grow. mifold weighs 1.6 pounds and measures 10 inches by 5 inches; it’s quite flat (2 inches high). In comparison, a conventional booster seat measures 17 inches by 16 inches and is much thicker – 7 inches high; it weighs 6 pounds, which means it’s nearly four times heavier than mifold.
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Sumroy began imagining the concept for mifold back in 2000, when he was raising his three young children in the US. “There were so many occasions where we just didn’t have booster seats available,” Sumroy tells NoCamels. “So I started to think about how I could make something that my kids could keep with them all the time. It was a conscious effort to create a solution that did not exist.”
He decided to turn his idea into reality in 2012 when he read a study saying that almost 50 percent of children didn’t have the right booster seat when they were carpooling. Sumroy’s first step was to build a homemade prototype in his garage using canvas and carabiners (a lock used in rope activities such as climbing). He then took it to the Transport Research Laboratory in the UK to run it through a series of crash tests.
“I suspect the people at the center were laughing at me at first, but after they ran a crash test, they were surprised by how well the product worked,” he says. The project took off after those first tests, and Sumroy has since formed a team and perfected the design.
mifold is currently in the process of obtaining the necessary federal safety certifications for booster seats for children ages four through 12 in the US and the EU, its primary target markets.
mifold’s competitor Bubble Bum – an inflatable, portable, and foldable booster seat – is already available in the US and Europe. But like a traditional booster seat, Bubble Bum lifts the child up to the position of an adult. “We adapt an adult seatbelt to fit a child. It’s a completely different paradigm,” Sumroy says.
He stresses that safety is mifold’s priority. “Reducing the risk of injury and increasing the chances of children traveling safely is our No.1 goal,” Sumroy says. But, there is another benefit. “It gives parents flexibility and spontaneity. If you have a young kid, you’ve got to make sure the kid has the right seat at the right time but it’s not always possible. With mifold, everything is more convenient, and you won’t have to worry when your kid is carpooling with another family, with the grandparents or when traveling by taxi.”Photos and video courtesy of mifold