One of the challenges of being out of town for so long (two weeks!) was figuring out the logistics of how to do the simple day to day stuff with Cullen without our massive arsenal of stuff that we have at home. You know what I mean – high chairs, cribs, toddler dishes, baskets of toys – the works. Most of that stuff is pretty easy to live without for short periods of time, but there are some things that are made much easier by travel replacements.
I’ve traveled with Cullen before when I’ve had to hold him on my lap to feed him, and it is never fun. He’s not comfortable squirming around on me, and we both inevitably end up covered in food. But since we live in Seattle, which isn’t drive-able to much, most of our travel is done by air. Most of the travel high chairs and booster seats I’ve found are portable in the sense that they are small and can be tossed in the trunk of a car. But it’s not easy to find something that can comfortably fit in a suitcase.
For this trip, I tried out the On-The-Go Booster Seat from One Step Ahead. Here’s a bit more info from their website:
Our Parents’ Panel’s #1 booster! This inflatable booster seat gets very high marks from even our pickiest parents. They ranked it tops for travel: it compresses for easy packing, and at less than two lbs., is lightest to carry. Super comfy, too — inflates a cushy 2-4″ at your touch-keeping kids content. Our parents also prefer its wider restraint (little wiggleworms can’t stand up!). With storage pocket, shoulder strap, and wipe-clean vinyl cover.
And after a week of using it for three meals a day, here’s my take on it:
- Folds up small and is very lightweight – critical for air travel.
- Easy to inflate to right height for each individual child.
- Straps to chair easily and quickly – will work with a variety of different chairs.
- Easy to wipe clean, and comfortable material against baby/toddler skin.
- No shoulder straps so kids can lean to side and potentially tip if not watched closely.
- Seat strap seemed to loosen as Cullen squirmed around – didn’t stay super tight.
- Requires constant supervision, or else Cullen could push off table with his feet and potentially knock chair backward.
My overall take? I think the cons I listed above are probably true of most booster seats. They aren’t meant to be quite as secure as a stand alone high chair, so they are intended for children who are ready for the responsibility of being in a more mature seat. I think Cullen is probably a few more months (or years!) away from using a booster seat regularly at home, but I still think it’s a great solution for travel. Our only real issue was that once Cullen was in the seat, someone needed to sit next to him while he was eating pretty much all the time. He figured out how to push his feet off the table legs and tip the chair backward, which of course he thought was really fun, and mom thought was really terrifying.
But we’ll definitely be packing and using this seat again. It was so lightweight and easy to put in my suitcase, and it made meal time much easier for everyone. Thanks, One Step Ahead, for letting me try another useful product!