My family recently took a two-week trip to the faraway land of Italy.
The logistics of traveling with a toddler were pretty complex and daunting.
But one of the biggest decisions my wife and I faced was this: Did we want to lug a car seat or booster seat around the whole time on our trip? Could we get by without it?
Wasn’t there a better option out there?
Then one day my wife sent me a link to this, the Mifold grab-and-go booster seat. It claimed to be the ultimate compact solution for safe traveling with a toddler.
So we decided to try it out. And after using it heavily throughout a full two-week trip, here’s my full Mifold booster seat review.
Overall, the Mifold is ridiculously convenient, compact, and easy to use. It took one or two practice tries to get the settings right, but afterward installing and uninstalling it took only seconds. It secured my 4-year-old daughter snugly in the car, but I can’t speak personally to its safety since we (fortunately) didn’t get in any accidents!
In the end, it’s a great option for traveling or if you’re in a pinch (it’s probably the best booster seat for traveling or for Ubers and Lyfts you can find), but I probably wouldn’t make it your everyday booster seat, especially for smaller toddlers. A full-sized booster definitely feels a bit more secure.
Read on for more about my experience using the Mifold, or you can hop over to Amazon right now and grab yours.
What is the Mifold booster seat?
The Mifold attempts to solve a major problem parents face:
Regular booster seats and car seats are great when they’re hooked securely into your car, but if you ever need to travel, take an Uber or Lyft, fly to a new city and rent a car, or use a friend or relative’s car, they can become an absolute nightmare.
Have you ever packed your carseat into a big bag to take it on a plane trip? I have, and it’s not fun!
The Mifold is basically a small, lightweight booster seat that folds in half so you can easily throw it in your luggage, purse, or backpack.
You might be wondering how something so small could possibly work.
The basic idea is:
- Full-sized booster seats BOOST your child up so the seat belt aligns properly on their body
- The Mifold pins the seat belt down across your child’s lap and body to achieve the same alignment
Look, it even says it right on the box!
The seat itself is a very thin, square platform with a little bit of cushioning.
The child sits on this small pad with his or her back flat against the seatback, much like you or I would sit in a car.
On the sides of the device, two hooks slide out and can be adjusted based on how big your toddler or child is. The seat belt comes down and across your child’s lap and slides securely into these hooks.
What this does is eliminate the empty space that would be there if you tried to buckle a toddler into a normal car without a booster.
Then, a belt strap attached to the Mifold comes up the back and snaps onto the shoulder strap portion of the seat belt, holding it into place and preventing the seat belt from cutting into the child’s neck and face.
When set up properly, it looks something like this (excuse my messy car!)
My experience using the Mifold booster
Like I said, we bought this for a few reasons:
- We were going on a long international trip and didn’t want to lug around a car or booster seat
- We knew we’d be taking an Uber or Lyft to and from the airport and wouldn’t have access to a car seat
- We were renting a car in Italy and, though we requested a car seat, car rental companies never guarantee they’ll have one in stock
I was pretty sold on it from the beginning. So for all of these reasons, we decided to give it a shot.
A few days before our trip I decided to get it out of the box and try installing it in the car. Didn’t want to be fumbling with it for the first time while rushing to the airport!
My first impression out of the box? This thing is SMALL.
Check it out:
That’s what it looks like fully folded. It’s a few inches longer than a dollar bill and maybe twice as wide.
(Officially, it’s 7×13 inches and 1 inch thick, and weighs less than 2 pounds, according to the manufacturer.)
Here’s what it looks like unfolded and ready to install:
It installs in the car really easily, and it’s pretty intuitive.
The only trouble I had was with the shoulder strap clip. The instructions weren’t super clear on what that part was supposed to do.
I later realized by watching an instructional video that the red clip basically just attached loosely to the seat belt strap in order to keep it out of the child’s face and neck area, it’s not meant to snap on super tightly.
When I first sat my daughter in the Mifold, I wondered… is this really safe?
Everything felt kind of loose.
But you have to remember that this isn’t an actual car seat. It uses the seat belt the same way adults use the seat belt.
You’re free to wiggle around and move pretty freely, but in an accident, the belt will seize up and lock you into place.
All the Mifold really does is pin the seat belt down around your toddler’s hips (instead of having it ride up to their stomach, which is unsafe), and keep the shoulder strap on their shoulder and not digging into their neck.
That’s really it!
Once I wrapped my head around how it works, I felt pretty comfortable.
One or two practice tries and I was ready to take this thing on the road.
Overall, I found it really easy to use. I could slide it in the very top of my travel backpack even when the backpack was stuffed, and grab it at a moment’s notice.
It never took more than 30 seconds or so to get the booster seat set up and get my daughter strapped in, so it was perfect for Ubering around and traveling.
(If that all sounds good, check out Amazon for the current price on the Mifold. I was really pleasantly surprised how good of a deal we got.)
So let’s get down to it.
There was a lot I really liked about the Mifold, including:
Check Amazon for the current price, but I was really pleasantly surprised at how good of a deal it was to grab one of these for emergencies and trips.
If you only plan on using it for one trip, it may not be a great bargain, but if you can see yourself getting some milage out of it, it’s an amazing investment.
Very small and compact, as advertised!
You know how some things claim to be travel sized, and then when you see them, you’re like… “You’re joking, right?”
Not the Mifold. It really is tiny, lightweight, and amazingly easy to pack away. Even if your suitcase or bag is already stuffed, you can probably make room for this little guy.
You can even bring it just as a back-up.
We ended up getting a car seat from the rental company (though we used this in more than a few Ubers), but you never really know if that’s going to pan out. If you’re renting a car away from home with your toddler, I’d bring one of these just in case.
Easy to use and set up
It would defeat the entire purpose of this device if it was complicated to install.
Luckily, once you figure out how it works and maybe practice once or twice, you’ll be able to install this easily in about 30 seconds.
It’s really easy to get your child out of the seat, too, and it uninstalls just as quickly.
Once the car stops, you can have this thing folded and back in your bag in about a minute flat.
Not everything about this device is perfect, however, like:
May set off your “parent alarms”
The Mifold is pretty safe — meaning it meets the standard requirements — and if you dig around online you’ll actually read about people who got into car crashes with this device and were impressed by how well it protected their child.
But I will say that it requires a bit of a mental hurdle, especially if you have a smaller toddler (like I do… my daughter is only 4 and barely meets the 40 pounds weight requirement for this seat).
It’ll kind of feel like they’re loose in the seat and that the Mifold isn’t really doing much.
Just remember, that’s how it’s designed to operate!
However, for that reason, this really shouldn’t be your “all the time, every day” booster seat.
(Related: Check out my guide to quick fixes when the car seat straps won’t tighten on your regular car seat.)
Fit can be inconsistent
Some parents have complained that it’s difficult to get the fit right every time, especially when using different cars.
I’ve also seen complaints that children easily “slide” down in the seat, leaving the seat belt up against their bellies (which is exactly what this seat is trying to prevent).
Personally, I didn’t experience any of those problems.
But again, that’s why I mostly recommend the Mifold as a back-up, travel, or Uber car seat and not necessarily your go-to piece of safety equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the Mifold booster seat really safe?
It received good ratings from the National Highway Safety Administration – read their evaluation here.
You can also read a ton more about the regulatory testing and standards applied to the Mifold on their website.
Is the Mifold seat comfortable to sit on?
Your mileage may vary on this one!
My 4-year-old daughter loved it and had no complaints.
However, other parents say their kids experienced discomfort with the hard plastic edges digging into their legs. You might have trouble with this when your kids are wearing shorts or skirts, but again, this isn’t a problem I had when using the seat.
Can you use the Mifold on an airplane?
You can certainly TAKE it on an airplane, very easily, by stuffing it in your bag.
But no, it won’t work as an airplane booster seat. The seat belt design is different and this is meant to be used in cars.
What are the weight requirements of the Mifold booster?
It’s designed for kids 40 to 100 pounds.
They should also be at least 4 years old.
You can read the full specs and requirements on Mifold’s website or Amazon page.
My overall impression of the Mifold?
It was exactly what we needed for a long, international trip where we were uncertain about car seat availability and didn’t want to bring a full booster seat.
I’d add that it’s also an excellent thing to keep in the closet for Uber rides or to give to a grandparent who doesn’t want to permanently install a booster seat.
The ease of use was excellent and the compactness of the seat was really impressive.
I’d be a little uneasy about using this every single day, especially for a smaller toddler, but for trips and traveling, I can’t think of a better option.
Hope this helps, parents!