BubbleBum Creator Grainne Kelly Talks Carseat Safety, Travel, and More


Carseat safety is easily one of the most debated parenting subjects.  There are those who are certified as a carseat specialist and are willing to be helpful to new moms but there are also those who think that they are better than moms who do not have the right information.  Once I spoke up about being told by my doctor and calling the police department and being told by them too to forward face my daughter just before her 1st birthday.

I later learned how dangerous this was for my baby and I turned her back around.  However this happened so I spoke up in a heated debate that sometimes people are given the wrong information.  The way that these other moms attacked me made me feel like a horrible and worthless mom.  It was scary enough when I found out the right information on my own.  I did not need some mom harping on me and badgering me for being “too stupid” to sit down and do hours of research about carseats.
In reality I was a full time working mom and just did not have time to spend time scouring the internet comparing carseat safety facts to try and figure out which ones were right.
A few months ago I was able to send some questions to Grainne Kelly, the creator of Bubble Bum, to talk about carseat safety and awareness.  Here are my questions and her wonderful answers.
Me:  As a new mom I was unaware of all of the things that you need to consider when you are purchasing a carseat.  What would you say to a new mom about the process of finding a great carseat?
GK:  Find a child passenger safety technician when you are making the purchase.  They are trained to fit every car seat and will be completely impartial with their advice.  Not every carseat fits every car so that it is priority.  Know your baby’s weight before you go looking for a carseat as you will need this to make the decision.
Me:  How do you determine what carseat your child should be in?
GK:  The child’s height and weight are the two fundamental criteria for all carseats.  Try to get a seat that will keep your baby rear facing as long as possible, i.e. at least until the age of 2 as this is what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.
Me:  I have a daughter who is very petite for her age and she sat in a five point harness through kindergarten.  She would get upset because kids made fum of her so it was to keep her in there.  What would your advice be for someone in the same situation as me and my child?
GK:  Five point harness is safer for your child until they become heavier than the weight restriction of the seat.  I always ask, what is more important, your child’s life or their street cred?  A carseat should not be confused with a non fashionable coat that the child can put on and off when they feel that they don’t like it.  Explaining to the child from an early age very clearly what happens when they do not sit in the carseat should be enough.  BubbleBum is designed for kids who feel that they are too big for booster seats.  BubbleBum is a brand that is cool and comfy and the kids are quite proud to have something a little different from the norm.  Also because BubbleBum doesn’t make baby products, the brand is not seen as a ‘baby seat’ company.
Me:  How do you gently share with someone the best carseat for their child?  Parents can so easily be offended when you try to share anything.
GK:  The number one priority is finding out how to help the child travel in the safest possible way.  Sometimes just sharing your own story can be enough rather than trying to change their opinion.  Parents do not put their children at risk intentionally, it is only through lack of education.  Directly the parent to a child passenger safety tech will be helpful as they are fully qualified on the safest method of travel.
Me:  I have read a lot lately about how unsafe it is for children to be in their coats in carseats.  Can you share some safety tips for shopping for carseat safe coats or when you should remove your child’s coat in the car?
GK:  Put the coat on the child and set the straps on the carseat.  Remove the coat and look at the straps, if you can pinch more than an inch on the straps then the coat is too bulky.  Wind cheaters are best and if you need to remove the coat, simply strap the child into their seat and put the coat on backwards over the straps (provided of course that there is no hood).
Me:  A lot of families are going to be traveling soon.  It can be so tempting to take your baby out of the carseat to feed them or calm them when they are upset.  Do you have any tips for anyone who might be in this situation?
GK:  If your baby needs feeding while traveling, please remember that removing them from the carseat when the car is in motion is a really poor decision.  Pull over to the side of the road or try to schedule driving times around feeding.  Your muscles will not be able to hold a baby in the event of a crash.  Not even the Terminator is strong enough to hold a baby during a crash.
Me:  Speaking of travels, how do you easily entertain kids of different ages in the car safely?
GK:  For small babies and younger kids we try to use soft toy and fabric book options, as well as movies and music.  For older kids we keep a plastic tub of toy soldiers and finger toys so they can have some imaginative play while traveling.  Top Trumps is also a family favorite of ours for kids of all ages.  We tend to keep one special game (a new one) for that part of the journey where the kids are tiring of the normal Ispy, etc and produce it as a distraction.  It is all about distraction from the journey.  Dry snacks and alphabet snacks are also really fun for the kids to play with together.  Try to make the journey part of the vacation too.  All kids want is for someone to tlak to them and for someone to listen most of the time.  Our marathon 2 hour game of “I went to the shop and bought….” is a favorite with children and adults alike.
Me:  Also, when a child is sleeping what position should they be in while they are sitting in their carseats?  Sometimes I get worried because of how my child is laying on their necks and such.  Is there anything that can make this more comfortable for them?
GK:  If a child is going to fall asleep in the car, please ensure that the vehicle straps remain in the correct position.  Even though children look uncomfortable, quite often they are perfectly fine, lets face it otherwise they wouldn’t be asleep!  We will have a solution on the market for this early 2015, called the SNECK. 
If you are wanting to know a little bit more about Grainne Kelly and BubbleBum.  Here are a few facts to help you out.
Grainne Kelly is a Safe Kids USA certified CPST, travel expert, and the inventor of BubbleBum, the first ever inflatable booster seat, which has made traveling easier than ever!  It’s the perfect solution for car rides, fly-ins with car rentals, cab rides, and everyday car pooling.  Weighing in at less than one pound, BubbleBum can deflate in minutes making it simple to throw in a backpack or large purse.  BubbleBum includes belt positioning clips in place of arm rests, so it is possible to fit three boosters across the backseat of a car, minivan, or SUV.  Kids also love the car booster seat’s fun colors!
The BubbleBum booster seat is available for you at http://bubblebum.us and WalMart Stores.