Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The Mifold- a unique booster seat

The Mifold booster seat is an innovative newcomer to the scene. Measuring just 9.5 inches when closed and 15 inches at is fully extended belt guides, the Mifold is tiny! The Mifold doesn't "boost" kids to fit the adult sized seat belt like a normal booster. Instead, it holds the belt down across the strongest bones, the hips and the collar bone, using reinforced belt guides and a required shoulder belt adjuster. The Mifold is marketed as "the grab and go booster seat" and the perfect solution to travel needs and three across situations.

The Mifold says that it is appropriate for children ages 4+, however, 4 year olds are not ready for the responsibility of riding in a booster seat and would be better harnessed. Children are ready for a booster when they are mature enough to sit still 100% of the time. A seat belt can only protect kids if it is in the correct position in a crash. 

Mifold Stats:
  • Ages: 4 and up (maturity is the most important factor for boostering!)
  • Weight: 40-100 lbs
  • Height: 40-57 inches
  • Expiration: 7 years from manufacture 
  • Replace after any crash
I preordered my Mifold using a CPST discount and received it at the end of May. Mifold is now available on Amazon! Click here to order yours! You can also see an interactive presentation on how to use Mifold and order directly from Mifold here,

So, does the Mifold live up to it's claims?

Folded for travel
Fully expanded size

"Installed" on a seat
Well for starters, the Mifold is tiny! It would easily pack in any backpack for carpool situations or a carry on bag for travel. It's easy to fold up and my daughter loves the color. The size of the Mifold could also potentially help older kids who don't 5-Step to be OK with using a booster seat because it's small and inconspicuous. 

When using the Mifold, you are to set the belt guides as close to the thighs as possible without touching the thighs. Then, the child sits on the seat, you thread the lap belt through both belt guides and attach the shoulder belt adjuster to the shoulder belt behind the child. The shoulder belt guide is always required for the Mifold. The belt guides have a little tab at the front to keep the belt in the guides and the shoulder belt clamps on.

How about belt fit? A properly fitted booster seat should position the belt as low on the hips as possible, contacting the tops of the thighs. The shoulder belt should cross the collarbone at the midpoint. I tested my 7 year old in 5 different vehicles in multiple seating positions and got great lap and shoulder belt fits in all of them. In two of the vehicles center positions, I had issues with the ceiling mounted seat belts not being able to fit in the belt guides correctly but I was really pleased with the results overall. Makayla is 7, 48 inches tall, 52 lbs and wears a size 7 clothing. 

2016 Honda CR-V
Outboard fit, no issues
Center fit in a three across set up
The belt fit in the center of the CR-V was good, however it was pretty tough to get everything threaded correctly with the other two seats there. She did fit in a three across in this car, but it was snug!

2009 Volkswagen Jetta

Outboard fit, fantastic!
Center fit
The center position in the Jetta is tiny. I'm using a Graco 4Ever rear facing and a Britax Parkway in this setup. The 4 Ever is not a narrow seat and it's possible with a slimmer seat she might be able to fit here but as pictured, she does not. She doesn't have enough shoulder room to sit comfortably. Also, in the center, the belt tended to bunch in the guides because it was just such a narrow position. 

2012 Honda Pilot

3rd Row fit
2nd Row fit
In the third row of the Pilot, I first ran into the issue with the ceiling mounted seat belt hardware. To use, the belt connects to a stubby female piece opposite the main buckle. The webbing was sewn on to the buckle at this point and it made it too thick and long to fit into the belt guide properly. This made it impossible to get the lap belt tight enough. So, while it appears to be a good fit, the 3rd row center is not a compatible seating position for the Mifold. Although the second row also has a ceiling mounted belt, it doesn't have the same issue. the belt geometry was just different enough to fit appropriately without slack. 

Mazda 6

The Mazda 6 had the same issue as the Pilot third row in the center position. The extra bulk at the side opposite the main buckle did not allow the lap belt to get tight enough. Once again, the outboard position was perfect.

2008 Ford Focus

Both positions of the Focus had a great belt fit! One big drawback for this car is that it lacks head restraints. The great thing about the Mifold is that it's not boosting the child up so their ears remain below the seat back (and their necks adequately protected from whiplash!) for far longer than they would in a standard booster. 

Overall Impressions

I am very pleased with the Mifold. I tested 12 seating positions. Two seating positions were incompatible with the Mifold. One seating position was too small with the other car seats in the vehicle. In my opinion, the Mifold is a great option for families with older children who are already accustomed to riding in boosters who would like a compact, travel friendly option. It's a great choice for a kid who carpools often. It's also great for older kids who don't want the look of a "baby seat" but are not tall enough to ride safely without a booster

Potential Drawbacks:
  • It's not going to work for every kid in every position
  • The belt guides are only 15 inches across at the widest and they can't be touching the child. If you have a child who is wider, it's not going to be a good choice for you.
  • Threading the belt through the belt guides is not as simple as buckling a standard booster. With training, I feel that my daughter got the hang of it pretty quickly, but you should still check your child after they buckle to ensure everything is correct.
If you are interested in ordering a Mifold for your child but you would like to see if it will work in your car with your child before ordering and you are in the Northeast Ohio area, please contact me at carseatsbykate@gmail.com to set up a seat check and we can give my Mifold a try in your vehicle!