The new grab-and-go booster seat from mifold is a revolutionary idea. If you’ve ever travelled anywhere with children, you’ll know how much ‘stuff’ you have to take with you (even if it’s’ just for the day) and a car seat is sometimes the last thing you want to be worrying about.
Well mifold have come up with a fantastically compact – I mean it’s smaller than an iPad when folded! – and brilliantly well-made booster seat. The mifold fits into the Group 2/3 car seat bracket, which means you can use it with children from 4-years-old or 15kg.
The UK laws state that children must remain in a booster seat until they are 12-years-old or 135cm – whichever comes first. At that age, children can be rather self-conscious about travelling in a booster seat but the mifold is so compact that it is almost unnoticeable.
So, how does it work?
Instead of raising the child to meet the seat belt, it actually lowers the adult size seat belt to the right height for the child. With the seatbelt positioned in the optimum position, and moved away from the vulnerable areas of the body (like the stomach and neck), it reduces the probability of injuries in the event of a crash.
Perfect for travelling
This booster seat is the perfect solution for travelling, if you are heading somewhere in a taxi or even if you share the school run with other children. It is certainly a solution to the irritating car seat shuffle!
I would however say that I wouldn’t personally choose to use this as my regular booster seat as it’s quite hard and not hugely padded (obviously to keep the size down). Because of this, on longer journeys, it’s not as comfortable for the children to use.
I think the concept is amazing and I’m so pleased that a suitable solution has been provided for travelling with children, or even for those lift sharing days. I would certainly recommend this booster seat to anyone who travels a lot with their child or for families who regularly swap car seats around.
Mifold is now available in the UK from John Lewis and other selected retailers for £49.95
What inspired you to design mifold?
The inspiration came from my own needs of being a parent. Back in 2000, I was living in America, and my kids, who were little at the time, were involved in car pooling with various neighbours.
There were numerous occasions when my kids would be in someone’s car without the correct booster seat, or even without one at all as it was diﬃcult to transfer the bulky booster seat each journey.
I wanted a way of having a car seat that was so small that my children could keep it with them in their school bag and eliminate these situations.
However, at that time, I was working a full time job and life just got busy so the idea was put on hold. But in 2012, a friend of mine sent me an article, that showed research done by the University of Michigan, had found that over half of the kids in America didn’t use a car seat when car pooling. It reminded me of my idea and I knew it should be something that I looked at again.
From idea to global distribution: can you highlight the hurdles & main milestones along the way?
It is impossible to bring a new, disruptive technology to a mature market without facing challenges and we have dealt with many. Developing a load restraining mechanism, robust enough to withstand the forces in a crash test, while keeping the product tiny was our main challenge.
We overcame this with high-tech mechanical engineering, unique, super tough plastic polymers and strong light materials like 6061T aircraft grade aluminium.
Another issue for mifold was persuading the various regulatory authorities that such a unique product could be classiﬁed as a booster seat. No one had envisaged the mifold design when the regulations were drafted. However, we demonstrated that mifold not only met the standards, but exceeded it in many ways and performed very well compared to the existing products on the market.
Having said that, there have also been so many great successful milestones for us in this short period of time.
We successfully completed three rounds of fundraising worth several million pounds from investors around the world. It is a wonderful feeling to have people support your idea like that. Then we ran a crowdfunding campaign to pre-sell the seats. We set a target of £30,000 for the two month campaign.
A highlight was when we achieved the £30,000 in less than two hours and went on to pre-sell more than £2m from 130 countries worldwide.
A personal favourite was ﬂying to the USA to hand deliver the ﬁrst mifold and seeing them being used by children for the ﬁrst time.
Finally we received the ‘Create the Future’ design award from NASA which was a true validation and endorsement of the product for the business and the entire mifold team.
What would you say has been your greatest achievement so far with mifold?
As I mentioned above, there have been many highlights. However, the greatest achievement was a simple post on our Facebook page. A mother Kylynne H. posted that she had been in a collision and two of her children, aged 8 and 6 years old were restrained with mifold Grab-and-Go booster seats. She wrote “I know without a shadow of a doubt that my kids were saved because they were properly placed in booster seats. I have been wondering how the mifolds would withhold a wreck, and I am now 100% conﬁdent in saying they work!! My babies are safe!”
What more is there to say?
How does the mifold ﬁt into the mix of car seats sold in the UK?
The mifold Grab-and-Go booster seat has not been created to replace the existing booster seats but instead oﬀers a totally diﬀerent idea. It has been designed to make sure that people can use a mifold in those times when a regular booster seat is not available.
There are many journeys where children do not have a booster (in fact we estimate in as many as 25%) such as car pooling and the school run, with grandparents or other relatives, in taxis, on holiday, in rental cars, sitting three-in-a-row and so on. And this does not include bigger kids on the border of the regulatory limits, who do not want to appear babyish in front of their friends, who have already outgrown child restraints.
We want to eliminate these risks completely and with mifold we have created a solution. With a compact and portable device, there are no excuses, a child can always be safe no matter whose car they are in. The mifold makes life easier yet keeps the child just as safe as any of the other booster seats do.
Please explain the uses of mifold and how it’s an addition to the family of car seats that parents already own
As said above, there are many situations where a booster seat is either not available or it is simply too hard to transfer from one car to another on a daily basis. We noticed this was a safety gap that needed to be filled and quickly.
Due to the fact that the mifold is so compact and portable, it means a child never has a reason to not be in a car seat.
Those journeys, such as the ones mentioned above, are all examples of situations when children are often found to not have a booster seat. We have made it so that should never be the case again.