Mifold Grab-and-Go Booster

Unless you’ve been living under a rock it has been hard to avoid the hype and launch of the much-anticipated Mifold Grab-and-Go booster. Introduced in the US and Europe some time ago the Mifold is now here in Canada and we have the low-down for you!

Advertised as ten times smaller than a traditional booster seat, the Mifold is deemed the “most advanced, compact, and portable booster seat ever invented.” Check out a video of it in action here. Is it true? In a lot of ways it is those things, but it’s not nearly as easy to use as we had hoped (it can be quite difficult). It does, however, have a place in the booster seat world if parents, caregivers, and kids are prepared to learn to use it properly.

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For children who are:

  • 40-100lbs (18-45kg)
  • 40-57″ (102-145cm)
  • at least 4 years old**

**Most kids don’t have the impulse control or maturity to properly and safely use a booster seat until 5.5-6 years old. Some might be ready sooner, and others not until later. It’s important not to rush this step.

  • Weight: 1.5lbs
  • Dimensions in storage mode: 9.5″ long x 4.75″ wide x 1.75″ tall
  • Tallest torso size that should fit: ~19.5″ bum to shoulder
  • Dimensions of seating area: 8.25″ wide x 8.5″ deep
  • Internal hip width dimensions: (1) 9.75″, (2) 11.75″, (3) 13.5″
  • Available in six fun colours, although the colour isn’t visible when the seat is occupied
  • Expires seven years from date of manufacture
  • Requires replacement after a crash if seat was occupied, can be re-used if unoccupied and undamaged
  • Available at Canadian Tire, direct from mifold.ca, or boutique retailers for $79.99
  • Find model number, serial number, date of manufacture, and cleaning instructions on labels and adjuster guide. Mifold is small don’t forget!

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Highlights:

The major appeal of the Mifold is the small size. It IS compact. It would fit easily in a glove box, carry on bag, or anywhere else you care to stash small things — it’s about the size of an evening clutch purse.

Lowlights:

It’s not nearly as easy to use as it’s made out to be, and fit-to-child is not predictable. Update: families have reported that kids can not stay in position and tend to slide forward, making the belt fit poorly.

How does Mifold work?

Booster seats as we have come to know them literally boost a child up so that the adult seat belt fits their smaller bodies properly. Most kids will need a booster seat of some kind until age 11ish, as that’s when most will be tall enough to fill out a belt and a vehicle seat properly. Most provinces and territories don’t specifically require booster seats to be used for that long, but they DO require the seat belt to fit properly — and that’s just not going to happen until kids are closer in size to adults!

Although it is called a “grab-and-go booster” Mifold is not a booster in the traditional sense. Instead of raising the child up to meet the belt, Mifold pulls the belt down to meet the child. It’s really quite innovative and unique, and we commend the inventor for seeking solutions to the many barriers that prevent kids from being safely seated on every ride. For some very specific situations Mifold will in fact accomplish what it is designed to do – be compact, portable, and provide good belt fit.

We’ll try to clarify how to know if and when it’s a good choice for your family because it’s the ease of use, unpredictable belt fit, and ability of kids to stay in position that are its biggest challenge.

IMG_7096When we talk about “good belt fit” what we’re looking for is a nice low, flat lap belt that isn’t on the belly, and a shoulder belt that is centred on the collarbone and not irritating the neck (kids won’t tolerate that), or slipping off the shoulder (because then the belt can’t hold the child back in a crash).

To help us talk about belt fit we have the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, an independent, nonprofit scientific and educational organization dedicated to reducing the losses — deaths, injuries and property damage — from crashes on the [US] nation’s roads. They’re the go-to folks for booster seat belt fit. The image with yellow shirt is borrowed from them and shows good lap belt fit (the dashed white line shows where a traditional booster seat arm rest would be). The remaining three are our test models, and the fit is quite comparable. The reason we so carefully considered the IIHS’s test protocol and results was that the fit of the Mifold is SO unlike what we’re used to, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It’s just different, and we need to retrain our brains for what to look for. The images shown though are about as low on the legs as we’d like to see, and if the fit of the Mifold in your car with your child positions the belt overly low down the legs then that’s not a fit we’re comfortable with.

The figure in the yellow shirt above is a special crash test dummy that represents an average 6 year old, and the tests the IIHS does are only about belt fit – there is no actual crashing going on. It’s also important to note that the IIHS has not at this time published an assessment of the Mifold because it doesn’t meet their definition of a booster seat (see above re boosting a child up vs pulling the belt down). Perhaps one day, but not yet – and that’s why we did our own unofficial side by side photo comparison to see for ourselves how the Mifold fit on real kids.

Ease of Use

Mifold needs to be set up to fit the size of the child. This is done by adjusting both the lap belt guides on the seating area, and the shoulder belt guide on the strap of webbing that MUST be used at all times.

Adjust the lap belt guides to the width just larger than your child, but not touching their legs. Internally the three settings are 9.75″, 11.75″, and 13.5″. At the narrowest setting the external width is 11″, and may be useful in narrower seating positions. A little release tab must be pressed to move the lap belt guide both wider and narrower.

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The shoulder belt guide is adjustable with an easy to use red clip mechanism, and will accommodate torso heights up to about 19.5″. The red buckle on the guide should sit about 1″ above the shoulder, and although it can be used to affect the positioning of the shoulder belt on the child’s collarbone, it will be easier for everyone to use and more comfortable for the child if the seat belt naturally falls on the collarbone and the red clip is just along for the ride (but still MUST be used).

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Position the seat of the Mifold against the vehicle seat back. For vehicles with a contoured shape at the place where the vehicle seat bottom meets the seat back position the Mifold so it’s on the contour and touching the vehicle seat back. Our testers found it easiest to do a “hover and drop” manoeuvre when placing their bums onto the seat pad, rather than the “scoot and slide” they’re used to with conventional boosters. Do what works for you!

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Route the lap belt through both red lap belt guides, but do not ever put the shoulder belt through the lap guides. Clip the shoulder belt guide onto the belt at the shoulder, and snug everything up. Ensure that the Mifold itself is touching the vehicle seat back, and make sure the child’s bum is scooted all the way back and is making contact with the vehicle seat back – no slouching, and that’s the tough part to maintain!

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And here is where the Mifold differs most from traditional boosters in terms of fit and comfort. In a traditional booster seat the seat pan is shorter, built for a child’s shorter leg length and allowing the knees to bend comfortably at the edge of the booster seat. With Mifold being flat to the vehicle seat, or nearly so at only 3/4″ thick, there’s no leg support or natural bend for the knees. In the image with the red and green lines: the green line represents a child or adult with long enough legs to bend naturally at the edge of the vehicle seat. The red line shows how this child’s legs are sitting when the Mifold is in use. This was not comfortable for her and she had difficulty maintaining this position without slouching. Slouching means she’ll slide her bum forward, and it will no longer be in contact with the vehicle seat back. This will in turn affect the seat belt fit, and result in misuse of the Mifold.

Differently sized children on smaller or larger vehicle seats will experience different results. Really big kids on a small vehicle seat will probably not slouch; small kids on big vehicle seats will be able to stick their legs straight out. Unless a child falls into one of those ends of the fit spectrum though, we worry greatly that the seating position won’t be able to be maintained for more than a few minutes. Our testers found it took a lot of effort to sit properly, and stay there.

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Overall we found seat belt fit to be fair-to-good in a range of vehicles and test models from the low end straight through to the high end of the size range, although as previously mentioned, quite a lot lower on the thighs than we’re used to seeing. Aim for the top edge of the lap belt to be near the pelvis.

Our testers were not able to buckle themselves, or unbuckle themselves. Perhaps with practice this would be doable, but it’s not intuitive.

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One CPST mom took the Mifold with her when she traveled overseas recently, and used it with her 6.5 year old 44lb 47″ tall daughter. She reported that she found it a little tricky to route the first time she used it in a taxi at 4am. She loved that it was so compact and easy to bring with her and allowed her daughter to ride safely even on vacation. She considers it ideal for use in situations that are short term and have practiced adult helpers around to help buckle and assess fit. Other ideal situations include those who don’t own cars, or for those who want to stash a compact emergency spare in the glove box of their car for unexpected carpoolers.

Our assessment is similar. The Mifold does have a place in the booster world, but it’s challenging to use correctly and we would highly recommend familiarizing yourself with its use, and what good belt fit looks like, before setting off on an adventure with it. Kid users also need to be mature enough to hold their seating position, which for some of our testers was quite difficult. If your child is fidgety, wiggly, or easily annoyed by being uncomfortable we strongly advise testing the Mifold in a controlled environment before sending it in a backpack for use without you. In most cases you or another practiced adult will need to help with buckling and unbuckling.

Thank you to Mifold for providing us with the seat shown in this review, and another one to one of you readers! All opinions, however, are our own.

Would you like to try Mifold? Enter here for a chance to win one in the colour of your choice! To be eligible to win you MUST comment here and answer this question: How will Mifold come in handy for you?

And then tell the Rafflecopter widget below “I commented!” even though your comment won’t appear immediately. Trust us to take care of the rest, and good luck!


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Jen Shapka is a runner, sewer, knitter, baker, recent convert to the Instant Pot craze, and on the hunt for her next piece of furniture to refinish and repurpose. Currently living in Barrie, ON, she’s due for a move this summer with her military family and is finding the limbo of waiting to find out where rather difficult.

 

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77 comments to Mifold Grab-and-Go Booster

  • Sandra Kalyta

    We often have unexpected young travelers so this would be ideal to keep in the car vs a larger no back booster. In our subcompact car space is at a premium.

  • Heather F

    I need something thin for my oldest in my husband’s car. A regular backless booster is now putting her too high, so the shoulder belt is sitting rather close to the edge of her shoulder. She does not yet fit without a booster. I’m thinking the Mifold may work well. She only rides in that vehicle once a week at the most, so it’s not an everyday thing.

  • Id love to win. We travel internationally pretty regularly and this would be great for those trips

  • This would be great for once my boys are in boosters and for when my nephew is with us

  • Holly Henry

    The Mifold will come in handy for me to demonstrate its use to curious parents during carseat checks!

  • Margo

    Thanks for the review

  • Kaila Shepherd

    Would be super handy to keep in the car when we have to transport other kids without much notice.

  • Melissa Terry

    This would be great for my small 10 year old to use when she travels with others.

  • Sarah thurston

    Would be amazing to keep in the car for added kiddos or for when my kids go in other cars.

  • Michelle

    This would be awesome for travelling we fly a few times a year this would be a game changer!

  • nicky

    This will be handy when kiddo uses the grandparents’ car or a friend’s car that doesn’t have a pre-installed booster seat!

  • Amanda Fuller

    I would love to try this in our tight 3 across set up!

  • Carolynn

    Love the idea for small places!

  • Shannon Rogers

    The mifold would come in super handy for travelling. Currently their boosters take up over half of their carry on 🙂

  • Jennifer P.

    This would be SO handy for me!! I have 2 children, one in a booster, and one who will be in the next couple of years. We are always lugging our older daughter’s booster around for visits with the grandparents, school activities, play dates, traveling, etc. Sometimes I have to drop her booster off somewhere if another parent is going to be driving her and the booster is not possible for her to easily bring with her e.g. if she is going home with another friend after school but cannot bring her booster to school because it doesn’t fit in her bag. I would LOVE this little booster to make our lives so much easier!!

  • Melissa F

    I have a friend of mine who is having a baby due in 2 weeks and I would love to surprise her with this as budgets are very tight

  • Bri Parnell

    Had to post again because my email address wasn’t right! My above comment was “the MiFold would be great for unexpected short trips or for when we transport other children without much notice”

  • Sarah Steven

    So great for emergencies. Easy to keep on hand.

  • Marla Walter

    It would be perfect for our second vehicle as my hubby uses it for work so having a large booster seat in the car is a pain.

  • Jennifer

    Teaching/demonstration. And as a spare/emergency seat for kids I transport at work.

  • Geneva

    This would be great for unexpected visits with nieces or nephews.

  • Sunshine H

    We don’t have a vehicle, and sometimes when we are out, we see ppl who offer us a ride home. It would be amazing to have this in my backpack (which is always with me, like a purse) so I could say yes. Sometimes it’s hard to say no, when it’s pouring rain and you have to wait for 2 buses to get home which will take an hour, when a ride would be about 10 minutes.

  • Janice

    It will be a good option for travel and as a spare to keep in the vehicle provided the MiFold works with that vehicle. I likely wouldn’t send it with my child in an unknown vehicle without someone with knowledge of how to use it.

  • Lindsay T

    Mifold would come in handy for when my girls go to their grandparents houses! So convenient!

  • Angela Khan

    I am looking forward to trying them out, especially for travel in a car.

  • Craig

    This would be great for my wife to use when running errands with the kids! Love how easy it is to use.

  • Toby

    What a great invention to keep them snug as a bug…but most importantly safe.

  • Katlyn tomlinson

    This would be handy to have for daycare! My son is small and will need a booster longer then most of his friends, his is discreet enough he won’t mind using it

  • Maryanne

    It would be handy to drive my niece or nephew around.

  • Sarah B

    With two children who are booster age now, we always need spares for friends and play dates!

  • We have limited space in between two car seats so this could allow a third child back there!

  • Tennille

    The MiFold would be great to travel with when not planning to use a vehicle, but to have backup in case of an unexpected taxi ride.

  • Rachel

    Taking the kids to visit their aunt and uncle in Santa Fe for the first time! It will be their first time in a plane too!

  • Monique L.S.

    My daughter sometimes goes out with her cousin or aunt, and each time we need to install one of our car seats into their car. It is time consuming and not so convenient. The Mifold would be so handy during times like these.

  • Thanks for the info! This would be awesome for our trip over seas!!

  • Wendy Ann

    When we eventually travel the El Camino (in 4-7 yrs) I’ll likely include a mifold (or similar if there are options by then) in my pack so that an abort to taxi is possible if needed.

  • nicki festejo

    the mifold would be great for travel. you only have such limited space for luggage.

  • Leanne

    This would be great to use on holiday’s where you wouldn’t have a booster seat with you.

  • brenda rice

    this would help out so much as I have 4 in boosters right now and 1 getting into one by summer

  • Carolyn Filiatrault

    Great for the odd times I have my nephew with me.

  • Rebecca Niece

    On vacation

  • Miranda Boden

    This would be great for grandparents cars!!

  • Vivian

    Imagine you’re on your own on a weekend with three kids. Out of the blue, a friend offers to take one or two of the kids out for an outing and all that is missing is a portable booster seat to make it possible. It’s happened to us many times having to tell my kids, “no coz they don’t have a carseat for you”. Mi-fold would definutely be great to have!

  • janie vezina

    i can leave this in grandmas car for visits

  • Jessica

    I would love to give this a try! Many parents will be asking about this one.

  • Jennifer H

    Traveling carseat that is easy to use at our destination.

  • Leanne Tricker

    I’d love to have one of these for when traveling with my daughter, now that she’s big enough we won’t be taking her car seat with us on the plane anymore. (Would use it for taxi travel on our next vacation.)
    It would also be very handy to have on hand if I needed to transport one of my older childcare clients somewhere.

  • Amanda

    Would love this for traveling! And to have a extra seat for visiting family and friends

  • Beth R.

    I just took a trip with one of my kids and barely managed to stuff our LBB into my suitcase because I would have had to pay to stow it as carry on in the plane. Something small and compact like the mifold would be amazing for travelling.

  • Jessi

    Great for when we walk on the ferry and are picked up by family on the other side.

  • Jody

    This would be a great option for us in case of emergencies/ rare drive in grandma’s car.

  • Tina Wadsworth

    Will be great for travel later this year and to keep in car for picking up friends kidd

  • Jen

    This looks like it would be great for travel!

  • Lindsay

    I’m going travelling and this would so easy to pack.

  • Andrea

    My kids aren’t quite big enough yet but I really like that I could have a spare booster for car pooling or something compact for traveling. Thanks for reviewing it!

  • Jen

    This would be so great for travelling!

  • Dee Lee

    I love how compact and portable it is.

  • Debbi

    It would be a nice compact option for traveling!

  • amy

    When we have to unexpectedly pickup an extra kiddo mifold would be so handy!

  • Jaclyn

    I think it would be great for travel, and, with training (for other parents), for my daughter should I be unable to pick her up from school.

  • Melanie Thomson

    I would love to have this for travelling – it would be so much more convenient than carting booster seats through the airport

  • Jeannie Lam

    It would come in handy when the grandparents have to pick up my son when I can’t. It’s so portable!

  • Amanda logan

    It would be great for last min play dates or travel

  • Anne

    We don’t own a car and it would be ideal for car-sharing and using in others’ cars.

  • Melissa Chang

    This would be perfect for when we get that occasional extra passenger for my daughter’s preschool outings.

  • Goretti Ng

    Great for travel and grandparent’s car

  • Kat Chan

    We have 2 cars and this is so much more convenient to use. Also would seem great for travelling!

  • Trina

    I would love to have one of these for when we take friends with us because it should fit between our current booster and FF CR. I would prefer this instead of having to always move my daughter’s car seat to the middle when bringing guests, which makes it difficult to buckle my son.

  • Stephanie

    Would be great for transferring between our vehicle and grandma and grandpa’s or others ehen they are babysitting.

  • Tannis W

    It would be nice for when we have extra little passengers in our vehicle or when the kids ride along with grandparents.

  • Christine allen

    Great for traveling or extra kids in the car!

  • Sara Hudson

    I would love to have one of these handy for those rare unexpected occasions where I find myself with an extra passenger who is booster ready!

  • Stephanie Guay

    We are nearing booster mode for my son and this would be super practical for my husband’a truck

  • Cecilia

    I have a 5 year old and we’re probably going to be transitioning to a booster soon. She travels in 3 different cars depending on circumstances so something lightweight like the Mifold would be AMAZING!