There are a plethora of sleepsacks on the market today. From lightweight to ready for the Arctic and for infants through toddlers. Some will simply keep your child warm without the danger of having a loose blanket in bed, while others boast nifty features such as adjustable comforting swaddles, "quiet" velcro, houdini-proof zippers, cut outs for the feet of young walkers, and straps to keep the sack from getting twisted up during a restless night's sleep.
I was recently introduced to a sleepsack with one specific feature I myself find to be extremely useful. The Antipodes Merino sleeping bag features an open slot on the front and back for the crotch strap of a seat belt, making it stroller-friendly!! How cool is that??
After receiving one from a brand rep to test out, I can tell you the seat-belt slot isn't the only thing we're loving about this sleepsack!
Fabulous Features of Antipodes Merino Sleeping Bag:
Below you can see one of my 15 month old (19 pound) girls modeling the sleeping bag. It appears snug across the chest because I chose to snap under her arm pits - you would need to do this for an infant, and would usually unsnap for an older baby or toddler to allow for better air flow especially in warmer weather, however it's nice to have the option until they outgrow that enclosure.
I do want to add one sneaky way we are using this sleep sack, in case anyone else is facing the same issue! One of my girls will NOT stay in her BundleMe in the stroller. She kicks her way out immediately, then proceeds to pull off her socks and shoes. AGH!!! But the Antipodes Merino is a great solution for this... Load on the layers - tights, pants, socks, shoes etc, and then put the sleepsack on top and strap her into the stroller. BAMN! #MicDrop hahahaha!!
So, pretty amazing sleepsack, am I right!?? You can purchase one on their website or Amazon (affiliate link) for around $80-100. And you can also win one in a HUGE 15-product jackpot giveaway right now by Mommy Scene!!
Enter to win here!!
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge and was compensated for my honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
Mommy-To-Be & Me Giveaway
We are excited to partner with Mommy Scene again to bring you this Mommy-To-Be & Me Giveaway packed with wonderful products for families. Enter to win this entire gift collection for moms and kids! Giveaway ends 2/10/17.
Mommy-To-Be & Me Prize Collection
Enter to Win these Essentials for New Moms & Families!
This giveaway is coordinated by Mommy Scene, sponsored by the participating brands, and is open to US entries ages 18 and older. No purchase required to enter. One winner will be randomly chosen and contacted through e-mail, and their name displayed on the giveaway widget after the giveaway ends on February 10, 2017. Mommy Scene and participating blogs are not responsible for fulfilling brand-sponsored prizes. Prizes will be shipped directly from each brand. Have fun and good luck!
Tis the season, y'all! Colds, flu, and boogies galore! I gotta admit, before becoming a mom, I thought poopy diapers would be the nastiest part of parenting. But for me, cleaning snotty noses is by far the worst (I should mention we haven't dealt with any kind of stomach flu yet, so I may have to edit this post after that one hits us, yikes!). 4 years in and I'm finally not full-on-gagging over cleaning noses anymore, but it's still dis-gus-ting!
Thankfully, there are some tips and tricks and fabulous products out there to make the job a wee bit easier for us. Most importantly, you have GOT to get a nasal aspirator that you love. There are manual ones (powered by your hand or mouth), there are portable battery operated ones (check out my review of one), and there's even one that you hook up to your vacuum cleaner!
A good nasal aspirator will quickly clear out the nose, keep it clear for longer, and according to my pediatrician, might even help prevent sinus infections. But the best for one parent may not be the best for everyone. Things to consider are noise level, suction power, cleaning process, size, portability, and price.
With those in mind, I bring you my review of the BabySmile Nasal Aspirator S-502! I'll be comparing it to the others we currently use: a bulp aspirator, the BabySmile portable aspirator, and the BabyVac.
NOISE LEVEL (Score: A-)
The S-502 performs well here as it's fairly quiet for a full-powered plug-in nasal aspirator. It's like a quiet hum / buzz. I wouldn't expect the noise to scare a child, it certainly didn't phase any of my 3. Manual bulbs and NoseFrida would be a better choice for children with sensitivity to minor/ moderate noises, and of course the BabyVac is by far the loudest on the market since it hooks up to your vacuum cleaner, yikes.
SUCTION POWER (Score: A-)
The S-502 is very cool because it offers THREE power levels. So, you can crank it up or down depending on what your kid has going on in that itty bitty nose. But don't worry, even the highest level is safe, my husband tried it out on himself and thoroughly enjoyed it finding no discomfort whatsoever. In my opinion, the S-502 performs better than any manual or battery operated devices I've tried. But if I'm being honest, and I always am, it falls just short of BabyVac, which has the best and fastest suction I've come across.
CLEANING PROCESS (Score: B)
There are a lot of parts to clean on the S-502, which is annoying, but they're pretty easy to clean thoroughly. Bulbs are notorious for breeding mold inside. If you can stomach it, take a looksy at this horrifying picture of a bulb cut in two! YIKES!!! And I've had some major trouble getting the BabyVac nose part and tube clean, as well as various battery operated suckers. But the S-502 comes apart into many pieces, all of which are pretty easy to clean and dry, and you can visually check to make sure it's all clean before putting it back together and storing it or using it again. Some parts are OK in the dishwasher, but not all, so be careful to read the very detailed manual!
SIZE & PORTABILITY (Score: B)
This is probably not something I would bother to pack and bring with us on vacation if we were flying (maybe if we were driving...), but it's a great size for at-home-use. It's light weight (less than 3 pounds), and plugs into the outlet with a nice long cord so you're not super restricted about where you have to use it. As far as baby devices go (think humidifer, air purifier, sound machine, etc), it's fairly compact, measuring 9.4" x 3.3" x 6.9", fitting easily onto a shelf or in a drawer in your changing table.
PRICE (Score: C-)
Retailing for $114.70 on BabySmile's website and on Amazon, it's not super cheap. Comparatively, you can get a bulb for under $5, and a BabyVac or battery operated nasal aspirator for around $20. That said, I haven't seen anything else on the market quite like the S-502 - it's redesgned after nasal aspirators used in hospitals, and is available for home-use at a fraction of the price.
OVERALL SCORE & OPINION (Score: A-)
Overall, I found the BabySmile Nasal Aspirator S-502 easy to use and performing well at clearing out the nose. It's quiet enough that it shouldn't cause additional fear or trauma for the child (let's face it, putting something in their nose is scary enough), and compact/light enough that it's easy to tote around the house or store away somewhere. While I didn't find it to suction quite as well as the BabyVac, the fact that it is MUCH quieter and doesn't require using with a vacuum (we now have Dyson cordless which doesn't work too well with our BabyVac), made it win out overall. The main drawback for me is the price tag, but you can just suck it up (pun intended) and make the splurge, or add it to your baby registry if you plan ahead! And hey, you can also WIN ONE!!!
ENTER BELOW TO WIN A BABYSMILE
NASAL ASPIRATOR S-502!!!
Giveaway open to US residents ages 18 and over. Giveaway ends at 11:59PM EST Thursday, January 26. Winner will be randomly selected, contacted via e-mail, and have 24 hours to respond with mailing address before another winner is chosen. GOOD LUCK!!
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
An infant compatible lightweight double stroller that has an easy and compact umbrella-style fold, great push, loads of storage, huge canopies, and can haul a ride on board? Sounds like an impossible order and yet Joovy has somehow made our wildest dreams come true with their TwinGroove Ultralight! I received one free for review, but as always, you can count on me for the truth and nothing but the truth. In a nutshell, we absolutely love it!!! Read on for my full review and what I have found to be the hits and misses in the design and functionality (and don't miss my demo video at the bottom!).
What I love about the Joovy TwinGroove Ultralight:
It has an extremely compact umbrella-style fold (measuring 15" x 30" x 13"). If you keep the wheels unlocked it's very easy to pull it along behind you or push ahead of you, and if you lock the wheels it's easy to store upright against a wall (no, it's not self-standing). The process of folding is multi-step but super quick once you get the hang of it: 1) lock all 3 front sets of wheels, 2) push seat backs forward all the way, 3) pull up 2 locking levers at back of stroller, 4) step down on the folding mechanism on the side, 5) push handles forward and down until stroller is locked shut. Once you've done it a few times it takes literally 15 seconds (much easier than trying to direct someone else how to fold it while you're getting 2 screaming kids into car seats LOL).
I love the full range of these independently reclining seats - from quite upright with a great view all the way down to nearly fully reclined and infant compatible! There's even a mesh foot enclosure that flips up and over the foot rest for newborns (of course, if using with newborns you would also want to buy and use a full infant body support pillow or at least a head support pillow - shown in use in below left photo). How you actually recline and straighten the seat is not my favorite feature, as far as I can figure it does take two hands, but it's fairly straight forward and simple (check my demo video to see it being done). There are also nice leg rests that go up and down easily. We haven't had any major grime to deal with yet, but yogurt and other snack mishaps have easily cleaned right up with a quick wipe down with a wet towel.
It has 2 decent sized storage baskets under the stroller that are only accessible from the rear and only when the seats are upright. The left and right underbaskets are separate and there's a 5 pound limit for each, so you can't fit anything HUGE or super heavy down there, but the mesh bags hang on top of the metal frame, so you can't stretch the basket out like I've had an issue with on other strollers. I decided to ditch my double diaper bag and instead pack smaller bags to go under the stroller - diapers, wipes, nursing cover and toys on the left, snacks and water bottles on the right. It's been working great!
You can also go without an add-on parent console since they have built it in for you! The back of each seat features a small zippered compartment where you can store wallet, chapstick, keys, etc as well as a small open mesh compartment good for a small water bottle or cell phone. The stroller comes with a plastic cup holder that hooks on the side, but I had a terrible time with it not staying in place (maybe I wasn't using it right?), so I gave up on it and took it off.
Finally, each seat has a little mesh pocket where you can keep stuff you want accessible to your child, such as a toy, bottle, or pacifier!
I wouldn't recommend hanging anything heavy in the back from the handles, I haven't tried and this stroller seems much sturdier than most umbrellas, but it could potentially flip the stroller backwards. If you need more storage, the SureShop bag by Hatch Things is awesome, it hangs and clips onto the side of strollers, you could even use one on each side, though it would make the stroller significantly wider when in use.
The Weight & Weight Limit:
With an in-use size of 32.25" x 30" x 42.75", the TwinGroove Ultralight weighs 26 pounds, not exactly light, but as far as double strollers go it makes good on its namesake "ultralight"! I'm 5'8" and the handles are at a very comfortable height for me, and were fine for my 5' sister-in-law, too. But here's where it rocks... each seat has a whopping 50 pound weight limit, with a total weight limit of 100 pounds!! Yessssss!!!
This part probably can't be endorsed by Joovy as I don't think they've done any testing or approved any after markets such as this, but I do want to mention that we've been using it on a daily basis for a month now to carry our 18 pound twins in the seats and pull our 38 pound 4 year old on his Englacha Junior X-Rider sit/stand board. I was nervous if it would be compatible with this, and if we would somehow break or warp the Joovy's frame, but it has been kicking butt! Another reason the Twingroove Ultralight does well pulling a ride on toddler board in my opinion is because the stroller handles are independent, so there's no across-handle to get in the way of the child when sitting or standing behind the stroller.
These are great full coverage independently operating canopies, with UV protection and (small) velcro closing plastic peekaboo windows.
I didn't realize this when we first got the stroller in January 2017, actually I didn't realize it until our first summer with it, but the 2 back flaps of the stroller (which house the cup holders and zippered pockets) can actually be flipped up over and kinda hook onto the canopies. If you do this when the seats are reclined, they get a wonderful cross breeze and it's such an amazing surprise bonus to this stroller in summer!!!
What I don't love about the Joovy TwinGroove Ultralight:
As soon as I started posting photos and professing my love for this new stroller on my social media, I got a couple of warnings from friends that it wouldn't do well in snow. I brushed them off until I tried to take it out a week ago when there were a couple of inches of fresh powder on the ground. And you know what? They were right... we didn't even make it off of our block. We were skidding around and there was no way I was going to make it up and over the mound of snow that had accumulated at the corner. Abort mission. Repeat: ABORT MISSION!!! As an umbrella stroller, the wheels are just too small and gripless to be able to do well in snow (a dusting if fine, as is relatively smooth compact snow, but that's about all it can handle). But other than that it's done well on many types of terrain, even horribly cracked sidewalks and pot-holed roads - thanks to the 3 sets of double wheels (if one set hits a hole the other 2 sets carry the stroller over without a fuss!
It also doesn't have a belly bar or snack tray as add-on options, but those are pretty standard losses in an umbrella stroller, I mean, they would take away from the compact fold! But, you can always get those velcro tethers for snack cups.
One of my favorite things about the stroller is the great view the kids have from the seat because they're not reclined deep within a pocketed seat. But, that's also a slight hazard I have found for my own very curious toddlers. It is a tight squeeze into our building's elevator and through the grocery store aisles, and there is nothing to keep their arms and legs inside the stroller. So, I have to be very vigilant, steer clear of breakables, and go slowly in and out of the elevator making sure limbs are clear.
So, who would I recommend this stroller for? Just about anyone with 2 or more kids!! It's great for twins (from infancy til they reach 50 pounds each), twins plus one or 2-3 singleton siblings (with ride-on board). It's great for travel, as a spare in the car, and even as your daily stroller! Other than the not-great-in-snow issue I mentioned above, the main thing that might make it not the best stroller for you is if you have one or two infant car seats that need to be hauled in the stroller since this does not have the ability to do so.
The Joovy TwinGroove Ultralight comes in black, grey, or turquoise (like our beaut) and can be purchased for $299.99 on their website, Amazon, and in many stores.
RAIN COVER OPTIONS:
When I originally wrote this review back in January 2017, I don't think they'd come out with a custom rain cover for the TwinGroove Ultralight yet, but I was happy with how the Manito Elegance Alpha Stroller Shield performed (see my full review on the Manito cover here). Basically, It creates a fabulously warm and cozy greenhouse in winter, protects them from the rain, has a front window that zips opens so you can hand kids snacks or give them fresh air or take kids in and out without having to remove the cover, and fits this stroller fabulously!! The only real negative, and it's a pretty big one, is that you cannot make use of the peekaboo windows when this is on, meaning you cannot see your kids. If your kids require snacks in the stroller like mine did, this can wind up being a bit risky.
In June 2017 we were sent the new TwinGroove Ultralight Rain Cover to test out and it's pretty great. My favorite point is that it's entirely see through meaning you can see your kids at all times if you keep the peekaboo top open or if you flip the back panel up over the canopy. Also, because it's made for this stroller, it's a perfect fit. And finally, it can be folded in a way (shown below) so that it sits on the stroller conveniently out of the way without you needing to fold it and put it away every time it stops raining or you run inside a shop. It velcros shut in several places meaning you can quickly unzip one side to hand your child something without having to expose them to the rain. My only negative is that while it has a velcro tie on each front corner, it wasn't enough for my escape artists (see below). Though it's tied into place they still managed to get out from under the cover. Whomp whomp. Anyway, it's still a great cover and I would say it's the best cover for this stroller as long as your kids aren't mischievous little monkeys like mine are... It retails for $49.99 on Joovy's website and Amazon.
Here's my demo video - check out the TwinGroove in action!!
If you found this post helpful, here are some others you may love by yours truly!
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
So you're traveling to Charlotte with your kids, or moving there, or maybe you've been living there for ages but your kids are just now reaching the age of "WE GOTTA GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND LET THEM BURN OFF SOME STEAM" - yeah, you know that age, it begins around the time they learn how to walk and getting into all sorts of mischief!!
In any case, you've come to the right place, I'm about to share with you some of the most awesome facilities and drop-in activities for your little ones. There is TONS to do in Charlotte, so I've narrowed it down to ones geared toward the toddler through elementary schooler set, since those are the ages of my three kiddos and we recently spent 10 days exploring Charlotte with them while visiting family.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it should help you get out with your crew and have some major (exhausting!!) fun! OK, Here we go!
Not just an indoor trampoline park, Sky High also features a ropes course (48"+), lazer tag (10 years and up) and trampoline versions of basketball, dodgeball and a rope swing. This place will give you an amazing workout, and the best part? You won't even realize how many calories you're burning because it is SOOOO much fun!!! I took my sister-in-law, my husband, and our 3 year old son and we all had such a blast. They even have a trampoline area just for younger kids ages 2-6.
If your kids like bounce houses, Monkey Joe's is their dream come true!! It's a franchise with locations throughout the US, and 3 right here in Charlotte (Pineville, University Area, and Matthews). We went to the Pineville location and found it clean, practically empty (2 days before Christmas), and incredibly fun! We spent about 2 hours there and my son pretty much had to be removed kicking and screaming. Well, he would have been kicking and screaming had he not been so exhausted! There were a couple of bounce houses for just bouncing, some with obstacle courses (lots of ladders and slides), and even a few for toddlers where parents were allowed to go inside with them.
While not located in Charlotte proper, this children's museum is so awesome I just had to include it! All 3 of our kids, as well as the accompanying grownups, had a ball! They have a ton of different zones to play in, so whether your child prefers playing with blocks or water toys, pretending to be a doctor, farmer, grocer, or race car driver, they'll certainly find enough to keep them entertained for several hours. They have a large toddler zone for the wee ones, and a huge jungle gym smack dab in the middle of the building (my son's personal favorite, as well as the theater area where he played dress up and put on a puppet show for us after having watched the live performance by Discovery Place staff). The facility was huge and immaculately clean, with a small dining area with a couple of high chairs where you could bring your own snacks or use their surprisingly healthy vending machine.
It's not a huge aquarium, but Sea Life at Concord Mills Mall is pretty spectacular!! With over 50 aquariums around the world, Sea Life sure knows what they're doing in terms of design and experience. I was really impressed with the atmosphere - you felt like you were walking through an underwater paradise, a stroller-friendly one at that! They have 10 interactive zones, including a tunnel you walk through surrounded by fish, a touch tank, and my personal favorite, a huge octopus that you can watch being fed and played with!! Kids get a booklet to stamp along the way and get to collect a prize when completed. They will also be delighted by the jungle gym near the gift shop!
Other very honorable mentions totally worth checking out with your kids:
Adventure Landing - a fun activity center in Pineville with mini golf, go carts, kiddie carts, batting cages, bumper boats, and an arcade. Pay per activity or buy a package.
Bounce U Charlotte & Matthews - a great nationwide bounce house chain with open bounce, parents night out events, toddler time, glow in the dark bounces, and more! Open bounce for about $7.99-10.99.
Carolina Place Mall - yes, great for shopping, but they have a FREE kids' play area on the ground floor just outside of Sear's. Shoes come off and tthere's a height limit, probably maxed out around age 6, though I've never seen it enforced. They also have really cool motorized toys to rent and ride around the mall on - for kids and adults!
Carowinds - a fabulous amusement park with kids' and family rides, exciting roller coasters, a water park, animatronic dinosaurs, live entertainment, and more! Open seasonally (May - September). Tickets from about $40.
Discovery Place Nature - a great place for kids to get hands on and learn about animals and nature both in- and outdoors. $8 per person ages 2 and up.
Discovery Place Science - a science museum in uptown Charlotte built for kids, more for older elementary schoolers and up but plenty of fun for the younger ones and adults, too, with an IMAX theater to boot! $13 for children, $17 for adults, under 2 free. Discount package for museum and IMAX tickets.
ImaginOn - an amazing 102,000-square-foot facility in uptown Charlotte that is a collaberation between the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, featuring free story times, great play centers, and more. Check their calendar for story times and other activities!
Lazy 5 Ranch - located 35 miles from uptown Charlotte, it's a bit of a drive but it's a cool place to get up close and personal with exotic animals by taking a wogon ride safari and feeding the animals! $11 per adult, $8 per child or senior, free for under 2.
Pineville Ice House - indoor ice skating rink in Pineville. $7 admission, $3 skate rental (size toddler through 15), $3 helmet rental.
Ray's Spalsh Planet - an indoor water park located in uptown Charlotte. Discount for Mecklenberg County residents. Admission $6/8 for children and seniors/disabled, $8/11 for adults, free under 1 year, $3/5 for dry ticket (non-swimmer).
Sky Zone Trampoline Park - jumping prices are about $13/hour and jumpers are separated by age and size, so jumping with your kids may not be allowed.
The Speedpark - located at Concord Mills, with go carts, mini golf, 110 foot fun slide, bungee jump, ice skating, and more.
So what do you think? Have you been to any of the places I listed? Do you have more to add?? Leave a comment below!!
Disclaimer: I received free admission to some of the above places, however all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
Beyond at Liberty View Industrial Plaza: A Brooklyn Parent's Shopping Paradise!
Disclosure: This article was sponsored by Bed Bath & Beyond, but all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
It snuck in and opened up quietly under the radar of most, but Industry City has a brand new shopping mecca that is, in a word, AMAZING!!! The modern, sparkling clean, and oh so impressive Beyond at Liberty View Industrial Plaza in Brooklyn's up-and-coming Industry City (the developing area between Sunset Park and Park Slope, set to become the next DUMBO) is a must visit for Brooklynites and dare I say it worth a trip to the borough for residents of Manhattan and Queens as well? Yeah, it's THAT good!!
It had a large and open feel - don't worry about bringing along your double stroller - no problem! You'll find escelators and elevators, changing tables in the bathrooms, high chairs in the dining area, and free parking (though public transport is easy, too, we took the 3rd Ave B37 from Bay Ridge)! Customer service in Liberty View and each of the shops was top notch. I got asked many times if I needed any help, but in a welcoming way rather than the nagging get-off-my-back kinda way. That, together with the fact that the place is brand new and so super duper swanky, lended to the feeling of an extremely luxurious high end shopping experience, thankfully without prices reflecting that!
Read on to get a taste of what you can expect, how to get there, and a list of nearby attractions to help you make a full day out of it!
Bed Bath & Beyond - From kitchen to bathroom to bedroom and gadgets and gifts galore, NYC's newest "Beyond" goes beyond expectations! One cool surprise is their "Made in Brooklyn" area, featuring locally produced products, a very very nice and unexpected find in by such a large nationwide "big box store"!! While wandering through and browsing the store, I was delighted to get a full cup "sample" from their Nespresso rep (the machine's were on a huge sale!). I'm told by a Beyond rep they will have interactive beverage and vacuum shopping tools for your shopping convenience, pretty nifty!!
buybuy BABY - Whether you're pregnant, have a baby or toddler, or need a gift for a baby shower, this is your one stop shop. They have large and beautiful displays to test out all of the essentials, from strollers to cribs, gliders, pack 'n plays, clothes, etc! Ask for help or just wander around and browse all the goods. You can even set up your baby registry here (which will get you a nice coupon code to buy anything you registered for that isn't gifted to you!). I hear they will also have interactive tools for selecting a stroller or car seat - sounds helpful and kinda fun! I'm not sure if this is something that will be continued, but when we went they had a little play area set up with ride on cars, a kids' house, and a mini trampoline!! It's little touches like these that really make for an outstanding shopping experience, especially with children in tow!
Cost Plus World Market - The name says it all - you'll find home goods and decor from all around the world, a great place to find a fun and unique accent piece for a room or great gift for the person who has it all! You can also find goods from closer to home in their "Locally-Made Brooklyn" section! Personally, I was excited to see their Asian food section, featuring lots of Japanese items we love, such as my son's favorites, Pocky and Panda!
Liberty View also houses Harmon Face Values (discount health & beauty supply store) and Saks OFF 5TH (designer brands at up to 70% off; their only location in Brooklyn!). I'm not sure if any other retailers are planning to jump in, but a girl can dream!!
Eating & Drinking:
The main dining option, Bay Market Kitchen, a "21st Century Food Square", serves up casual American cuisine, and locally brewed draft beer, wine and growlers. Order up front and everything will be brought to your table. High chairs are available, however there is no children's menu (maybe if enough of us whine about it they'll add one?). My 4-year-old devoured their hot dog, which was split open and grilled - much nicer presentation (and more delicious, of course I stole a bite) than your average wiener! I got their mac 'n cheese, after a customer service rep recommended it about 5 times to me LOL. It didn't disappoint!
There are several other snack options in the mall, featuring Brooklyn-based Toby’s Estate Coffee espresso drinks, drip and pour-over coffee and locally-sourced treats and snacks - from soft pretzels to "birthday cake" waffles, paninis, and more!
How to get there:
Located at 850 3rd Avenue (at 31st Street in Brooklyn), Liberty View is a cynch to reach via 3rd Ave's B37 bus, the subway's R line (8 minute walk from 36th St. Station), and by car - they have free parking! The nabe still has a very gritty industrial vibe going on, with the BQE overhead and not many pedestrians or street shops, but you're totally transported once inside the building!
If you haven't already heard of the RideSafer Travel Vest I am about to blow your mind and change your life. Seriously. Are you ready?!!
The RideSafer Travel Vest is an alternative to car seats and booster seats that is much more compact and portable, but just as safe. Instead of raising the child up to fit in the seat belt, it brings the seat belt down to your child. The seat belt feeds through the vest securely, and the vest serves to keep the car's seat belt in place and also to disperse energy safetly in the event of a car accident.
I came across the vest a few years ago at a baby expo, but my child was much too young at that point - their smallest vest is good from 3 years and 30 pounds (the largest vest is good up to 10 years and 80 pounds). A few months ago I realized the car seat we were using VERY occasionally for my oldest child (we are city dwellers without a car) was about to expire, so without a second thought I reached out to RideSafer to review one of their vests.
I have to admit, I was a bit wary... Would it be safe? Would my child be secure and not squirm around? Would he be able to nap? Would it really be easy to use and lug around? Well, if you want the cliff's notes version - YES to all of those!!! We couldn't love it more!!! This is now our 4 year old's only car seat, and as soon as our twin girls turn 3 they'll be graduating to RideSafer as well! Keep reading for a more detailed reveiw :)
As with any car seat, the setup is a bit nerve wracking. I mean, getting it fitted perfectly is pretty darn important, it could even be a matter of life and death! So, I read the manual, strapped it on and made adjustments a few times, even posted a pic on social and tagged the company to see what they thought LOL!! But, once you have it fitted for your child, it's super easy to use:
If you want, there's a mini neck/head rest that can velcro on as well (showsn above left and middle, and below left). It can help with napping in the car.
Should you toss out your expensive daily car seat and replace it with a RideSafer? Probably not. But just about every parent of a child 3-10 years old could benefit from a RideSafer... If you are any of the following, I highly recommend considering getting one!!
One thing to keep in mind, and this is the only somewhat negative thing I could find about the vest, is that since the child is not boosted up, they might not have a great view out of the window. This depends on your child's height and the type of car. My child could see just fine out of my mom's Ford Explorer, but not at all out of my dad's BMW. You could possibly pair the vest with a portable booster. I spoke with a representative from Safe Traffic System (manufacturer of RideSafer) who suggested pairing with their booster, the Delighter, and warned against cross-branding since other boosters have not been crash tested with their vest. They especially do not recommend boosters that require the seat belt to feed through them, since theis might effect the vest's safety.
The RideSafer comes in 2 sizes, and several different types and generations (as well as different version for EU standards, which require a quick one step release and is paired with a required elevated booster). You'll have to contact them or read product descriptions carefully to see what all the differences are, but we got the size small Generation 4, released in October 2016, which I believe is new and improved most importantly because it can be used in a lap belt only seat (you must use the included tether). You can order RideSafer vests on SafeRide4Kids.com (with a low price guarantee - I'm seeing prices from $119 to $159 depending on the generation/type) and Amazon from about $139.
So, what do you think? Are you considering getting one? Do you already have one and love it? Share in a comment below!!
Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)