The BubbleBum booster seat is an inflatable cushion that boosts children up, so the vehicle seatbelt properly aligns with their body for safe fitting. This product is small and very lightweight making it ideal for carpooling and traveling, or instances where children may need to carry their booster. While this product has some inherent issues, like the use of lower quality materials and some difficulty with seat belt retainers, we still think it is the best thing going for times when you may need to carry or transport a booster seat for driving safety. With the lowest price in the group, this easy-to-buckle option makes a great add-on safety option for use when your full-size booster would be too cumbersome or heavy for the job at hand.Editor's Note: The BubbleBum review received an update on December 21, 2021. New details were included on sub-testing within important metrics.
Pros: Lightweight and portable, budget-friendly
Cons: Harder to use, lower quality
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|Pros||Lightweight and portable, budget-friendly||Reasonable price, better crash test analysis, super comfy, high-quality||Better crash test results, price, lighter||Easiest to use, better crash test results, price||Portable, nicer quality, lower price|
|Cons||Harder to use, lower quality||Heavier, can't go backless||Less padding, quality||Average quality, widest seat bottom||Lowest crash test results, hard to use, uncomfortable|
|Bottom Line||Acceptable performance for a travel friendly, inexpensive choice||This high-quality booster is super comfortable, with better crash test analysis and a reasonable price||Budget-friendly choice with better crash test results||Nicely priced, easy to use option with better crash test results||Super easy to travel with but it has the lowest crash test results|
|Rating Categories||BubbleBum||UPPAbaby Alta||Diono Monterey XT||Chicco KidFit||mifold|
|Crash Test (35%)|
|Ease Of Use (30%)|
|Specs||BubbleBum||UPPAbaby Alta||Diono Monterey XT||Chicco KidFit||mifold|
|Crash Test HIC Score||603||390||556||557||733|
|Crash Test Chest G Clip||45||53||42||46||48|
|Modes||Backless Booster||High Back Booster||High Back Booster,
|High Back Booster,
|High Back Booster Weight Range||n/a||40 - 100 lbs||40 - 120 lbs||30 - 100 lbs||n/a|
|High Back Booster Height Range||n/a||38" - 57"||38" - 63"||38" - 57"||n/a|
|Weight||1 lbs||16.1 lbs||14.2 lbs||10.4 lbs||1.5 lbs|
|Backless Booster Weight Range||40 - 100 lbs||n/a||40 - 120 lbs||40 - 110 lbs||40 - 100 lbs|
|Backless Booster Height Range||40" - 57"||n/a||38" - 63"||38" - 57"||40" - 57"|
|5 pt Harness Weight Range||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|5 pt Harness Height Range||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Can you use LATCH in booster mode?||n/a||Yes||Yes||Yes||n/a|
|Seat Lifespan||Not Listed||10 yrs||6 yrs||8 yrs||7 yrs|
Our Analysis and Test Results
BubbleBum is the first inflatable booster seat and was invented by Grainne Kelly. Kelly came up with the BubbleBum idea when she got frustrated carrying around heavy and bulky boosters for her two children. This booster meets and exceeds EU and US requirements. This innovation is the flagship product for a company that now makes a children's neck pillow and activity organizer for the backseat. The BubbleBum sells in more than twenty-eight countries.
The BubbleBum earned a below-average crash test score for the group.
All of the boosters included in this review have passed the federal minimum guidelines for safety and are therefore considered safe. The testing of the boosters in this review allows for an apples-to-apples comparison of results using the same standards and facility that NHTSA uses in their testing. The BubbleBum provides what we consider to be a basic level of protection with test results that were generally average for the group.
This booster's head sensor on the crash test dummy registered 603, where the maximum HIC allowed is 1000 ( the lower result is better). While this is below the maximum, it is higher than the top performer, the UPPAbaby Alta with a result of 390. Below is a comparison of the HIC sensor results for the Bubblebum and the competition in this review.
The chest sensor results (g) on the BubbleBum crash test dummy showed 45 g, where the maximum allowed is 60 g, and a lower result is better. The lowest (and best) result in our tests is 39 g (see comparison above). Below is a comparison chart of all boosters in this review and their chest sensor crash test results.
In general, we feel a high-backed booster provides an added degree of safety by creating a shell similar to convertible car seats for possible side-impact collisions or vehicle intrusion from the outside during a crash. However, that being said, we feel any safety belt-positioning device is better than none, and the BubbleBum fills a niche where boosters are often skipped for the sake of convenience.
Ease of Use
Given the BubbleBum lack of features or back, the lower ease of use score is somehow even more disappointing.
Our kid testers could buckle themselves in easier with this product than the similarly small competitors.
However, the belt strap fell out of the retainer regularly, and they struggled more with the shoulder retainer and keeping it in the right spot for proper alignment (above left). Unlike the high back boosters, this kind of booster needs more attention (above right) to the retainer location as it can move.
Installation and moving the BubbleBum is pretty straightforward. It has no LATCH and is so lightweight kids can move and adjust the booster themselves. The seat is spot clean only, and it does have a crevice that wraps around the entire product where gunk can and will get lodged.
Weight and Size
The BubbleBum is one of the smallest and lightest options in the group.
This product has the lightest weight in the group at only 1 lb. Even the smaller competitor is heavier with a weight of 1.5 lbs. The BubbleBum is 14 in wide, making it the second-smallest. It is highly likely you can fit up to three of the BubbleBum boosters across the back seat of most vehicles, given the smaller width. This makes it an excellent choice for carpooling as it enables the transport of more children than traditional high-backed boosters.
This booster isn't as comfortable as some competition with high backs.
However, our little testers all felt that this seat was comfortable for what it is and gave it fairly high ratings compared to the competition. They felt the air-filled base was comfortable and had no real complaints. For us, the fabric is not as soft as it looks and isn't that friendly on bare legs. However, it also lost points for not having a back or headrest, which can increase napping capabilities.
This booster isn't the best quality compared to the competition.
The padding is an air cushion, and over time, the cushion struggles to stay inflated, indicating a loss of air pressure somewhere and a quality assurance issue. The fabric isn't as nice as it could be, and the seat's design means it will easily collect grime, and the material may not wear well over time. The Overall fit and finish are somewhat cheap and sloppy. Even though the product is inexpensive, the simple design could have been executed with higher-end materials and more attention to quality control.
Should You Buy the BubbleBum?
The BubbleBum is cheap, making it a shoo-in for many families. It is lightweight and compact when deflated so that little ones can carry it themselves. It is perfect for travel and carpooling, and we've used it with our children on travel and camp outings. Despite having a lower crash test result, we think it fills the niche of travel-friendly like no other option, and the low price means it could be an excellent secondary seat used for travel only.
What Other Booster Seat Should You Consider?
This small booster is our favorite for travel and kids to carry. However, the lower score for crash testing makes it one we wouldn't necessarily recommend for everyday, regular use unless your budget simply can't be stretched. For smaller budgets, we prefer the Evenflo Spectrum. This booster is easier to use, more comfortable, and has a slightly better crash test result. Plus, it can go backless, making it better for travel than a high-back booster.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.
BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.Learn More