I'm skeptical by nature so when a parent on a local listserv inquired about an inflatable car seat she had heard of I thought she was surely mistaken. An inflatable car seat? That's crazy talk if I ever heard it. It turns out she's not crazy - such a product exists.
Designed for use for children 3 and up, "car seat" is a bit of a misnomer as it's really an inflatable booster seat. Before anything else, I wanted to read about this product's safety. Here's what the website had to say:
Can I believe the Easycarseat child car seat? Is it really safe?
You do not need to be worried about it. The Easycarseat child car safety seat is tested and homologated. In the testing room of the passive safety in the company DEKRA Automobil, a.s. Easycarseat child car seat was tested according to the UN ECE Regulation No.44.04 and USA NHTSA FMVSS 213 with positive result. You will find the test report on our website http://easycarseat.com//?p=91. On the basis of the successful testing, including crash-tests, the US Federal Vehicle Safety Standards NHTSA body and in the EU the Ministry of Transport of the Czech Republic granted the homologation to the Easycarseat inflatable child car seat. Easycarseat child car seat is approved for the use in the Groups II and III, in the range of weights 15 to 36 kg and may be used together with the approved three-point seatbelts for adults.
Oh, well if it's homologated then that settles it.
The Easy Car Seat is "made in the EU" (where? the EU is a big place) and "fully complies with EU and USA Vehicle Safety Standards."
What else might you want to know? Folded up its dimensions are 12"x12"x2" and it weighs about 1.5 lbs. It costs $87 and comes in red, blue and orange with a grey cover at an additional cost.
I have to say this is a really smart concept and if indeed it's safe to use, would be convenient in so many situations. I'd love to see this tested by Consumer Reports or a similar U.S. safety institute. What do you think? Does anyone have one? Would this be a dream product for you?