CARS.COM — The mifold booster seat is a game-changer for families. This compact booster is small enough that it can be stowed in a car’s glove box or packed in a child’s backpack, so it’s always on hand to keep booster-sized kids safe in the car, taxi or carpool.
When my 9-year-old first eyed the mifold, he declared there was no way he could sit on it because it’s so small. When folded, the portable booster is roughly 10 inches wide, 5 inches deep and 1.5 inches thick. Once I unfolded the seat and positioned the lap-belt guides to fit his body, my skeptical son fit well in the mifold.
I tested the mifold, which I ordered last year, with my 4-foot-8 son who weighs about 65 pounds and his 4-foot-5 friend who weighs about 75 pounds. Remember: Kids need to be in a booster seat until they’re 4 feet 9 inches tall and at least 80 pounds.
What We Like
Easy for adults to use: After reading the owner’s manual, I was able to quickly secure my son and later his friend in the booster. To do so, first slide the lap-belt guidelines outward to fit the child; they shouldn’t touch the child’s thighs. Then pull out the seat belt so there’s some slack and put the lap belt through the slot in the guide closest to the door. Route the lap belt over the child’s lower thighs through the other guide’s slot and buckle the seat belt. Next, make sure the lap belt is snug against the child, removing any slack. Finally, route the mifold’s shoulder-belt positioning strap behind the child’s back, connecting the strap’s clip to the shoulder belt. The clip should be positioned an inch above the child’s shoulder. This part isn’t exactly intuitive so make sure to walk grandparents and other drivers in your carpool through the process.
Ease of mind: Owning this booster means my son never has to go without a booster seat should we unexpectedly give a friend of his a ride home from soccer practice, baseball practice … you get the picture. In the past, I’d often have my son’s friend sit in the traditional backless booster that’s in our car while my son went without. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but it happened infrequently enough that buying a second backless booster seemed like a waste of space and money. The mifold solves that quandary.
Small size: We’re a one-car family, and my Subaru Outback is crammed with sports gear. There’s no place to put a second booster in the car right now, but the mifold’s small size means I can easily tuck it away between baseball gear bags or even in a seatback pocket.
What We Don’t Like
Not easy for kids to use: Neither of my pint-sized testers could figure out how to remove the seat belt from the lap belt guides — even after using it several times — so they could exit the car. I had to do it for them every time we parked. For this reason, I’d think twice before using the mifold in a fast-paced carpool drop-off lane at school; at the very least, I’d make sure the child sitting in the mifold has enough experience with it to be able to get out of it quickly.
Owner’s manual fail: The mifold’s owner’s manual is supposed to tuck into a slot in the car seat’s base, but after multiple attempts I couldn’t get it to slide all the way into the narrow space. Neither could Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger, who also purchased a mifold for her family. My manual stuck out an inch or two from the slot and ended up working its way out once my son was using the booster.
Shoulder strap: Because the mifold is so small, there aren’t many places to put the federally required usage stickers. The mifold’s usage information has been printed on ribbons that are sewn onto the shoulder strap, but they make it tougher to adjust the sliding shoulder clip. It’s a little thing, but I had to use some serious muscle when adjusting the clip for my child’s height.
What Do You Need to Know?
Height and weight requirements: The mifold can be used with children ages 4 and older who weight from 40 to 100 pounds and are between 40 and 57 inches tall.
Lap and shoulder belts: The mifold must be used with a seat belt that has both lap and shoulder belts. It cannot be used in seats that only have lap belts. It also cannot be used with inflatable seat belts.
Seating orientation: It cannot be used in rear- or side-facing seats.
Expiration date: The mifold expires seven years after its manufacture date.
Where to buy: The mifold costs $49 and can be purchased through the company’s website.
Editor’s note: This story was updated on May 27, 2016, to correct the mifold’s price to $49.