Ride Safer Harness

Car Seat SubstituteRide Safer Harness car seat alternative packable

  • What: Ride Safer Travel Vest
  • When: Traveling with kids
  • Why: Packable, easier to fit multiple car seats
  • Where: Amazon

Have you seen the Ride Safer travel vests? Maybe you’ve struggled to install three car seats in a single row in a rental car in a foreign country after very little sleep and long hours on a flight. Heck, maybe you’ve struggled to install three car seats in a row, period. Or you need to pick up an extra child on short notice. But you don’t want to sacrifice safety, especially when it comes to cars and other drivers. Enter the Ride Safer harness.

It acts like a car seat, but without all the bulk. Instead, your child wears it as vest to properly position the seat belt already in your vehicle. It comes in two sizes, small for kids 30-50 pounds, and large for kids 50 to 80 pounds. I doubt most three year olds, who might easily pass the minimum weight, can handle this type of safety restraint. They tend to move around too much. But for older kids, it seems so much more appealing than hauling another car seat around.

Child wearing ride safer harness inside house

You adjust the vest straps to fit your child. Here is my almost eight year old wearing the large vest. He has plenty of room to grow.

You adjust the vest to fit your child. Once they climb into the car already wearing the vest, you thread the seat belt through the proper clips over the thighs and shoulder.  It also makes it super simple to move freely between multiple cars, and works on public vehicles like taxis. It comes in a backpack small enough that kids can carry their own even if they aren’t wearing it. You can also leave the vest mostly attached to the seat belt in the car, like a regular booster seat.

Ride Safer harness travel vest packed into backpack

The Ride Safer Travel Vest packs up small enough to fit into a backpack even kids can carry.

We got one to try out on our upcoming trip. I’m not sure how well it will work for daily usage, but I will be sure to update with more info after we have more experience. In the meantime, it’s good to know there’s an alternative to lugging around big booster seats.

Ride Safer Harness packed into included backpack

Here’s how the harness looks folded down into the backpack.

While Consumer Reports, my favorite site for car seat ratings, hasn’t reviewed this item, it has been crash test rated and passed. It does not provide the same safety as a highback booster seat because it has zero side impact protection. But the harness does offer more restraint than a regular seat beat used without a five point harness in a booster seat. Maybe your kid has outgrown the weight restrictions on their five point harness but can’t sit still and not turn around or reach down to get things while driving. Then this vest will keep them in a harness up to 80 pounds.

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