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Ride Safer Delight: Is the new Ride Safer travel vest a game-changer for family travel?

Should you buy the Ride Safer Delight travel vest?

Ride Safer Delight: Is the new Ride Safer travel vest a game-changer for family travel?

Ride Safer travel vest review: How to Ditch the Bulky Car Seat for Travel with Kids

We all know that the laws of physics don’t change when you travel to a different country or ride in a taxi or fly abroad. That means that the only safe way for a child to ride in a car is in an approved, age-appropriate restraint. We’ve certainly spent our fair share of time lugging car seats through airports around the world, which is why we’re “delighted” (see what I did there?) to introduce the Safe Traffic Systems Ride Safer Delight travel vest to your family. The Delight vest is a great choice for preschoolers for travel, taxi rides in the city or even three-across situations at home. Want more info? Read on for our Ridesafer travel vest review!

Related: Not sure what car seat to bring on your trip or how to do it? Check our guide for all the answers!

What is the Ride Safer Delight vest and who is it for?

The Delight travel vest is a booster seat alternative for kids who are at least 3 years old and at least 30lbs. It meets or exceeds all crash test requirements and Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards for harness restraints. It is still a booster seat, allowing much more mobility than a harnessed seat, so you’ll have to use your judgement regarding your young child’s maturity and ability to stay in the proper position for the whole car ride. There’s also an optional top tether that, in practice, should be used whenever possible to limit head excursion in an accident; that should also help to keep younger riders from reaching for a toy or slumping when asleep (even more so than a traditional booster seat). We tested the Delight now for Jacob, who is 5.5yo, 40lbs and 41” – perfectly in range for the size small vest (size large is also available, but I expect that we’ll have several years in the small). He’s been practicing some short rides at home in a high-back booster, so he knows the rules about staying in position and is compliant. While I would not choose to use the Delight as a daily ride for Shoshana (at age 3, she’s still rear-facing at home), we’ll try it for her in taxis around age 3.5 with an adult sitting next to her.

Related: Why you should pack light and how to do it (even with kids!)

How to put on the Ridesafer travel vest for kids

The first time you put the Ridesafer Delight travel vest car seat on your kid, you’ll see a few different parts and you’ll need to make some adjustments. The components included in the box are the vest, a sometimes-optional crotch strap, the optional-but-highly-recommended top tether and the truly optional headrest. The headrest is mostly necessary if you think your child will fall asleep on a long ride and needs extra support (in reality, we did not find it helpful).

Putting the vest on is pretty intuitive: open the buckle very sturdy Velcro panel in the front, have your child slip his arms in. Fasten the Velcro so that it’s snug but not uncomfortable and then do the same with the buckle – there’s no way that vest is coming undone on its own! To get the length right, turn your child around and open the Velcro on the crossing straps on his back. Adjust the vest until the bottom flap on the front is resting on top of his thighs (since it will hold the lap portion of the seatbelt in the proper position), then refasten the Velcro.

Ride Safer Delight travel vest on our test model at 41" and 40lbs. This picture shows the optional crotch strap in use.

Ride Safer Delight travel vest on our test model at 41″ and 40lbs. This picture shows the optional crotch strap in use.

The final step is to the thread the Y-shaped crotch strap through the two slots on the back of the vest on the bottom (one on each side), then pull between the legs and fasten snugly through the slot at the bottom of the front. While the crotch strap is technically optional, it’s important for preventing younger riders from “submarining” (sliding down and out of the vest). The crotch strap is almost too short for Jacob at 41”, though its use is not required so this isn’t a huge concern. Once my petite Shoshana starts using the vest, we’ll certainly need to use the crotch strap for a while. You can see a hands-on demo of fitting the Ride Safer Delight vest below:

How to use the Ride Safer vest in the car

Due to our tight schedules and cars full of car seats, we didn’t get a chance to practice using the vest at home. Oops! I did spend some time familiarizing myself with the manual (conveniently tucked inside the tummy panel label), the parts and their connections at home and I suggest that other parents do the same to avoid kids growing impatient. If you’re taking a taxi, I’d also recommend having your kid already wearing the vest when it pulls up to avoid an impatient driver!

Here are the basic steps to install the Ride Safer vest:

  1. Put the vest on the child, making sure that the lower panel is over the tops of the thighs
  2. Have child sit in the car and fasten seatbelt as normal
  3. Feed the lap belt through both metal guides in the lap panel of the vest, then pull snug across the lap
  4. Open the Velcro shoulder pad on the side where the should belt crosses and feed the shoulder belt through that metal guide, then pull snug and close the shoulder pad
  5. Attach the optional but highly recommended top tether to the shoulder straps using the two metal hooks (above the pads), then attach the other end to the car’s top tether point and pull the tail to remove slack

Impressions of the Ride Safer Delight vest

Bottom-line upfront: we may buy another once Shoshana is old enough. Yes, its that much of a game-changer.

Now for my full thoughts: The Ride Safer Delight vest is an awesome product that really delivers on its promise to make traveling with preschoolers and older kids easier without compromising safety. We took it to Europe without ever testing it at home, which was a risk for sure, but I figured it out pretty quickly. Jacob barely complained during any of our car rides, though he’s generally pretty easygoing about car seat safety and is accustomed to riding in a forward-facing harness most of the time at home.

What we like:

-Feels very well made

-Design has multiple fail-safe mechanisms

-Extremely compact (takes up less than half of Jacob’s preschool-sized backpack)

-Easy to use, takes less than 3min to put on the vest and get the seatbelt in place (assuming your kid is a willing participant)

-More torso support than a backless booster, avoids booster rider slumping when asleep

The somewhat rigid torso of the Ride Safer Delight travel vest and the top tether strap minimize slump if your child falls asleep.

The somewhat rigid torso of the Ride Safer Delight travel vest and the top tether strap minimize slump if your child falls asleep.

What we don’t love:

-Slightly less comfortable than a regular harnessed seat – complaints about the loop connecting the straps in the back began around 2.5 hours into a drive, but that’s a good time for a break anyways

-Can take some practice and tweaking to get the fit just right

-Crotch strap is almost too short for Jacob at 41”, though its use is not required

-Lots of parts to keep track of (for a city family using the vest in a taxi, you can leave the headrest at home and save tons of space)

-The optional headrest seems more trouble than it’s worth and takes up valuable luggage space; it won’t travel with us again

-Not permitted to use on an airplane, so for a child under 40lbs you’d need to buy a CARES harness to make the airplane seatbelt safe

-The included carry bag lets the vest flop around rather than compressing to a compact shape – I recommend basically anything else (medium wetbag, medium packing cube, or mesh stuff sack). For our Europe trip, I slid it into the front elasticized pocket of my new travel backpack (it buckles shut, so I wasn’t afraid that it would slide out).

 

Final Thoughts on the Ride Safer Delight

As you can see from my impressions above, there is room for small changes or additional features; however, our impression is overwhelmingly positive. I was especially pleased that, when used with the top tether, the Delight prevented slumping out of position while sleeping; if we had just brought a booster seat, he would have been in an unsafe position. Moving from two car seats to one on our recent trip to Europe was an absolute game-changer! While the Ride Safer Delight vest is a little pricey for an item most families will use only occasionally, if your family travels often with preschoolers or young school age children I can’t recommend it enough. It would be a fantastic choice for car-free families with kids ages 3 and up as well, as you can easily shove it in your purse or backpack for unexpected taxi rides. We like it so much that we’ll consider buying a second Ride Safer Delight vest for our family’s future travels!

Ready to buy your own Ride Safer Delight? Get is directly from Safe Ride 4 Kids for amazing customer service and free shipping! You can also purchase the Ride Safer Delight on Amazon with Prime shipping.

Our friends at Safe Ride 4 Kids sent me a Ride Safer Delight travel vest for kids to review, but all opinions are my own. Some links in this post may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission at no additional expense to you. Using these links helps support the site and keep our family traveling. Please see the full disclosure for more information.

Do you think the Ride Safer travel vest is right for your family? Why (or why not)?

Is the Ride Safer Delight travel vest a game-changer for families? Read our review to find out about this car seat alternative to help you travel light with kids. We'll tell you what we loved and what we didn't love during our hands-on testing.

Ride Safer Delight travel vest review

 

Melissa

12 Comments

  • tinboxtraveller

    What a greta piece of travel kit. Having just returned from a trip where I had to take a car sat for my two-year-old and a smaller travel booster for my four-year-old I feel your pain having to lug bulky seats around in the past. This type of solution is brilliant for traveling families. It does look very secure too and maybe not so easy to wriggle out of as the travel seat I took with me on my last trip! Thanks for sharing this on #MondayEscapes

    June 7, 2017 at 3:57 am
  • Meg

    I really wish they had come out with this when my girls were younger, it certainly seems like such a huge help with travel – especially taxis and such! Excellent idea, and I’ve got to share this with some friends who still have younger kids.

    June 7, 2017 at 12:52 pm
    • Melissa

      I’ve been biding my time until Jacob was old enough! It’s a really innovative solution. Thanks for sharing!

      June 7, 2017 at 1:09 pm
  • baldthoughts

    What a great invention. Definitely a game-changer if you don’t need to carry a car seat or a booster. I’ve been keen on using Hertz with AAA code to get a free car seat with each rental.

    June 7, 2017 at 9:08 pm
  • Wandermust Mummy

    Great idea but I appreciate you pointing out what you love and what could need more improvement #fearlessfamtrav

    June 11, 2017 at 10:35 am
  • daisythebus

    It’s a really interesting idea, but it seems just a wee bit too complicated and uncomfortable to fully replace a booster seat, especially for longer journeys. Also, I worry about it becoming too warm during summertime. Thanks anyway for bringing this to my attention. #FearlessFamTrav

    June 12, 2017 at 1:31 am
    • Melissa

      If a child is truly old enough to use a backless booster, something like a bubble bum would be a great choice; however, my personal minimum for that would be 6yo AND not falling asleep in the car. Sadly I see so many pictures of booster riders who fall asleep and basically lay down sideways – not adequate protection in a crash, not even close.

      The vest is really great for families whose kids are riding in a forward-facing harnessed seat, but who are basically willing not to squirm too much in the car.

      June 12, 2017 at 5:04 am
  • Kaylie

    Do you know if it can be used with only a lapbelt? We are going to Sri Lanka soon and can’t find a van that has shoulder belts so looking into different options since we won’t be able to use the high back booster.

    October 22, 2017 at 11:33 am
    • Melissa

      Hi Kaylie, no it needs a shoulder belt. We’re in Panama now and have had a few van rides in which the kids just used the lap belt. Sometimes that’s the reality. We’ve found Uber cars to have better safety features than traditional taxis or vans, but I’m not sure if Uber is available in Sri Lanka. How old is your little one?

      October 22, 2017 at 2:14 pm
  • Darcy

    I had no idea anything like this existed! We make yearly trips to visit family and this would be so much better than lugging around a car seat! Thank you so much for this post!

    October 23, 2017 at 2:15 pm
  • Plutonium Sox Blog (@PlutoniumSox)

    Wow, it sounds brilliant. Definitely something we will invest in when we go abroad with the girls. It has always worried me about what to do with car seats and this seems like the perfect solution. I love that it doesn’t take up too much space.
    Nat.x

    November 24, 2017 at 6:16 am
  • Flying With A Baby (@flyingwithbaby)

    This is so interesting – I’ve not seen one of thes ebefore .So much lighter than a car seat and having to lug around. #familytraveltips

    November 26, 2017 at 12:33 pm
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