The Ride Safer 3 Travel Vest is the continuation in the line of travel vests from Safe Traffic System, Inc. It’s an alternative form of child restraint for situations where traditional carseats or belt positioning boosters may not work, such as narrow 3-across situations, air travel, grandparents’ vehicles, or infrequent carpools. The travel vest is lightweight and highly portable, which makes it popular as a vacation “seat.”

 

Sizes:

Small: 30-60 lbs., 34-52”, and at least 3 years of age

Large: 50-80 lbs., 45-57”

Features:

  • Adjustable height straps on back for better fit
  • Adjustable buckle
  • Easy to take with you on trips with the CARES harness
  • Weighs just
  • Highly Portable

  

Ride Safer 2 vs. Ride Safer 3

There are two versions of the Ride Safer Travel Vest: version 2 and version 3. The main difference between the two is that ver. 3 is for vehicles with lap/shoulder belts only. Essentially, you will only be using the Ride Safer (RS) with newer vehicles, so it makes a great vest for traveling with if you’ll be using rental cars since they turn their fleets over so quickly. The RS2 can also be used with a lap-only belt and when used with one, requires the use of a tether. The RS3 takes all the guesswork out of how to use the vest: you use it with a lap/shoulder belt only. No muss, no fuss with tethers or crotch belts. As usual, a picture explains things better.

Why might you need a Ride Safer Travel Vest?

There are lots of everyday situations where a vest like this would be handy for a parent to throw into a backpack for a child or into a backseat for another parent to use during carpools. It’s very lightweight and small enough not to take up precious amounts of luggage space; since it’s just 1.2 pounds, those parents who travel internationally won’t have to worry as much about carry-on weight limit issues. To give a little perspective, it weighs less than a typical plastic bottle of water you’d buy at the airport.

Is it easy to use?

Check out the video. It takes less than a minute for a child to put the vest on and thread the seatbelt through the belt guides. It’s not as fast as a booster, but this is a specialty item most likely being used in special circumstances where taking a few extra seconds won’t be a problem.

What do kids think?

They don’t seem to mind the design of the vest. My 57″ dd thought the vest was comfortable but at age 10.5, she’s a true tween and very image conscious. I’m quite sure a year ago she wouldn’t have minded the look. My 13 yr old ds, who is a space geek, thinks it’s not so bad.

Is it safe?

I never thought you’d ask. Vests fall under the same federal regulations as carseats do, FMVSS 213. So yes, the RS3 is certified to meet FMVSS 213. And because the child sits on the vehicle seat itself, the child has a lower center of gravity so head excursion is reduced, as is knee excursion because there’s no carseat behind the child pushing her forward.

Is it FAA-approved?

No. Since airplanes have lap-only belts and since the RS3 can only be installed using a lap/shoulder belt, it should be stowed in your carryon luggage on an airplane. If you want a restraint for the airplane, the CARES harness is also highly portable and works well in conjunction with the RS3.

Can I wash it?

The soft fabric is spot wash only, no machine washing.

Pros

  • So portable!
  • Only 1.2 lbs.
  • Adjustable both in width and in length
  • Spreads crash forces over a wide area
  • Kids like it
  • Great for narrow situations

Cons

  • Lack of side impact protection
  • Stiff buckle difficult for independent kids to unbuckle themselves
  • Not made in USA

 

The Ride Safer Travel Vest is available in various sizes at Amazon.com

I remember when the original Ride Safer Travel Vest came on the market years ago. Everyone, CPS professionals and parents alike, wondered if Safe Traffic System, Inc. and its product were for real. They’ve persevered in a very tough field and continued to make improvements to their products bringing us to the Ride Safer 3. Kids love the design of the vest and are comfortable in it. Parents love the vest because it’s so highly portable and easy to travel with, not to mention easy to fit in a tight 3-across situation where nothing else will work.

    

Thank you to Safe Traffic System, Inc. for providing the Ride Safer 3 for our review.