Baby Gizmo Product Review: Safety First Rumi Air Harnessed Booster

Winner of the 2010 Best Bet Booster award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Safety First Rumi Air Harnessed Booster is the latest addition to the line of car seats featuring Air Protect- revolutionary side impact technology that protects a child’s head.

From the Safety First website:

Air Protect technology has been designed to defend against the biggest threat to children on the road today; side impact collisions.  Side impact are by far the deadliest type of collision for children, accounting for one in three child fatalities; nearly all of which are caused by head trauma.  The placement of Air Protect technology on the car seat diverts crash forces away from a child’s head, the most vulnerable place in a side impact crash.

Air Protect, developed using the advanced Dorel/Kettering testing method to simulate real-life side impacts, provides greater energy absorption and head containment in the most severe impacts; where intrusion into the passenger compartment occurs. For customized safety, the easy-adjust 12-position headrest of the Rümi properly aligns the Air Protect system with the child’s head, where it’s needed most.

The Safety First Air Harnessed Rumi Booster is a car seat designed to be installed forward facing. That means it is not suitable for children under one year of age or under 22lbs, although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends leaving your children rear facing until they are at least two years, or until they have reached the maximum height and weight for their seat. The car seat is used in conjunction with the harness from 22-65 pounds and 34-52 inches and can be used as a belt-positioning booster from 40 – 100 pounds and 43-57 inches. If you have tall children, the Safety First Rumi Air Harnessed Booster boasts an impressive height limit.

What makes the Rumi Air Harnessed Booster different from the other car seats featuring the Air Protect system, is that it also uses Flex Tech technology, which is an internal design that gives the car seat an sleek and appealing appearance as well as smooth edges that won’t damage the car interior.

The Rumi Air Harnessed Booster is also loaded with additional features:

  • No-thread 5-point harness.
  • Color-coded belt paths for easy installation.
  • 1-click LATCH installation system.
  • Integrated cup holder and snack tray.

Adjusting the Air Harnessed Booster was a breeze, as the shoulder harness is attached to the headrest, ensuring proper positioning of the straps at all times. Pulling the head rest up or down into its 12 different positions moved the shoulder harness up and down along with it. There is no need to rethread the straps when your little one goes through a growth spurt. Be aware that once you have moved the headrest into its proper position, you need to tug on it up and down a little to make sure it is secure.

The only problem I ran into when adjusting the straps and headrest was when my child was sitting in the seat. So if you need to adjust the headrest, I recommend  doing it when your child is not using the car seat. That being said, I like having the straps attached to the headrest, as it takes the guess work out of making sure the straps are in their proper position and the head rest is always at a comfortable level.

The buckle between the legs is also adjustable, with three positions to choose from. I found that the position that gave the most amount of room fit my child the best. At almost four years of age, 40 inches, and 35 pounds, I do question how easy it will be to access the buckle once she gets older. While I like having the option of moving the buckle forward and backward in the seat, it would be nice if the buckle was an extra inch or two longer.

Installing the booster was just as easy, and the one-click LATCH system was a dream. The LATCH belt can only be tightened from one end, which was different from the other seat I had been using, but it didn’t affect the ease of installation. The Rumi Air Harnessed Booter has a LATCH drawer in back of the seat, which I love. It keeps the LATCH belts nice and tidy. One note: I pulled a little too hard on the drawer and it came out. It was a total pain to get back in, so be careful!

There is an instructional diagram on the side of the car seat, which helps you determine the proper angle for the seat. I followed the diagram exactly and there is a gap between the booster and the seat of the car. I thought I had improperly installed the seat, but after discussing the issue with a Safety First customer service agent, here is what I discovered:

  • When using the Air Harness Booster with the 5-point harness (22-65 lbs. and 34-52 in.), there will be a slight gap between the bottom of the car seat and the back of the seat of the car. The headrest should make 100% contact with the seat of the car, and the gap at the bottom is safe as long as the LATCH or seat belt is completely tight.
  • When using the Air Harness Booster with a lap/shoulder belt combination (40-100 lbs and 43-57 in.),  there should not be any gap between the back of the car seat and the seat of the car. This includes at the base of the car seat. The entire length of the back of the Rumi Booster should be flush against the seat of the car.

Securing my child in the 5-point restraint was simple. It was a little difficult to get the buckle between the legs locked, as the buckle is a bit short. I also had to make sure I heard the “click” of both buckle tongues and the chest clip. The harness loosened and tightened very smoothly and it was easy to unbuckle. One note: My father-in-law did have a hard time unbuckling the chest clip, but it’s been 20 years since his kids were in car seats, so…..

Removing the harness from the car seat proved to be a little more difficult. You would only remove the harness to wash it or convert the seat to a belt-positioning booster though. Also, most every car seat I have ever removed the harness from has been difficult. It is actually comforting to me because the harness should be difficult to remove, as it makes the car seat that much safer.

Once I removed the harness, I moved onto removing the cover. This is where the Rumi Air Harnessed Booster falls short. Only the bottom seat pad of the seat can be removed for cleaning. The seat back and head rest pad can only be spot cleaned with soapy water. Any parent who has had a kid throw up or have a potty accident in their car seat knows how important it is to be able to completely remove a car seat cover for washing. Forget the accidents! Just the cracker and milk build up alone calls for an occasional run through the wash. It would be highly desirable for all the parts of the Rumi Air Harnessed Booster to have removable and washable covers.

Now, let’s talk aesthetics. Safety is always Baby Gizmo’s number one priority, but we also think there is something to be said for appearances. The Rumi Air Harnessed Booster is sleek, modern, and compact. The lines are smooth, and there is nothing fussy about the look of it. The gray and black color scheme is neutral, but beware that it does get hot in the sun, so you might want to keep it covered if your car is parked for an extended period of time. The cup holder and snack tray are a welcomed feature by both myself and my three year old, and I was particularly happy to see that the cup holder is deep enough to keep those sippys grounded. If you are looking for a car seat with a sleek, no-frills design, then the Rumi Air Harnessed Booster is an excellent option.

All in all, the Rumi Air Harnessed Booster deserves credit for its superior safety features, quality design, and ease of use. If the buckle on the harness were just a tad longer and the cover were completely removable, it would tower above its competition. That being said, the Safety First Rumi Air Harnessed Booster is still an excellent purchase for a parent looking for a well-made, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing car seat.

SHOP Safety First Rumi Air Harnessed Booster HERE