Countdown to Disney: SeatBelt Pillows for the Trek

Posted in Blog | 221 comments


 If you found this on Pinterest please feel free to visit my Etsy store to purchase the PDF pattern, DIY Kits or Pre-Made Seat Belt Pillows!

 

When we head to Disney our total stay will include the three days of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration, Thurs – Saturday, and three-ish additional days, Sunday – Tuesday morning experiencing the magic on our own.  Having chosen to extend our stay, we have to shorten our travel time.  Add this to the “It costs HOW MUCH to fly five people to Florida?!” factor and you have a family of five with three kids six and under driving to Walt Disney World Resorts …from Kansas….in less than two days.

The first and largest piece of our trip will be driven overnight (by she who drew the short straw) and in an attempt to keep my kids as comfortable and therefor asleep as long as possible …. I decide to deck out their car seats with these seatbelt pillows.

 

 

I’ve seen such things around the inter webz….stores specializing in kid gadgets sell all kinds of versions of these…usually around $30.  Hmmm…. 3 kids x $30 …. we are starting to defeat the purpose of not flying.  I figured I could make them myself.  I toiled.  I stressed.  I analyzed.  Then I came up with the simplest pillows that the SuperKids have fallen in LOVE with…

 

 

I chose to make inserts and covers because, well…. my kids are droolers….. and SuperBaby still pees UP sometimes when he sleeps.  I wanted to be able to take the covers off and wash them.

I’m not a huge fashion designer, and this is the first thing I’ve sewn in over 15 years… so it is a no frills kind of project.  But you know what?  The SuperKids are THRILLED with their  pillows!

 

 

Due to the overwhelming and amazing popularity of these pillows (and how great they have been for my kids) I have opened an Etsy store, SuperJennCreations, where I sell a very detailed PDF pattern for these seat belt pillows as well as a teen/adult sized version.   I also sell DIY Kits complete with pre-cut and washed fabric, Velcro and PolyFil so you can make up your pillows at home.  If sewing is not your gig…. I will make them for you!  You can purchase fully assembled pillows as well.

If you have had a summer of fun full of great pictures…you might enjoy the giveaway I’m hosting for a free 8×8 Photo Book from Shutterfly on their new iPad app: Photo Story. Check it out!

 

221 Comments

  1. Wow… you really are a Super Mom!

  2. I own a sewing machine but can’t tell you when I last used it :)

  3. LOVE these! Thanks for including the tutorial and pictures. Someday when I find some spare time (yeah right!) I’m going to make some.

  4. I need these so bad! Just last night we were out on an extra long errand and my 3yo fell asleep in his seat. He was leaning over so bad, there was NO way he wouldn’t get a “crick” in his neck! Poor guy! I will be making these asap! Thanks for the great tutorial!! btw I pinned it to pinterest, hope you don’t mind!

  5. Thanks for the idea, we are going to South Carolina the end of May and we will be using these for that trip. ;)

  6. I hope they work for you! The SuperKids have been using them this whole trip and they are loving them! They were so easy to make up, too.

  7. Thanks for the Pin…of course I don’t mind!! :)

    I hope it works out for you! The kids really do look sooo much more comfortable using the pillows then when they would do the whole head flop thing :)

  8. I actually went out and bought a sewing machine recently when I realized I was relying too much on the talents of others….its been over 15 years since I actually sewed anything…this was my first project back at it!

  9. Well, isn’t that kind of you?! Thanks! I’m just desperate to get the kids to sleep.

    I’m so sorry that I didn’t get the chance to meet you while we were at Disney! So little time and so much to do…and so many people to meet! Thanks for the great celebration!!

  10. I want to make these for a long trip, but I don’t have any of the foam on hand. In your opinion, would it work the same to use polyester fiberfill (stuffed animal filler) packed in tightly?

  11. Lisa,
    Using polyfil was one of my considerations, my concern was that it would separate and settle while in the pillow.

    You can certainly try it…be sure to let me know how it works!!

    If you do want to try the foam, I got a bag at Hobby Lobby for around $3-4 and it filled all 3, with enough extra for a larger (adult) sized pillow.

    Good Luck! Let me know how it turns out!

  12. Thanks! I made 2 of these this morning with minky on the outside and they turned out great!! I’m so excited to have them for my trip this June. I think the polyfill will work, I crammed it in really tight and I hope that even as it settles, it will stay firm…that’s what I like to think anyway…Thank you so much for posting this tutorial!!!

  13. This is awesome! Thanks for the tutorial, my kiddos necks will appreciate these!!

  14. Hello, I think this is a fun idea, but I am concerned about the safety of the using a seatbelt cover. I work for the Kansas Traffic Safety Resource Office and I am not sure how the seatbelt cover can affect the way the belt performs in a crash. My recommendation is to call your car manufacture and ask if using it is safe in the event of a crash.

    More importantly, however, is the bottom picture of the adorable little guy with the harness and seatbelt. There are exceptions, but most seats you are not able to use both. If you check the car seat manual, it should say if that is something you can do, or if you should just use the harness.

  15. I’m glad I’m saving kid necks across the country ;) LOL! I hope they like them and you find it easy to put together!

  16. Amanda,
    I really appreciate you taking the time to voice your concerns, and so kindly. I think so often people either don’t offer information they have, or do it bitterly.

    I also used to work with the Traffic Safety Council (YEARS ago) with infant and child seat belt safety. I’m willing to admit that regs have changed and I’m old and three kids later: my brain cells may not have the same retention rate they used to!

    That said: I think the pictures may be misleading and I will definitely clarify my post.

    First: SuperBaby is using one of the pillows but it was only tucked in around him…up by his head and down by his legs…and as with all of the pillows…AFTER his harness seat belt was attached. I did not use the shoulder belt in addition to his 5 point harness. I did attempt to attach it to the top of his 5 point to keep it from moving around but decided against because of:

    Second: I didn’t want to attach anything to the actual car seat so as not to infringe on its effectiveness. This is another reason I opted out of many of the store bought pillows that I saw.

    The pillows are attached after the seat belt is in place and tightened so that the pillows do not interfere with their placement. The fabric that attaches behind the belt is very thin, thinner than a blanket and I attach them at the top where there is already space between the belt and the chair, and the same at the bottom. They only attach in those two places and the pillow is then on the outside, like any other pillow you would hold.

    I feel very confident for MY FAMILY that they do not interfere with MY children’s safety belts. I expect that this is a decision each family needs to make for themselves because I am NOT a car seat safety expert. Anyone with questions should absolutely check with their car manufacturer, if they can take them in to be looked at I believe that would be most successful.

    Thank you again for raising your concerns! I don’t want anyone to misunderstand and install them improperly or think that I am an expert in the field.

  17. These are so great, I am in the process of making 4 of them!!! One for each of my two kids, and one for each of my sister’s two kids! We are going on an 18 hour car ride in July, so we need all the help we can get! Anyway, I have a question. I am about to sew the fleece strips together, with the tabs placed on the raw edges. Do I put both tabs together on one edge, or do the tabs go on opposite seams? Thanks a lot!!

  18. Erin I’m so glad you are having fun making these!

    Let’s see if I my answer is the one you are looking for :)

    There should be 4 tabs all together, two for each side. I cut 8 pieces of fabric so that I could sew a nice finished tab. You place each tab “inside” the pillow before you sew the seams together so it ends up on the outside.

    Or the answer you are looking for is: Sew through all 4 layers of fabric on the raw edge: both edges of a tab and two sides of the pillow.

    If I’m way off base (which is so completely possible!!) ask again :)

    Good luck!

  19. I AM A NEW MOM TO A 4 YR OLD ON A BUSTER SEAT SOOO GOING TO MAKE THIS FOR OUR TRIP AT THE END OF THE MONTH …I LLLLLOOOVVVEEE THIS IDEA. ONE THING I CANT UNDERSTANT ( HAVE TO SAY AM NOT A CRAFTY MOM OOOOORRR EVEN HOW TO USE MY NEW SEWING MACHINE….LOL) AM HAVING TROUBLE UNDERSTANDING HOW TO DO THE SEWING PART FOR THE SEAT BEAT COVERS … CAN YOU HELP …EXPLAIN A BIT MORE PLEASE = )….THANX

  20. These are wonderful and I am making some for my grandkids. Does the velcro go on the tabs? I have read your instructions (which are great) but am not comprehending,life long problem. I am guessing that the tabs have velcro so that they hook together to wrap around the seatbelt. Thanks for this great idea. My daughter is excited for me to try making these.

  21. The harnessed seat your son is using is incorrect and very unsafe. The CHEST clip goes at the…(you know it) Chest!! Also, while using forward facing the straps are to be coming at or above the shoulders. :) It looks like he’s outgrown this and you need to find a seat with higher slots. Take care.

  22. What a great idea! Am going to make some as somme as I but some fiberfill. Thanks

  23. Most clever thing I’ve seen in a while! Great job!

  24. So doin it! We too are on a trip to the south and how I would love it if they napped! It might be incentive for my oldest to wear his seatbelt properly too!

  25. I am about to make 2 of these but I am a little confused, do you cut out 2 pieces of fabric that are 26.5″ long x 6″ wide or 1? Thanks!

  26. If you read your carseat manual you will see that aftermarket products are not to be used with the carseat.
    You are putting your children’s safety at risk.
    We took our 3 year old to Disney world and have moved many times across the country since my husband his military and we’ve never needed something that puts him in harms way.

  27. I plan on making these summer as part of my “Summer of Pinterest”. I personally feel that these would be safer as you explained them hooking to the belt then my 10 year old (who happens to be 5 foot tall) slumping over in her seat belt and not sitting up straight as she falls asleep. We visit from 5 to 9 hours away and we drive because who can afford to fly (plus it is about the same time frame as driving)! Thanks for this post!

  28. That er…larger pillow for you and SuperDad…would you mind giving the dimensions for that? I want one for myself!

  29. Hi,
    Could you make one,I would totally pay for one, my issue is I’m on temporary duty for my husbands job in Georgia and we have to drive back home cross country to California in a few months an this would help me so much but I’m not in a position out here to purchase a sewing machine and make this, it would honestly be so much easier if I could purchase one and make my drive back home a lot more easier and peaceful for my baby boy… Please let me know thanks so much!

  30. I think this is super cute! Like someone else posted, I am a CPST (car seat tech) and my only concern would be the safety aspect. I am glad that you posted how you attached the pillow to the straps. Car seat manufacturers will tell you not to use it as it could have an impact on how the harness/belt reacts in a car crash. Nothing that “interferes” with the harness/belt is supposed to be used and nothing that is not crash tested WITH the car seat should be used.
    I agree that the fabric is nice and thin and it probably doesn’t interfere with the fit of the seatbelt. However, in an accident you don’t know how a body might react if it happens to bounce off of the pillow, etc.
    Each family needs to look at the risks of using a non approved item with their car seat before using it. Great idea, just not so sure that in an accident it would allow for the child, especially in a high back booster using the vehicle seat belt, to be in the correct position.

  31. Still no response to my question. If you have time, please reply, Gotta get these made and in the mail today.

  32. Sorry I’ve been slow to respond, Diane. I got an unfortunate tick bite a month ago and I’ve been really sick (also the reason for no new content on my site!) … I’m slowly recovering my house, then my blogging!

    The velcro does go on the tabs. Look at it when you lay it out, before you sew it, they go on opposite sides for each “set” since they wrap around. I sewed the velcro on last to make sure I got it in the right places.

    I hope that helps!

  33. I appreciate your concern for our safety… you are correct that very many people do not take the time to correctly install or buckle their children into their car seats! We were not driving when we did this photo shoot. My mom and I put the kids in the car very quickly to not miss the light that was left (the sun was setting) and you are correct, his clip is too low had we been driving! The car seat does, in fact, fit him correctly. I also thought he was getting too large for the seat so I went to one of our local safety check points and had the installation inspected before we went on this long drive. They not only check installation, but how you buckle your child in and we were told that both were correct (when done under driving, not photo shoot circumstances).

    Thanks for stopping by!

  34. Good luck!

    If you use fiberfill, be sure to pack it in REALLY tightly, I think it would have a tendency to shift around when you use it…that’s why I chose the shredded foam.

  35. Thanks very much!

  36. Mariah,

    You will need two pieces of fabric, each at the dimensions you listed. This will make a pillow form for you to stuff. The finished dimensions of the pillow are roughly 25″ by 4″.

    Good luck!

  37. I appreciate your concern for my family and applaud the great luck you’ve had getting your child to sleep in the car!!

    If you read the other comments you will see my explanation for how and why I choose to install these. I’ve also explained repeatedly that this is a choice each family must make.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  38. Tara…. that is EXACTLY what I think, too. I freak out when I’m driving and see my children slumped over asleep. This did solve that problem, I didn’t see them sleeping all ganky even once!

    Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

  39. Juliette,

    Ha! It’s beautiful :) I don’t have the exact dimensions…but instead of cutting the pillow case into four sections… I just used a half of the pillow case. Go from there and measure it when it’s full and you’re going to make the cover. :)

  40. Nevermind! My oversight! Clearly you stated velcro tabs! Sorry!

  41. Awww, Adrianna any other time I would do this for you! Right now it just isn’t possible. The day after we returned from our trip a MONTH ago I got a nasty little tick bit and a week later I got horribly sick…I’m just now feeling better and I have a LOAD of work and house work to catch up on…very overwhelming. I just don’t have extra time right now :( Maybe you can get a neighbor or a high school home ec star to make some?? :)

    Good luck!!

  42. Thanks for your information, Sarah. I truly appreciate people that can share their concerns and information so kindly.

    I took that into consideration, but even with my seats and belts correctly installed, my two big kids fall asleep and slump over in the seats…repeatedly. This actually helped them sleep upright and in the proper position for their belts and car seats to work so I weighed the options and chose to go with this.

    Thanks again for all of your information!

  43. Sorry, Diane. See my response below! I’ve been very ill and a little more than slow to respond :) Thanks for hanging in there!

  44. Liz,

    I’m not sure which part it is that is confusing you…the inserts or the covers?

    Thanks!

  45. Brilliant. Just saw this on Pinterest and re-pinned it! It’ll be perfect for our car trips. Thanks so much for sharing!

  46. Thanks for stopping by, I hope they work for you!

  47. I would so love to make these for my grand kids, however I get a little lost at the adding the tabs part. Is there anyway you might show a picture of these laying opened not on a seat belt. Usually seeing the finished product helps me to figure it all out!! I would so dearly appreciate it!!!
    BTW…..just adorable and such a great idea!!

  48. Yay!!!! We are going to Disney in July and we’re driving..I’m so glad I found these!!

  49. Thanks for the compliments! I will do my best to get a picture added this afternoon or evening of the finished pillows laid out.

  50. Oh, I’m so excited for you!!! Our trip was AMAZING! I’ve been sick since we came back but am in the process of getting a bunch of Disney posts up… be sure to check them out :)

    I hope the pillows work for you….they were SUCH a help on our 4000 hour drive ;)

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