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. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment, Meghan!

    You aren’t the first person to mention the positioning of his seat belt… I didn’t think through this thoroughly when we did the photo shoot…we were losing light and I wanted to get it done so my mom and I threw the kids in the van and took the pictures…because we weren’t driving anywhere I didn’t even bother to check the seat belts. (I had no idea THIS many people would look at the post!!).

    When he is placed in the car to actually drive somewhere, I am vigilant about his car seat and making sure that it is put on properly. I’ve become a bit of a ninja at double checking when other people put him in without hurting their feelings ;) I just don’t trust anyone else to do it correctly… the whole “If you want it done right” theory.

    Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment!

  2. mom pillow anyone?

  3. This is a great tutorial… thank you soo much for sharing!

  4. Thanks, Amanda! I hope you had luck making yours!

  5. I totally did this so SuperDad and I would have one for the road trip, too…. ours was not as pretty….or quite as “done”…. imagine that… but it worked!

  6. Just made two if them from start to finish for both two hours!!! Thanks!!!

  7. I made two of these and used them today they are perfect you need to patten it!! Thanks!!

  8. Where would I buy the foam? These would come in very handy since we drive a lot.

  9. Hi, this is such a great idea!!! I was wondering if you would be willing to make these for christmas gifts?? you can email me at the email I provided. I would love to learn to sew, and know this isn’t a very hard project, but am not ready for this quite yet. I do love this idea.

  10. I had a question, can you use poly fil instead of shredded foam?? I have a ton of poly fil from making bumper pads and my son’s birthday is next week and this would be perfect for him. Or can I use quilt batting that is thick?? I live in Hawaii and just afraid I wont find shredded foam for a reasonable cost.

  11. You could absolutely use poly fil instead of the foam. I just thought the foam would not separate and flatten like polyfil does sometimes. I think batting would work, too…you could roll it up in a tube shape.

    Good Luck!! I hope your son enjoys it …and Happy Birthday to him!

  12. Meg you can buy the foam at Hobby Lobby. I found that they generally only carry a couple of bags at a time so if you don’t see it you can ask them to order a bag of shredded foam, it just might take a few days so plan ahead :)

  13. Holy cow! Well done :) I’m about to make some more for Christmas gifts…. I’ll have to time myself and see if I can be that quick about it now that I know what I’m doing. I think stuffing the darn things took me the longest!! LOL

  14. I sprayed Static Guard on my hands and in the bag of foam while making these. It worked pretty well and kept the foam from flying everywhere.

  15. Hi Jenn!!! I cannot wait to get my sewing machine fixed so I can try to make this for my daughter and nephew!!!! Did you make that PDF pattern? I came via Pinterest and am on my phone, so it’s a bit difficult to navigate…. Thanks so much for this tutorial!!!!

    On another note, even if other ppl are making them, you could possibly still get a patent. You just have to prove it is different in form or function, and they may ask you to prove when you made it…. Just a thought!

  16. Made a pillow using your tutorial (with a few modifications). I pinned it and shared your link.

    http://pinterest.com/pin/160792649167185720/

    Thanks so much!!

  17. Thanks, Leticia!

  18. Courtney, its on my list of things to do :) I’m redesigning my site this weekend/week so when that is over… up I’ll go with the pattern! I’m going to make it with a few modifications as I make the next round of pillows over here for Christmas gifts!

  19. Brilliant!! Thanks for the tip!!

  20. While I see that this was well intentioned, putting anything over a seatbelt would break the law in Canada (I dont know the American laws as I’m Candian) and for good reason. There is no way of knowing how this might affect the seat belt in a crash. Is it still positioned properly on the child? Is it tight enough? Is it twisted? Is it stopping the seat from working a it should? Before adding something like this to your seatbelt I would consult your vehicle’s manual to confirm that it is not prohibited. If it isn’t clear in there I would contact your vehicle and child seat manufacturer. If the child was simply going to have this as a pillow that is not attached to the seatbelt or the car seat then there should not be a problem.

    As a side note, the little boy in the photo with the 5 point restraint’s straps are not in the correct slots for a forward facing child. The straps need to be at or ABOVE his shoulders.

  21. I did not have such luck… :( I will be trying again… I can’t cut straight, I think that was my problem

  22. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am a serious sewing novice and I had no problem doing this pretty quickly. I haven’t touched a machine in probably 15 years, but your post inspired me to try again. My daughter spends 4 hours in the car every single Sunday due to visitation and I’d been looking for something like this when I fell over the link on Pinterest. I made her a fleece one and she shrieked with joy! I wish I could link the pic of her joy!

    Thank you for making me a hero to my 4 year old!

  23. OKay, I am officially quitting this pillow! I can not seem to do any of it right!!!!

  24. I made your pillow as the instructions but decided to change a few things I take a knee high nylon stocking and put quilt batting rolled up and stuffed into it and sew it up this can be removed and the cover washed when needed. I also just made one piece of fleece and cut it 61/2 inches by 26 in I have only one seam that way I sew the two tabs into that seam. On the end I folded it over and sewed it and inserted a piece of cording and pull it tight and tie it so when needed you can untie it and pull out the stocking filled batting and then wash the cover. It took me about 30 min to finish the entire project. My daughter who is 39 needed one and she just loves it.

  25. Thanks for all of your input and for taking the time to leave a comment here!

    Your questions and comments are not the first of their kind, please feel free to view my replies to other commenters regarding the safety of the pillows and how I apply them for MY family. You will also find my remarks regarding my youngest son and his seatbelt positioning in the pictures: this was a photoshoot and not an outing. I did not pay close enough attention to the belts after someone else buckled him in as we were not driving. I didn’t realize there would be so many caring people reading this post that would pay such close attention :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

  26. Great idea, Jenn!
    I am a very visual learner, is there any way you could make a video with step-by-step instructions?

  27. LOVE this! My only change to it is that I am using a ‘waterproofing’ liner for the insert as I can only imagine that liquids of any form from a toddler will soak through a pillow case. Of course this increases my price but then I don’t have to worry about the foam pieces being nasty inside. PUL fabric I got at Joann’s Fabrics is used for training pants and wet bags and other ‘wet’ projects (the gal at the store mentioned reusable lunch sacks!). I’m super excited about this project and hopefully will be able to fit it in before Sunday as we have a 4hr trip to make that day (two ways so 8hr total!!). THANK YOU!!!

  28. hey I’m going to make this for my nephew I was very excited to see this and it seems pretty easy. As I was reading through your comments I saw you were going to have a pdf, do you have that? Are you charging for it? Thanks so much for this I can’t wait to make it. Also I may have missed this, but how much fleece did you buy? would half a yard be enough or a yard? THanks so much for your help

  29. Megan,

    1/2 yd should be fine. I haven’t put up the pdf, I was working on it today and hoping to have it finished tomorrow. I’m having some folks proof it for me as I’ve never made a pattern before! It will be for sale…. I’ll post here when it goes live. It will have a few more details and some layout pictures as well.

  30. I have my supplies, downloaded your directions now I am ready to start. Wish me luck. I am making 5!

  31. Jenn
    this is awesome, love it, so excited to make some for friends and family.

  32. i love this tute!! i am definitely making one of these for my 5 year old. our family travels with my husband’s job and we are constantly on the road. what a great idea!! i also wonder if this same concept will protect her from hitting her head on her headboard/foot board of her bead when she decides to act like a monkey. i could hook the velcro through the rungs and do it in a pattern that would match her room decor :)

  33. Julie I’m so glad you like it!

    I’ve finally gotten around to publishing a PDF pattern for sale at Etsy if you find you need more detailed instructions along the way! It also has instructions for creating flaps on the top that close with Velcro rather than just tucking them in.

    https://www.etsy.com/listing/113178223/pattern-for-the-original-seatbelt-pillow

    Good Luck!! Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment!

  34. Sarah that is a brilliant idea!! SuperGirl is a very adept sleep-gymnast as well…so I totally know what you are saying!!

    Good luck!

  35. This is super cute, and we could totally use this. However, I have a question. For kids in a 5pt harness, I thought it was not safe to use the seatbelt over that?

  36. Thanks Elizabeth!

    You are correct and with the 5 point harness we just let SuperBaby hold onto the pillow and snuggle it. We sort of tucked it in next to his legs and his head when he was ready to sleep.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  37. Thank you so much for sharing this pattern! I am in the process of making my first one and just thought I’d share that I found the tabs to not be “long” enough *by 3″) to meet & fasten in the back with a firmly stuffed pillow. I didn’t discover this until after sewing the velcro onto the tabs so now it is seam ripper time :(

  38. Hi Jenn,
    Does the pattern you have for sale include instructions for the SuperMom/SuperDad versions of the pillow that you made? I’m interested in the adult version for my husband who is an avid car sleeper on our longer (and even some of the not so long) car rides.

    Thanks!

  39. Laurie,

    The pattern on Etsy is only for children. HOWEVER… I’m finishing up one for teens/adults right now and I’ll have it up hopefully tomorrow night or Wed morning! When I threw one together for us … it was just that… so I’ve worked out more comfortable dimensions and a few other instructions that will make it great! It will be for sale for the same price, $7. I’m not sure if I’ll have DIY kits up for that or not, I’ll have to see what the demand is :)

    I will email you at the email from your comment when I list the pattern!

  40. Hello,

    I came across this on Pinterest. I love to sew and I love personalizing things and sewing projects such as this seatbelt one.

    However, I have attended more than one car seat safety infomational meetings held by car seat safety technicians and they always say the same thing:

    Never alter, add or change anything on a car seat. Use it and only the parts that were manufactured with the car seat.

    Mainly because that is the way the car seat was crash tested and doing anything to it could compromise the seat’s ability to work effectively.

    I hope you consider the safety of others and hope you remove this post from your website so others don’t make their car seats unsafe.

    I know that was not your intention, as I can see by other wonderful things you post about.

    Thank you for considering my comment :)

  41. Ana,

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by and leave a comment sharing your concerns. I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to share respectfully with me on my blog.

    You are not the first to comment with concerns about the safety of these pillows and I have addressed those concerns several times over throughout the comments section. Having had plenty of training myself and having talked with local safety officials I believe these are safe for my children to use as I have designed them. These are in no way attached to a manufactured child safety seat. They attach to the seat belt at points of void and the layer of fabric that Velcros between the belt and the child is thinner than most winter clothes my children own. The part of the pillow that contains stuffing and is, for all intensive purposes, the pillow, does not come between the child and the seat belt at any point in time.

    As always, I will state again that this is what I believe to be safe for my family and I encourage anyone who is considering making one that they wish to attach to the belt to consult their manufacturers manuals and any safety officials that they feel can help them come to a satisfactory decision. Of course, I have also suggested that anyone who would like to use the pillows without attaching them to the seat belt…but rather just to snuggle during the ride…. feel free to do so by simply not attaching any tabs.

    Thank you again for sharing your concerns, I appreciate sharing a space where the readers care about each other enough to share pertinent information.

  42. I think the long pillows are a great idea (as pictured with the child sitting in a 5 point harness) but it is NOT a good idea to use over the actual seat belt. In fact, it’s just plain dangerous! Nothing should be placed over the seat belt because it can interfere with the performance in an accident. I certainly hope no kids are seriously injured because of this idea. :(

  43. I think this is a really neat idea and we made something like this that didnt attach to the carseat for our trip last month. The kids loved them and so I made hubby and I one for the car as well. They are awesome! I saw the same type of pillow at Walmart for like 12.00 and with cost of material and everything my version came out to about 6.00 and it truly with a 2000 mile trip these pillows were lifesavers. Kids need something comfy on long trips and with some modifications, these are definitely a winner. Now that we are home the pillows double into something we can cuddle up with on the couch to watch TV. Truly a neat idea and dont listen to the negative blah blah comments about these because kids need comfort when they are in a car on a long trip and these are definitely winners!!!

  44. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing this idea. We always seem to live at least a 5 hour drive from my parents or in-laws (we’re a military family). My daughter always falls asleep and her head ends up flopped over uncomfortably and she hurts her neck. I made this pillow for our Thanksgiving drive, and she’s very excited. I found the shredded foam at JoAnn’s Fabric, just as an FYI for other readers looking to make their own.

  45. Thank you so much! I just made 2 of these for my daughters! I bought a remnant of fleece and had left over poly fill so both pillows cost me about $1 too make! Your directions were perfect!

  46. I’m so glad to hear that, Shannon! I hope your daughters love the pillows as much as my kids do!

  47. Thanks, Sarah!!

  48. IS THIS PATTERN DOWNLOADED?

  49. You can purchase the PDF pattern in my Etsy store: SuperJennCreations. I also sell DIY kits with pre-cut fabrics + the pattern and fully assembled pillows.

  50. your son isnt buckled correctly, the buckles on his chest would move up much more then they are , an you should have a car seat inspector make sure these are safe, i read they are not safe to use in a carseat.

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