Monday, September 10th, 2007
Review: Baby Mobile for Automobiles
Updated note: The company’s website is temporarily offline. You can order or ask questions by calling Up & Away’s toll-free line: 1-877-882-0863, accepting checks or PayPal.
The Auto Mobile by Up & Away, Inc. is a nifty dangling mobile for your car’s ceiling.
Car travel is pretty boring for a baby in a rear-facing car seat.
The Big Idea is that if you could somehow suspend a mobile above the
baby’s head, it would focus his attention and draw his interest.
"Visual stimulation" is what marketers call it.
Well, someone has finally thought of a way to do it, and it doesn’t
involve an adhesive, or heavy or bulky objects, or even batteries.
The Auto Mobile is comprised of light layered pieces of craft foam cut into familiar painted shapes. The review sample I haveâ€”which I requested from the manufacturer because I thought it would prove useful with our second child on the wayâ€”is called Garden Friends.
The mobile’s base is a smiling yellow, orange and pink sun with five objects hanging from it on 2-inch cordsâ€”a bee, butterfly, ladybug, flower and a dragonfly. The objects hang tilted at an angle, but are double-sided so that you get the full visual effect no matter your vantage point.
Other styles available include Barnyard Buddies (farm animals) and Galactic Pals (space/planets). Additionally, Galactic Pals glows in the dark, though I suppose given the gradual shift to darkness at sunset, you might need a flashlight to get a good glow. Driving through a tunnel in broad daylight would be cool though.
The mobile sticks to the roof of your car with five pieces of Micro Velcro. The Micro Velcro lies nearly flat, so flat that at first glance I thought the white circles on the backside of the mobile were double-sided stickers that I would need to peel and stick.
You don’t glue anything to the car roof because the roof’s interior (called headliner) is usually lined with fine felt-like fabric. Just slap the mobile up and it sticks. The instructions state, "The quality of headliner will differ between vehicles. Some headliners will require more pressure than others."
It stuck so well in our Subaru Legacy and Toyota Camry that I suggest removing it with two hands so you pull it off evenly.
After applying and adjusting the mobile about 10 times to my Subaru while jostling for a good photo, I noticed I could discern where the Velcro had been previously stuck to the roof because small fibers in the headliner were pulled loose. It was very light, but noticeable if you happen to be lying on your back in the backseat like I was. Meanwhile, I didn’t notice this effect in our Camry headliner. If you’re going to be swapping your mobile between two cars often, consider buying a second mobile instead.
The one thing that might improve the mobile would be a means of swapping out the dangling objects for new ones to keep things livelyâ€”it’s not possible because the cords are bonded to the danglies, stuck between layers of glued foam. The manufacturer suggests buying all three mobiles (priced at about $13 each).
All-in-all, the Auto Mobile is a welcome piece of baby gear I’m looking forward to using, particularly when transporting the baby alone, without mom or daughter to sit in the backseat making googly eyes. With our first child, we got seriously tired having one parent sit in the backseat to engage our daughter and keep her from crying. We hope the mobile will be a welcome diversion. It certainly gets moving when you open the car window a crack.