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.

Photo of the baby mobile on the interior roof of a car as seen from just inside the passenger doorway.

The Garden Friends Auto (baby) Mobile in a Toyota Camry.

The Auto Mobile is comprised of light layered pieces of craft foam cut into familiar painted shapes. The review sample I have—which I requested from the manufacturer because I thought it would prove useful with our second child on the way—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 cords—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 lively—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.

Close-up of the backside of the mobile and the white circle of Micro Velcro.

Close-up of the backside of the mobile and a white circle of Micro Velcro.

Photo of a rear view car mirror depicted the low visual impact of the baby mobile.

The mobile occupies mostly sky in our rear view mirror. I didn’t find it distracting.

View of the Garden Friends mobile as seen from almost directly below.

Overhead, slightly angled view of the mobile as I lie on my back in the rear passenger foot area and the mobile hangs over the seating area of our Subaru Legacy.

Comments

6 Responses to “Review: Baby Mobile for Automobiles”

  1. phyllis@imabima says:

    this is super cute…but don’t you feel like you could make one yourself? we have a chiming mobile that we hang from the hook (for dry cleaning?) over the baby’s carseat and she loves it…i like the chiming noise it makes when i’m driving around…plus, we’ve hung another toy to the bottom of this one and she can reach that to make the chimes jingle even louder. that’s what she likes best, i think.

    September 10th, 2007 at 7:06 am

  2. AJ says:

    Could I make a foam mobile myself? Yes.

    Could I make as nice a mobile for under $19 ($13 with $6 shipping)? I don’t think so. If I’d bought it in a store without the shipping cost, forget it.

    I’ve not noticed Micro Velcro at craft stores before; I’ll have to look. I suspect the price of precut foam pieces, paint, cord and Micro Velcro would approach $19. And in my case, I would be pretty fuzzy on my idea and end up buying a lot of foam that doesn’t get used.

    I’ve heard more than once that making your own clothes is now more expensive than buying them because labor is cheap and retail fabric is expensive (unless maybe if you buy on sale and are adept as using every last scrap).

    If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, the enjoyment of the process of creating a mobile probably exceeds the cost issue. If not, the Auto Mobile is an easy solution.

    My wife could sew baby clothes, receiving blankets, etc. Does she? No way, for the usual reasons… time and money.

    September 10th, 2007 at 8:10 pm

  3. Sandra says:

    I agree with you – at first I thought, ‘Oh, I can make that!’, but it’s the time to do it that I don’t have – I’m concerned about the micro Velcro messing up my nice Cayenne though….

    September 11th, 2007 at 11:57 am

  4. AJ says:

    The instructions state, “Repeated applications and over use of Auto Mobiles could damage vehicle’s headliner.”

    I suspect when our due date approaches I’ll spring for the Galactic Pals and have one in both cars. I’m going to throw it up there and leave it. I’m not worried about it.

    September 11th, 2007 at 3:29 pm

  5. dani says:

    I bought this about 3 years ago for our son and it wouldn’t stay attached to the inside roof of our car. The attachments could be better. Though the length of the dangle wasn’t too annoying from a rear view mirror/driver perspective. Needless to say we got rid of it and bout something to keep him busy that went on the car seat and windows. This toy never made it out of our driveway, I was afraid it would fall on him while I was on the beltway!

    May 14th, 2008 at 8:35 pm

  6. Stacia says:

    I have purchased 2 of these in the past 4 years. I bought one for my first daughter and she loved it. Eventually she became older and when it fell down (on rare occasion) she’d get ahold of it and tore the pieces off. It does say to 18 mths… but I had just left it.
    So when I was pregnant with our second daughter I wanted another right away. They did not have the garden friends one I had the first time, so I got the barnyard friends. My baby LOVES it just as much as my first child. She giggles and coos at the animals. I am buying one for our infant nephew for his first Christmas. I would not hesitate to buy again. Just love it!

    October 27th, 2008 at 12:58 pm

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