13 January 2006

Bungee cord a DVD player during road trips

Dan sez:

When we were planning a 10-hour car trip, we were looking for things to keep our 1 year-old busy. He had just become a fan of Bob the Builder, so we thought we'd try videos. Our car doesn't have a DVD player built-in, so we just bought a cheap one for $150 on Amazon [Amazon no longer offers the one Dan bought, so I'm linking to the least expensive portable DVD with similar features. -- Ed.]. We used a bungee cord to strap it to the back of the seat in front of him. The model we got (by Polaroid) has a screen that can swivel 180 degrees, so we could turn the side with the buttons away from our son, so he couldn't accidentally kick them. Worked like a charm, and he actually had a fun ride. Can we fix it? Yes we can. (Sorry, couldn't resist.)

Oh, great. Now I have that infernal song stuck in my head.

My only caution would be to make sure the bungee cord is rigged good and tight. Having stuff loose in the car is dangerous in the event of an accident.

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For what it's worth if anyone is in the market for a portable DVD player, Wal-Mart has an Emerson 7" dual screen unit for $150 (in-store only I think...) all of the function buttons are on the first screen so it can be controlled by the parents (or older sibling) and the other strapped to the back of the seat for the younger one. We got one for Christmas, and now can't even drive across town without the kids wanting to watch a movie...

I've actually found it preferrable to have the kids watch DVDs from my laptop rather than a portable DVD player. My boys are old enough to operate a computer responsibly, so YMMV. The upside is that the screen is twice the size of any portable DVD player, and they can play games on the machine when they're not watching movies.

I gotta say that bungee cords anywhere near baby's line of sight would worry me a bit, cuz if one of those things comes loose it's going flying - not even the DVD player which will just drop the ground, I'm talking about the cord itself shooting across the van. I'd be much more comfortable with something in the velcro family.

My daughter did not get an in-van DVD until she was over 3, and could hold it in her lap. Her sister was less than a year at the time of our last trip so she was content to just turn her head and watch what he sister was watching. It remains strictly for vacations, I am NOT getting into the "movie every time we go to the store" routine.

As a parent as well as a marketer, I have to say that the company I work for has a pretty good solution for the bungee cord problem. The product is called the Mo-Go and it's a portable DVD player mount that fits between the headrests. I use it and so far have had no issues. The only catch is the headrests have to be adjustable. It's worked for me and might for you. You can check it out at http://www.digitalinnovations.com/products.php?id=55&checkCat=7&cat2=7&sub2=

If this doesn't work for you, you can always try my husband's favorite solution to everything - Duct Tape!

Cool idea but I have twins so I have to find a way to secure the player between them so they can both see. We're planning a first long trip with them in a couple of months so this has been on my mind. They get zero television in the home so I think this will work very well as a distraction on the four drive coming up.

I did do this with a laptop for them once but securing it in our Taurus wagon was a pain.

We have a Honda Odyssey and dh solved the "two kids, one dvd" problem with velcro. Get the heavy duty kind and stick the fuzzy side to the bottom of the dvd player and the hook side to the tray between the big people seats. Add in a splitter and two headphones and you have happy kids and two very happy parents

Regarding the safety of bungee cords: just use common sense.
1 - make sure the cord is NEW
2 - get the correct length you need (it should wrap around the headrest to make a snug fit, yet not be over-stretched)
3 - make sure you get quality hooks. The ones we bought have long, strong hooks on them.

We affix one hook to one pole of the headrest, wrap it around the DVD player, then affix the other hook to the other pole. The result is a snug fit that is not dangerously tight but is still difficult to remove or kick free.

If in doubt, use duct tape. ;-)

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