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Star Kids Products Snack and Play Travel Tray Review

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Imagine driving a vehicle with atleast one small child strapped in a car seat behind you.  The child is reading a book or playing with a doll and suddenly it drops to the floor of the car.  The child desperately wants that item but cannot reach it due to the safety restraints, so the child begins to cry and whine, pleading for you to help which you cannot safely do because you are driving. The Snack and Play Travel Tray by Star Kids Products is designed to help reduce the likelihood of the above situation occurring.  The idea for the Snack and Play Travel Tray comes from a mother of two, Alyson Probst.  I am sure she, not unlike any other parent, has experienced the situation described above.  Unlike the majority of parents though, she decided to put her entrepreneurial inventiveness to good use in developing this product.

I know with Spring and Summer approaching, alot of people will be taking longer trips with their little ones, so lets see how if this product deserves to be consider.

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SPECIFICATIONS/OVERVIEW:

  • Strap buckles around car seat, stroller, or child
  • Foam insert collapses on impact
  • Padded rim keeps toys and snack on the travel tray
  • Two mesh side pockets
  • Sturdy nylon fabric
  • Dimensions:
    • Tray area 10″ x 15″
    • Side walls 2″ deep
  • Weight:  1 lb.
  • Fabric contents:
    • Cover:  100% nylon
    • Filler: polyurethane foam
    • Mesh:  100%  polyester
  • Crash tested
  • Certified lead-free
  • Awards:
    • National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA Honors)
    • Mother of Invention – 2006 Whirlpool Brand Mother of Invention Grant – First Place Winner
    • iParenting Media Aware – Winner

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The item is nicely packaged in a convenient and simple, clear plastic zippered bag.  Opening the bag, I find the tray, the strap, a single-page press release from Star Kids Products and that is about it.  Not much to it.  No instructions, which to me, implies ease of use.

The nicely size tray (10″ x 15″) is completely covered in a navy blue nylon material.  Nylon is a great choice to cover this tray because it provides durability and it is extremely easy to clean.  Clean-ability and durability, if everything I owned would meet those two requirements, my life would be easier.  Over the course of this review, the Snack & Play Tray has nicely collected tons of snack crumbs and a fair amount of milk without incident.

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The tray is entirely filled with polyurethane foam, which has two huge advantages:  1) the tray is extremely pliable and 2) it weighs practically nothing (1 pound).  Safety of the product was my biggest initial concern,  specifically during a vehicle crash.  The foam is utilized because it will easily collapse upon impact.

The label in the package includes the following comment about the crash test.

“The Snack & Play Tray was crash tested at a federally recognized laboratory and passed the FMVSS (Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards) 213 requirement.”

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards 213 is the standard that specifies requirements for child restraint systems.

Just because the tray will easily collapse under impact, does not mean you are completely off the hook.  You still need to consider the toys your child will be playing with while using the tray.  Not allowing sharp, pointed, hard objects that could become harmful projectiles in an accident.

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Regardless of how soft and safe the tray is, if you have brick or a knife on it, nothing good will come from it if an accident occurs.  Extreme, I know, because no child will have a brick or a knife on the tray but you get the point.

Installing the Snack & Play Tray is a snap, actually it’s two snaps.  A strap with two hard plastics buckles, one at each end, easily slips around the back of the car seat and accepts the buckle slide-ins attached to the tray straps.  The great thing about utilizing a buckle at opposite ends of the strap is that you can just leave the strap not attached to the tray in position, making on-going installation simpler.  We ran the strap behind my youngest daughter’s car seat once and then just unbuckled the tray and stored it away when she did not want to use it.

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The tray has 2″ high foam side walls on three of four sides, which are  great to help contain toys and snacks on the flat surface.  The side that sits closest to the child’s stomach does not have a wall and is cut out for an ergonomic fit.  Unfortunately the lack of the wall on this side did lead to some objects falling into my daughter’s lap and on a few occasions she was unable to get them because they were under the tray.

Side flaps with two polyester mesh pockets per side nicely hang down on each side of the car seat, providing storage that is accessible to the child.  Each side has a small pocket and a larger one, roughly double the size.  When installed, on the right side (child’s perspective) the smaller pocket is closest while on the left side it is farthest from the child.

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The pockets have elastic at the top that helps keep objects inside.  These pockets can hold drinks, snacks, books, toys and miscellaneous items within reach of the kid which is nice.

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In conclusion, I was pleasantly surprised with the Snack and Play Travel Tray by Star Kids Products.  When first approached about the product, I was expecting nothing more than a cheap gimmick exploiting parents need to keep their children happy while traveling.

I found the tray to be a well constructed, easy to clean and safe product that fills a need of every parent traveling with a young child.  Compared to the majority of other products reviewed on this site, the tray is a simple, low/no tech solution but it works great at a inexpensive price.

I would highly recommend the Snack and Play Travel Tray by Star Kids Products.  I know that we are planning on taking it with us on our trip to Florida this summer.  Hopefully it will help keep our 3-year old occupied.

 

Product Information

Price:$19.95
Manufacturer:Star Kids Products
Pros:
  • Easy installation.
  • Durable nylon material that is easy to clean.
  • Inexpensive price.
  • Safe to utilize (lightweight & piliable).
  • Storage pcokets.
Cons:
  • Missing side wall allows objects to fall off tray.

{ 14 comments… add one }

  • Mark April 29, 2009, 8:16 am

    thanks for the heads-up on this. I’ll be picking one of these up as soon as I can.

  • Andy Chen April 29, 2009, 10:47 am

    Could you elaborate what “missing side wall”? The product seems to have all 3 sides…?

    And does the tray surface remain flat? Yours seems to have a crease down the middle.

  • David Flowers April 29, 2009, 12:54 pm

    Forget the iPhone, forget the Storm, forget the Pre, this, this, this, is a must have for me!

  • Julie April 29, 2009, 1:05 pm

    @David I can’t believe you said “forget the Pre”… what is wrong with you???? ;)

  • David Flowers April 29, 2009, 1:15 pm

    Momentary lapse into a Utopia of not having to dig Cheezits out of my back seat anymore. My bad….

  • Julie April 29, 2009, 1:32 pm

    @David I’ll let it go… this time. :)

  • Ryan Preston April 29, 2009, 7:39 pm

    @ Andy regarding the “missing side wall” – the side that sits up against the child’s stomach does not have a side wall. The right, left and front (closest to the child’s knees) have 2″ walls. So occassionally a toy or crayon would fall under the tray next to my daughter’s stomach.

    Regarding the crease, yes it does appear there is a crease down the middle. Probably from folding it up and putting it in storage. The crease never seemed to affect my daughter’s ability to play or eat off the tray.

  • Andrew May 1, 2009, 6:25 pm

    I’m really happy to see a review like this. I’d like to see more like this on the site, as I hate going to the baby stuff ONLY blogs – I get cute overload too fast.

  • Tiphanie May 28, 2009, 10:56 am

    Quick question, all the photos show a car seat with flat “arm rests/sides” but my son’s car seat has curved “arm rests” making me think that the tray would not sit flat. Has anyone come across this problem?

  • Kristy December 28, 2009, 12:26 pm

    Thank you for such an in depth review, with pictures as well. Are you still happy with this product? I keep reading negative reviews, regarding the tray being too slanted/flimsy for coloring, eating, etc. We have the Britax Marathon, and it seems that most think the tray only works correctly with a booster. Your thoughts?

  • Ryan January 1, 2010, 10:14 am

    Kristy,
    Yes I am still happy with the product and we still use it today. It is alittle flimsy but it provides the support my now 4 year old needs without being a safety concern, in case of an accident.
    We have used it with both a 5-point harness car seat and a booster.
    I definitely think that I have gotten more then $20 out of it.

  • GLORIA LOPEZ February 27, 2010, 1:14 pm

    NOT ABLE TO FINE A STORE IN CORPUS CHRISTI TEXAS THAT CARRIES A SNACK & TRAY TRAVEL TRAY. CAN YOU HELP WITH A 1-800 NUMBER TO CALL SO I CAN ORDER IT OR IF YOU CAN TELL ME WHAT STORE IN CORPUS CHRISTI TEXAS CARRIES IT. OR HOW TO GO ABOUT IT TO ORDER IT THRU THE ENTERNET
    THANKS—GLORIA L.

  • Ryan Preston February 27, 2010, 9:43 pm

    Gloria,
    You can order this product from Amazon (www.amazon.com).
    Just search for “Star Kids Snack & Play” to find it.
    Hope this helps,
    Ryan

  • heidi June 1, 2010, 2:50 pm

    Does the car seat have to have arms?

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