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Q&A: David Sandgren - Father-of-2 & Founder of TinySeats

It is oft said that necessity is the mother of invention, and father-of-two David Sandgren exemplifies that as the founder of an innovative car seat, TinySeats. After his son outgrew his infant carrier, David found it impossibly difficult to find a car seat that was safe, lightweight, portable, easy to install and which would be suitable for his children as they grew up.

Faced with an issue like this, there was only one thing to do: solve it.

Passionate about creating the only car seat that parents on-the-go will ever need for their little ones aged 9 months to 7 years old, David juggles TinySeats development, a full-time job, and family duties with aplomb.

Read on to find out how this superdad does it!

Can you tell us more about how TinySeats came about?

Our vision has always been to keep more children safe on the road. Our research has found that the best way to do that is to make car seat usage convenient for parents without compromising on safety.

We wanted to make a seat that was quick to install and remove, and yet portable and safe.

Most commercially available car seats are safe, and many are portable to some extent. What’s the TinySeats difference?

The secret is in TinySeats’ 3-in-1 convertibility! A lot of time and money is spent on hunting for and buying new car seats as children grow, but TinySeats integrates rear-facing, forward-facing and booster seat configurations into one to offer optimal safety for children. We also use International Standards Organisation Fix (ISOFIX) connectors that make installation very simple – you can install and remove TinySeats in just under a minute.

Imagine having a seat that would be able to meet the changing needs of your growing child, and which is portable, compact and easy to install. That’s the TinySeats difference

How did you start bringing your idea to life?

TinySeats is imagined by parents and designed by experts.

Together with François Marechal, my business partner and nuclear scientist by trade, we worked closely with an award-winning British product consultancy that has over 27 years’ experience and developed close to 100 child restraint systems to create TinySeats.

How would you describe the experience?

Challenging, but also rewarding. When we first started developing this concept in 2016, we were met with many setbacks. Our first iteration was even rejected by the certification agency, but we pressed on. Now, TinySeats is designed to exceed European regulatory standards R44/04, and we have conducted sophisticated computer-simulated crash tests to ensure the safety and durability of TinySeats.

That sounds like a difficult process. What motivated you to continue with it?

Without a doubt, my family. Knowing that TinySeats would be able to keep my children, as well as countless others safe is reason enough for me to continue refining this idea.

From my personal experiences and the positive responses of the fellow parents I spoke to, I knew there was a real need for such a car seat in the market.

It also helps that I’ve always enjoyed tinkering with things, especially woodwork. I love designing, building and restoring furniture.

Having lived in both Sweden and Singapore, what do you find to be the biggest difference between the two countries when it comes to car seat usage?

From my experience, car seat usage seems to be more common in Europe than in Singapore, though both Europe and Singapore have laws requiring the use of car seats. That being said, the parents I’ve spoken to, European and Singaporean alike, share the same frustrations when it comes to finding a safe, portable and convenient car seat that also fits their lifestyle and travel needs.

What kind of dad are you?

Well, it depends on who you ask! But in all seriousness, I try my best to spend as much time as I can with my family and to keep to my routines with my children. Every morning, I send my son, Jakob, to school, and in the evening, I play with them before helping to get them ready for bedtime.

I want my children to know that they can always count on me, and I want to be a role model for them. To this end, I try to instil important key values in them, such as integrity, pride and respect.

What’s one tip you have for parents who travel with their children?

Be consistent with car seat usage. Starting young and being consistent gets children used to the idea that no car seat means no car rides, that car seats are absolutely a necessity, no compromises, even in situations that might seem inconvenient, such as short taxi rides, holidays, or in cars with caregivers or grandparents.

And while some ride-hailing services may be able to provide car seats, they’re not required to do so by law. My advice would be to ensure that you have a car seat with you when you travel.

What’s your ideal day out with your children?

I love doing things outside with the kids – whether it’s just playing in the park or going on a little adventure. I could never have imagined before becoming a father how the small things in life, such as jumping up and down in a puddle, could be so much fun when you’re with a kid.

If I knew, I would have become a dad a lot earlier!

Any future plans for TinySeats?

TinySeats is now available for purchase through our Indiegogo campaign, and we’re looking forward to producing the first batch of TinySeats. We’re also working on a TinySeats Travel Range and other useful accessories, which will make traveling even more convenient for parents.

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