We recently took a trip to Colorado for my brother-in-law’s wedding. Flying has become a luxury item for us – who can afford all those plane tickets for every trip you take?? We’ve traveled by car with the kids before, so we weren’t incredibly worried about the trip. The closer we got to leaving the more I worried – this drive was 12-14 hours long afterall!! So I paniced and bought a portable DVD player system. Specifically the Insignia Dual Screen Portable DVD Player. Now, I’m one of eight kids myself and have taken plenty of family vacations. I should have been able to handle the drive without such gadgets… but honestly, with tricks like that who would want to???
Entertainment baby!! Our system came with 2 screens so that we could have two rows of entertainment going on in the back of the car. And an added bonus – headphones!!! Yes, in today’s family drive you can entertain you children quietly! Note of caution – headphones do have the one pitfall that when watching Disney princess movies (and what little girl doesn’t watch those??) your daughter may spontaneously burst into song in the back of the car… and without the music backup, she may not sound quite like Sleeping Beauty. ;)
Our system also came with a remote control – meaning I could rewind, fastforward and pause all from my front seat. No dangerous climbing over the seats at 80 mph for those pesky little tasks!
Since we didn’t purchase the typical individual portable DVD player (which only sports one screen and for about the same price) we have to make due with the fact that this system isn’t so portable at all. It takes plug-in power only. It does have a car adapter (extremely handy), but no place for batteries. Which means that once you hit your destination and would like to continue keeping your kids quietly entertained (restaraunt, brother-in-laws wedding perhaps…) you cannot bring your newly found lifesaver with you unless you happen to find seats next to a plug.
One more pitfall – the cords. This system has cords-a-plenty. So many infact that little feet are almost sure to pull some of them out (it is of course the only part of your carseat-restrained child’s body that is mobil, can you blame them for kicking about??) forcing you to make that daredevil climb to the back of the care anyway. We tried several different configurations, none make this situation any better. Until they make a cordless model, this will just be part of the bargain.
Finally, I was disappointed when I opened the box and found out that the actual DVD player part was attatched to the main screen. So to change a movie mid-drive you’ll have to, again, climb into the back of the car. We found that by putting the main screen behind the driver seat the front passenger could precariously tilt their seat backwards and (if memorized the locations of everything) change the DVD without physically climbing in the back.
I’d have to say that despite the cons, we loved this gizmo beyond belief!! Our kids could watch their favorite shows for hours while we could have our adult conversations in the front uninterupted. I’m not typically a Mom who goes for tons of gadgets, but this is one I think any family should have if they’re planning a long car trip. These are not the days of our parents. Our children are far more confined in the car than we ever were making the drive so much harder on them. So if a movie will help get you to your destination without a total kid-crisis breakdown, go for it!!!