One of our regular readers, Jason, sent us a great tip for making your own contraption for holding a portable DVD player to the back of the car seat. We just love this idea and will be using it ourselves! Thanks, Jason!
While I am not a big fan of mobile DVD systems, long car trips are rough on little kids without some form of entertainment to occupy them. When we bought our Honda Pilot, we were simply unwilling to pay an extra $1500 for a built-in system. We didnâ€™t think weâ€™d use it that much and we figured we could buy a portable setup for a lot less.
As Christmas travel approached, we started looking at the various cases that you can buy to strap a DVD player to the back of your car seat. None of them seemed like a good choice because they were either too bulky or didnâ€™t fit the player well. We borrowed one from some friends that opens at 90 degrees as if you might use it sitting on your lap. I could strap it to the back of the seat but my daughter loves to push buttons, so having the bottom half of the player folded out right in front of her like a shelf with fun things to push wasnâ€™t going to work. I began looking for a way to mount the unit to the seat while opened flat.
A couple months earlier, I had bought a set of Kwik Twists at Lowe’s. I am a total junkie when it comes to shop tools and organizational goodies, so I canâ€™t make a trip to Lowe’s without buying something. Kwik Twists are like long, thick, foamy twist ties. They have a metal wire inside to help them keep their shape when you bend them, but they are all foamy on the outside so you can pull them tight without scratching stuff. They just happened to be hanging in the aisle with organizational items and shelving and I couldnâ€™t resist them. I paid just under $10 for the set of two.
I was sitting in the back seat of the Pilot with the DVD player and the borrowed case trying to think of a way to make it work. I just happened to look up at my workbench in the garage and saw the Kwik Twists hanging there. The idea popped in my head that I could use the twists to strap the player to the seat (Fig.1)!
I love it when a plan comes together. It took me all of about five minutes to make this one work. Once you get the hang of it, you can install the player in even less time. Here are the steps to install your portable DVD player into your car using a pair of Kwik Twists.
First, take a twist and put it around the head rest in front of you like you are going to strangle the person in the seat. Pull it back snugly between the seat and the head rest, then bend the ends straight down. Bend the very tips back up to form little hooks. The edge of the player will sit down in these hooks (Fig.2).
Next, open your DVD player flat and sit the bottom down in the hooks that you formed with the twists (Fig 3). Our DVD player will not open flat with the battery attached so we have to use the power adapter when we rig this up, but thatâ€™s OK! Be sure that the hooks donâ€™t obstruct the door or the buttons – just spread them out to make room. And be careful here as youâ€™ll probably have to keep a hand or an elbow on the player if it wonâ€™t stand up in the hooks by itself.
Now, take the second twist and wrap it the other way, bracing the center of the player with it and folding the ends around the head rest in front of you (Fig 4). The head rests on the Pilot are fixed, so I can just tuck the ends between the head rest and the seat for a snug fit. I bend the excess back around to keep it from poking the person who will be sitting in this seat (Fig 5).
Iâ€™ve done this setup in our Accord, too, where the head rests move and do not sit so firmly against the seat. In that case, you might have to fold the ends of the twist around to the front of the seat and actually tie them together to stay in place. With a little effort, you can find a way to tie them and shove them up between the head rest and the seat so that they are out of the way of the passenger in front.
Now comes the best part. Since the twists are flexible, you can grab the sides of the DVD player and move it around a little to get it lined up straight. It seems like I never get the hooks on the first twist in exactly the same shape, so I have to push the player down on one side or the other to straighten it up. But, the twists happily assume the new shape that you push them into, so all is well!
Finally, pick out one of your favorite DVDs and load it up. Finding Nemo, Cinderella, and Mickey Mouse Clubhouse are all suitable candidates. Strap your child in and let the good times roll! If they can handle headphones, you might even get to listen to your own music instead of the movie. Hand the remote control to your spouse and have them practice the patented aim-around-the-back-and-hit-play move. Most importantly, when you pass a huge Suburban or Sequoia on the road with the built in DVD system that the owner paid big bucks for, slide right up next to them so they can see your custom rig and get all jealous.