The saying “necessity is the mother of invention” couldn’t be more fitting for.
Jinah Kim-Perek, a Los Angeles-area TV reporter-turned-mompreneur. Kim-Perek, a part-time correspondent for NBC News, conjured up her invention, the NIKO Easy-Wash Children’s Car Seat Cover, after a day at the beach with her then 2-year-old son Niko.
He was covered in wet sand. She wanted to put a towel on his car seat to prevent sand from getting into the crevices. Getting the car seat wet could cause mold to grow. Kim-Perek scoured stores for child car seat covers that worked like fitted sheets for beds. But nothing had all of the features she wanted. So she decided to make it herself.
After nearly three years of developing the NIKO Easy-Wash Children’s Car Seat Cover and searching for the right manufacturer, Kim-Perek launched it on Kickstarter May 1.
The campaign is already 70% funded thanks to 143 backers. Considering three weeks remain in the campaign, it’s pretty certain she will reach her fundraising goal — a feat achieved by only 36% of projects on the platform. Kim-Perek thanks the backers most beautifully in this video on Facebook:
The patent-pending and lab-tested NIKO is pre-selling on Kickstarter at a special low price of $39 each or $68 for two. Those who would like to become a reseller can buy 100 units for 2,000 or $20 each. There are numerous pledge levels in between.
The NIKO can be easily washed and reused again and again. It takes mere seconds to put it on the car seat and take it off. Unlike other kids’ car seat covers on the market, the NIKO features:
- A lined, waterproof underside to protect the car seat from liquid spills and potty-training accidents.
- Two pockets on each side for storage and cup-holder openings.
- Super-strong elastic to fit most child car seats
- Universal harness openings
- Double-stitched seams
- Ultra-soft yet durable fabrics in a variety of playful patterns and textures
Why Kim-Perek invented the NIKO
Parents expect their child’s car seat to protect them — heaven forbid — in case of an accident. Ironically, the car seat itself could endanger the child. Car seats could be dirtier than toilets, according to a study by the University of Birmingham. Scientists found twice as many germs in child car seats — about 100 potentially harmful fungi and bacteria. It shouldn’t be a surprise considering all the park play dates, diaper blowouts and spilled food.
A Maxi-Cosi study found that parents only wash car seats a few times a year. No one would fault them for unknowingly letting kids sit in their own filth. The number of loops, holes and attachments makes it nearly impossible to remove the manufacturer’s car seat cover. Reassembling it is just as difficult. Even worse, car seat manufacturers call for hand washing and line drying their covers to prevent shrinkage.
If parents want to keep children safe, they must clean the car seat often. And the Niko Car Seat Cover is the easiest way to keep car seats clean. It takes only 10 seconds put on and three seconds to take off. Its waterproof bottom protects the car seat from spills and potty accidents. It’s machine washable and dryer safe. In the same way, people have at least two sheet sets — one to use and one to wash — parents should have two NIKO Car Seat Covers.
The Niko comes in soft, gorgeous fabrics and is light enough to car in a diaper bag or purse. It’s exactly what parents need if their kids have to ride in car seat from a car rental company. Lord only knows what kinds of creepiness lurks in those crevices.
Kim-Perek is currently a part-time correspondent for NBC News in Los Angeles, reporting primarily for NBC News Channel and MSNBC. She is also the owner and executive producer of WorldWise Productions (www.WWPVideo.com), a video production company specializing in education, training and marketing videos for corporate and healthcare clients. She’s also an inventor, having created several patent-pending commercial products.
She is a past president of the Asian American Journalists Association’s Los Angeles chapter and San Diego chapter. She also sits on numerous national boards and mentors aspiring journalists, filmmakers and entrepreneurs. She was co-chair of two national AAJA conventions. She is frequently featured as a guest speaker and emcee at dozens of major events in Southern California throughout the year.
Jinah was born in Seoul, South Korea and immigrated to the U.S. with her family when she was six. She grew up in the Los Angeles area and attended UCLA, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa, with a BA in English Literature.
Jinah’s journalism career began with her high school newspaper, then the Daily Bruin at UCLA. She got her first full-time job at KTLA in Los Angeles while still finishing her last year at UCLA. She has also produced in Monterey, reported and anchored in Salinas, San Diego and Denver. Jinah has won numerous prestigious national and regional awards for her work as a journalist.
Jinah has a passion for languages and speaks, reads and writes Korean, German and Spanish.
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