INFLATABLE CHILD SEAT: Volvo has designed a light and inflatable rearward-faced child seat concept. Image: Volvo
LONDON, England - Volvo has designed a light and inflatable rearward-faced child seat concept.
Gallery: Volvo 50 years of child safety
Video: Inflatable child seat concept
Volvo said the seat "is safe, easy to pack and carry and will enable parents to use it in many situations not practical with the seats on the market today".
Volvo design manager, Lawrence Abele, said: “For me child safety is always the number one priority and when we lived abroad with two toddlers we had to haul bulky child seats through airports and then into taxis.”
INFLATES IN 40 SECONDS
The seat uses an innovative pump system and inflates/deflates in less than 40 seconds. The total weight of the seat is less than 5 kg.
According to Volvo: "It fits into a weekend bag together with other necessities for your child."
Unique drop-stitch fabrics
Volvo project manager, Maria Hansson, said: “We used a material called drop-stitch fabric when creating the prototype of the seat. This fabric is very strong when inflated as it can be brought to a very high internal pressure.”
According to Volvo, a child's neck is not as strong as an adults and as a result its child seat faces the rear of the car.
In a front collision, passengers are thrown forward putting strain on the neck. Child seats need special restraints to face the rear of the vehicle until at least three to four years of age.
Lawrence said: "It would be better for all of us to travel facing the rear but cars are not designed this way.”
50 YEARS OF CHILD SAFETY
We list some important milestones in Volvo’s childsafety history:
1964: First child seat prototype
Inspired by how astronauts travel rearwards, Bertil Aldman, medical doctor and subsequently Professor of Traffic Safety at Chalmers University of Technology, developed the first child seat prototype. Volvo was involved in the development and testing was carried out in a PV544.
1967: Reversible front passenger seat with child backrest
The first child seat to be sold to customers was created by turning the front passenger seat around. Adding a padded backrest with straps made sure that the rearward-facing child was kept in place. The solution was sold as an accessory for the Volvo Amazon.
1972: Volvo’s first rearward-facing child seat
Rearward-facing child seats are designed to support the neck and help spread the force of a frontal impact over a larger area. Frontal impacts are the most frequent and usually the most severe impact situation.
1976: The booster cushion – a world first from Volvo
Children from three to four years travel facing forwards using standard safety belt with a belt-positioning booster cushion. Volvo's policy is that children should use a booster cushion until they are 140cm tall and ten-years-old. When using a booster cushion, the child runs an approximately 75% lower risk of being injured compared to being unrestrained.
1990 World’s first integrated booster cushion
The first integrated booster cushion was an ingenious fold down and out version in the rear-centre position in the Volvo 960. Double integrated pop-up booster cushions in the outer rear seats were introduced in the Volvo S40 in 1995.
1999: World’s first rearward-facing seat for ISOFIX
The world-first solution for the standardised, car-integrated Isofix fittings was actually two rearward-facing seats in one. Both seats – one for infants and one for toddlers up to four years of age – could be fitted in the same Isofix frame.
2007: World’s first two-stage integrated booster cushion
Two-stage integrated booster cushions were introduced in the Volvo V70 estate. The two-stage version, with two sitting heights, enables a better belt fit regardless of the child’s size. Child adapted safety belt load limiters were also fitted.
2014: Inflatable Child Seat Concept
The innovation, which is still in the development stage, is easy to install and can be tucked away in a small bag when not in use. This means that the child seat can be easily transferred between cars and the bag even fits in carry-on luggage when flying or travelling.