We know rear-facing is safest. But lugging a heavy convertible seat around when traveling can be a chore. Many convertibles with high rear-facing limits can weigh 25 pounds or more! Volvo has a concept solution that weighs just over 10 lbs. and fits into a small bag. Do you like the BubbleBum inflatable booster for your older kid? Do you need something like that for your younger child? It’s just a concept right now, but check it out! Maybe you can buy one some day soon with your Volvo XC60, one of the safest vehicles on the road, according to both the IIHS and NHTSA for 2013-2014!
According to Volvo:
Children’s car seats are historically bulky, hard to move and tedious to mount. This is why Volvo Cars has designed a lightweight and inflatable rearward-faced child seat concept using groundbreaking technology. 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.
Lawrence Abele, Design Manager at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles and the designer behind the new seat, had his two children in mind while designing the concept seat: “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. For many, traveling with young children is a challenge; any assistance to simplify the parents’ life with young children is a great thing.”
The concept seat is as safe as anything on the market right now. It inflates in less than 40 seconds and the total weight of the seat is less than 5 kg, half the weight of a contemporary seat, and deflated it fits into a weekend bag together with other necessities for your child. The concept presents new opportunities, for example grandparents and friends who take care of your kids and need an ultra mobile child seat. It is also very convenient when travelling by taxi, rental car or bus, situations where you historically had to rely on the safety measures available.
“Our idea was to create a child seat concept that would be convenient for anyone to use anytime and for it to be compact to be able store it in small spaces. Children will find it more comfortable as the main structure is filled with air, which serves as a better and softer cushion than the traditional plastic molded child seats. It also has interchangeable inserts in a wide arrange of materials, which enables personalization”, Lawrence explains.
The Inflatable Child Seat Concept faces the rear of the car, as it is the safest way for children to travel. A child’s neck is under development and not as strong as an adult’s neck. In a frontal impact collision, the head of a forward-facing car occupant is thrown forward inducing great stain on the neck. Children therefore need special restraints and to face the rear of the vehicle until at least 3-4 years of age.
“Actually, it would be better for all of us to travel facing the rear but given how cars are designed nowadays it’s not feasible. Young children, however, can and should travel facing the rear of the car as long as possible“, says Lawrence.
“The goal was to design a seat as safe, or safer, than anything on the market right now but second to that I want everyone, including kids to be exposed to great design every day,” Lawrence ends.