Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles has designed a lightweight and inflatable rearward-faced child seat concept which is easy to pack and carry and will enable parents to use it in many situations such as when travelling by taxi, rental car or bus.
Design Manager Lawrence Abele, 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, travelling with young children is a challenge; any assistance to simplify the parents’ life with young children is a great thing.”
The concept presents new opportunities, for example grandparents and friends who take care of kids and need an ultra mobile child seat. It is also very convenient , situations where you historically had to rely on the safety measures available.
The seat has an innovative pump system that is silent and efficient in its construction. The seat inflates in less than 40 seconds and deflates with an integrated pump.
The total weight of the seat less than 5 kg, half the weight of a conventional seat, and it is constantly online via Bluetooth enabling a wide range of features, including remote controlled inflation. it fits into a weekend bag.
Maria Hansson, Project Manager at Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles, explains: “We used a unique 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. It is a quite common technology in the boating industry and was originally developed by the military in an effort to develop inflatable airplanes.”
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.