With all the advances in occupant safety that has been going on with automobiles, I actually rarely hear about any significant developments when it comes to child safety in transportation. You see, seats and seatbelts are built for adult bodies, and coupled with the fact that children are generally more fragile than adults, there can be plenty that can go wrong when we get into an accident.
We’ve seen plenty of improvement to stroller design in the past – strollers like the Babyzen Yoyo are now extremely portable and you can even bring them onto a flight and store it neatly in the overhead baggage storage. This is great for the traveling parent.
But when you get to your destination, you might need to grab a taxi. Actually given that some cities are relying more and more on public transport rather than individual cars, you might have to bring your child around in a taxi even when you are not travelling.
Unfortunately child seats are huge and heavy. Have you ever heard of an ultra portable child seat? There is no such thing. How do you lug it to a taxi and then bring it with you around the whole day? That could soon change with this new gadget, the Volvo Inflatable Child Seat Concept.
Volvo has designed a ightweight and inflatable rearward-facing child seat concept. It is designed to be safe, easy to pack and carry and will enable parents to use it in many situations not practical with the child seats on the market today.
The fact that it’s rear facing is great as that 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 strain on the neck. Children therefore should face the rear of the vehicle until at least 3-4 years of age.
The small pack shown on the right side of the image can be inflated to a proper child seat in less than 40 seconds using an integrated pump. The total weight of the seat less than 5 kg, half the weight of a contemporary seat, and it is constantly online via Bluetooth enabling a wide range of features, including remote controlled inflation. It fits into a weekend bag along with your child’s other necessities.
“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”, says Maria Hansson, Project Manager at Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center.