Volvo, world reknown for being the vanguard of automotive safety and technology, has announced a new Inflatable Child Seat Concept which will provide parents a lightweight, rear-facing, inflatable car seat that is easy to use, easy to carry, and does not sacrifice safety.
Weighing just 11 pounds (half the weight of traditional child seats), Volvo’s new lightweight car seat can be deflated and stowed in an easy-to-tote backpack when not in use. The seat can be inflated and deflated in just 40 seconds automatically using a built-in air pump.
The inflatable car seat is constructed of a special drop stitch fabric, originally designed by the military and commonly used in boat construction. The material allows the seat to be inflated to a high pressure ensuring that it is strong enough to protect a child in the event of a collision.
The conceptual inflatable innovation can be remotely inflated and deflated by parents utilizing Bluetooth technology. There are other functions which the Bluetooth connection will provide although Volvo is currently not disclosing what those may be. Many child safety experts are speculating that one of the functions may include some sort of sensor which will ensure that a child is not left in a vehicle unattended.
Although companies such as EasyCarSeat have offered inflatable car seats to the public for the past few years, they were limited in that that could only be used while facing forward. The rear-facing design introduced by Volvo is significant because the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children under the age of two are secure only in rear-facing car seats when traveling in a car.
Dr. Dennis Durbin, MD, FAAP, the head author of the AAP policy statement on car seat recommendations, explains, “A rear-facing child safety seat does a better job of supporting the head, neck and spine of infants and toddlers in a crash, because it distributes the force of the collision over the entire body.”
Dr. Durbin adds, “The ‘age 2’ recommendation is not a deadline, but rather a guideline to help parents decide when to make the transition. Smaller children will benefit from remaining rear-facing longer, while other children may reach the maximum height or weight before 2 years of age.”
Thus far, Volvo has not yet announced whether they plan to bring their inflatable car seat to market. They did, however, release a video of the car seat extolling the virtues of their innovative concept.