Volvo invents blow-up child seats

This sounds more like an April Fools joke than anything else, but Volvo is pretty serious, and, given their history, they don’t mess around when it comes to safety. The designs you see above are in the concept stage, but when ickle Jimmy needs to go for a ride in Granny’s car, this is going to be a hell of a lot easier to carry around when compared to negotiating what may become the car seats of yesteryear.

Volvo Inflatable Child Seat Concept: three stages

Volvo hints at the advantages posed not just for traveling to the in laws, but, for instance, in taxis, rental cars or buses. For some of us, having children is an absolute must not, but for those inclined to acquire a noisy, sticky and expensive bundle of love, don’t get one of these inflatable seats just yet. Volvo may be quite up on safety, but their press release mentions nothing of washability. Until I’ve had an ‘accident’ and Volvo makes one of these that can go into the washing machine, I’m not buying it. For more info, check out their press release below.

-By: Sawyer Sutton

Volvo Cars unveils the revolutionary Inflatable Child Seat Concept and explores the future of child protection

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 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.

Inflates in 40 seconds
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 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 together with other necessities for your child.

Unique drop-stitch fabrics

“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 in Los Angeles.

Rear-faced safest

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 strain 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.”


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Sawyer Sutton

Sawyer Sutton is a long-time Vermonter and lover of cars, big machinery, and photography. These are his words on cars as Senior Editor of egmCarTech.

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