Volvo has introduced a revolutionary inflatable child seat concept that may be a game-changer in terms of protecting kids in cars.
The seat inflates in less than 40 seconds and deflates with an integrated pump. The seat can be remotely inflated via Bluetooth. It weighs less than 11 pounds, about half the weight of most seats on the market today.
"It fits into a weekend bag together with other necessities for your child," Volvo officials said earlier this month.
Coming up with an easy-to-use child car seat that encourages use has been a concern for automakers and safety advocates. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says three out of every four car seats are not used correctly. Vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death for children ages 1-13, federal safety regulators say.
"Children's car seats are historically bulky, hard to move and tedious to mount," said Volvo. "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."
The company calls the concept "an ultra mobile child seat." The technology is the same that is used by the boating industry and the military for inflatable crafts.
Edmunds says: There is no word yet on when this seat will be available, but you can bet that Volvo — a safety pioneer — is considering how to get it into the hands of parents and other caregivers.
Who knows how far this could go? NHTSA just might mandate that all rental cars must offer them and one day we may see the inflatable seat tucked into the trunk of every passenger vehicle sold in the U.S.