Volvo released a prototype of a rear-facing, inflatable child car seat this week that would revolutionize the industry and be a huge boon to families who travel frequently or don't own cars and live in small homes.
Here are some of the specs of Volvo's concept seat:
- inflates in about 40 seconds through a built-in pump
- weighs about 11 lbs.
- dimensions when deflated are around 18" x 20" x 8"
- accommodates children up to about 39" tall (average 3-4 year old)
- uses drop-stitch fabric developed by the military and commonly used in the boating industry
A car seat that is lightweight and portable would have a huge impact on many families who travel frequently whether by air or just by taxi as well as families who don't own a car and need to store a car seat in their home.
My family purchased our first car last year when our second child was born, but until then we kept our car seat above a cabinet. It was bulky and heavy to store and cumbersome to carry to a car (a rental or a friend's) and I know many urban families without cars who debate whether to buy one or not for this very reason. New York City, where I live, does not require car seats in taxi cabs, but many parents are too paranoid to take young children in them without a car seat, but it's usually not feasible to carry a car seat around with you to your destination. So, this type of inflatable seat addresses both of these problems and seems particularly targeted to the needs of urban or traveling families.
Will Volvo ever bring this concept to market?
Volvo press release: The Inflatable Child Seat Concept is a project focusing on the future needs of families and it will be continuously evaluated as we assess the possibilities for commercial production and retail.