Every parent knows the importance of securing children in car seats. And every parent also knows what a pain these big, bulky seats can be to transport, especially when traveling away from home in an airplane or taxi.
Volvo, the automaker synonymous with safety that designed the first rear-facing child car seat 50 years ago, has come up with a solution. The Volvo Inflatable Child Seat Concept is “safe, easy to pack and carry,” allowing parents and caregivers to more conveniently use it in situations in which traditional car seats can be a hassle.
The Inflatable Child Seat Concept was created by Lawrence Abele, design manager at the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center in Los Angeles. Of course, Abele is also a father, and after spending time traveling with his two kids and their car seats, he thought there had to be a better way.
“When we lived abroad with two toddlers, we had to haul bulky child seats through airports and then into taxis,” Abele said in a statement from Volvo. “For many, traveling with young children is a challenge; any assistance to simplify the parents’ life with young children is a great thing.”
It might also make it simpler for grandparents, caregivers and friends who may need to transport kids and may not own or always have access to traditional car seats.
Weighing about half of a traditional car seat, the Inflatable Child Seat Concept can be inflated or deflated with an integrated pump in less than 40 seconds, according to Volvo. When deflated and folded, the seat “fits into a weekend bag together with other necessities for your child,” Volvo added. The seat is also Bluetooth enabled and “constantly online . . . enabling a wide range of features, including remote controlled inflation.”
The prototype seat is made of a material called drop-stitch fabric that can withstand high internal pressure and is also very rigid. “It is a quite common technology in the boating industry and was originally developed by the military in an effort to develop inflatable airplanes,” Maria Hansson, project manager at Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center, said. Volvo also designed inserts for the Inflatable Child Seat Concept using different textiles and colors so parents can personalize the seats.
“The goal was to design a seat as safe, or safer, than anything on the market right now,” said Abele. “But second to that I want everyone, including kids, to be exposed to great design every day.”
Originally published by MSN Autos