Life with small children is difficult at the best of times but can only get harder when travelling is involved. You only have to watch parents at airports or in the car hire offices to realise the hoops they have to jump through and the volume of equipment that they must carry with them. I always wince when I see these families stumbling along with screaming kids and I don’t want to imagine what their views are of paying to put luggage in the hold.
Making Life Easier for Families
In practice there isn’t a great deal that can be done to make life easier for families on holiday but one new innovation could prove to be an important move in the right direction. Swedish car maker Volvo is working on an inflatable car seat for children that could be a much lighter and more portable option for parents than a conventional car seat.
The new seat will be reward facing and can be deflated to be packed away when not in use or for easy carriage. It then transform into a simple backpack. It will be small enough when deflated to be carry-on luggage on an aeroplane and will be a real boon for those who travel by taxi or who use hire cars.
Construction and Technology
The seat is still in development but will be fashioned from drop-stich fabric usually found in the boating industry which can withstand high internal pressures. The fabric was initially developed for the military in an effort to facilitate the building of an inflatable plane. The seat will inflate in less than 40 seconds and can easily be deflated again with the use of an integrated pump. It will weigh less than 5kg which is half the weight of most seats and will feature Bluetooth technology to enable inflation by remote control.
A History of Child Safety
Volvo has long been known for its innovations in child safety and is celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the first child seat prototype. The company developed the first rearward facing child seat, the booster cushion and the first rearward facing seat with ISOFIX fittings. The new inflatable seat could prove to be the most important Volvo innovation yet.
This all looks like a great idea to me and if the seat works I can see a huge demand for this product from travelling parents who are sick of lugging car seats around. It makes you wonder why it has taken so long for someone to come up with the idea. What we don’t know is how much it will cost but if the seat passes all the relevant safety tests and it doesn’t cost the earth then it will surely be a winner.
Article by Sally Stacey