Child seat innovations: 50 years
Volvo is never kidding when it comes to the importance of child seat safety, and 2017 marks 50 years since the Swedish car maker first introduced a special accessory for the Amazon that could transform the front passenger seat into a rear-facing child seat.
I Roll charts the major milestones in Volvo’s child seat development across six decades.
Child Backrest Accessory – 1967
The Volvo Amazon offered as an accessory a reversible front passenger seat, which could be adapted into a rear-facing child seat with straps and a padded backrest.
Rearward-facing Child Safety Seat – 1972
Volvo continued with its rear-facing approach having been involved closely with medical doctor turned professor Bertil Aldman in the development of the first child seat prototype, which was inspired by how astronauts coped with violent lift-off forces by lying backwards.
Child Booster Cushion – 1976
A belt-positioning booster cushion allowed three- to four-year-olds and older to travel facing forward, with statistics pointing to an approximately 75 per cent lower risk of injury compared to a child being unrestrained.
Integrated Booster Seat – 1990
Volvo’s pioneering integrated booster seat – which remains unique in the industry today – began life 27 years ago in the 960, cleverly folding down and out in the rear centre-seat position. The idea evolved into double integrated pop-up booster cushions (outer rear seats) in the 1995 S40.
Slideable Booster Seat – 2002
The XC90 SUV’s booster seat had the added function of being able to be slid forward, allowing a child to be within closer reach of parents in the front seats.
Two-stage Integrated Booster Seat – 2007
The V70 and XC70 twins debuted dual-stage built-in booster cushions 10 years ago – offering two sitting heights to ensure a better seatbelt fit regardless of the child’s size. Child-adapted seatbelt load limiters were also fitted.
Inflatable Child Seat Concept – 2014
This lightweight, ultra-portable child seat concept is still in development, and promises to make parenting simpler in the future – especially when travelling. Weighing less than 5kg – half the weight of a typical child seat – the seat can be inflated in just 40 seconds and is constructed from strong fabrics. That makes it easily transferable between cars, while a back-pack enables it to be taken on planes as cabin luggage.