"Bulky, heavy and impractical." That's how Volvo describes most child safety seats, and they couldn't be more right. Parents and non-parents alike will tell you what a pain they are to install and haul around. Fortunately, the Swedes have a very clever solution up their sleeves.
Today, Volvo announced they have developed a rear-facing child safety seat concept that can be inflated and deflated at will and folds into a stylish-looking bag when your kid doesn't need to be on it. Genius!
At the touch of a button, the seat silently inflates to full size in less than 40 seconds, Volvo says. It only weighs about 5 kg (11 pounds) which makes it half the weight of a contemporary child seat. It also has a Bluetooth function that allows it to be inflated or deflated remotely. (No word yet on how that will interact with your toddler's iPhone.)
But how safe is a seat made of an inflatable material? Developers say it's extremely safe because it's built with drop-stitch fabric, an extremely durable material that can withstand high internal pressures and is used in military applications.
Unfortunately, Volvo says that at the moment they have no plans to turn it into a commercial product, but this serves as more of a proof-of-concept that shows it can be done. I hope someone decides to take the concept and tun with it. It already sounds like it's vastly superior to any child seat on the market.
(Hat tip to Gizmodo!)