It's no secret that automobiles have been getting safer for decades. In addition to adding features to give drivers more control and to ultimately reduce the risk of car accidents, many safety features are also meant to make car accidents less fatal and injurious.
And in the past 10 years, car travel has become especially safe for one very fragile group of vehicle occupants: young children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the last decade has seen a 43 percent drop in crash fatalities among children and babies. This is, in large part, due to improvements in the design of baby car seats and child booster seats. It is also the result of more parents choosing to use these critical safety devices.
Child safety in vehicles is becoming an ever-larger concern for consumers. So much so, in fact, that Swedish automaker Volvo designed a concept car entirely around the safety and comfort of babies in car seats. The vehicle is a modification of Volvo's XC90 SUV, but the front passenger seat has been replaced by a pedestal on which to mount a baby seat. You can see a picture of the design by following this link.
The advantage of this setup is that it allows the baby to maintain eye contact with nearly all other occupants. The driver can check on the baby even though it is facing backwards, and a back seat passenger can be directly facing the infant. The pedestal that the car seat attaches to also contains storage for the myriad of baby items parents must always carry with them.
This is, of course, only a concept car. If it ever went into production, Volvo could have a difficult time selling a car that might not adapt (back to normal) as children grow. Moreover, we can continue to reduce baby and child crash deaths without the need to redesign a vehicle. According to research by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 46 percent of Americans with car and booster seats are using them incorrectly. Addressing that problem through better educational campaigns could make a huge difference.
Children truly are the most precious cargo we will ever carry. If you have young children and worry about whether they are being properly restrained in the car, please take some time to research proper use of car and booster seats.