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Britax Launches New Child Safety Seat Technology On Expressway ISOFIX Model

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Oct. 31 -- Global leadership in child restraints is nothing new at Britax. With Britax Childcare Division companies in the USA, UK, France, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong, nearly one of every five child restraints sold in the world is a Britax. When the US Department of Transportation needed to move forward on US regulations for the new LATCH attachments in 1998, three Britax US patents on methods of attachment threatened to stall the US LATCH regulations. At the US DOT's request, Britax filed a series of "Terminal Disclaimers" to waive all its patent rights and dedicate the patents to the public good. US LATCH regulations then proceeded without delay.

This month Britax Child Safety, Inc. announces the launch of its new "Expressway ISOFIX" model, the first forward-facing toddler seat in the US with RIGID LATCH connectors. Compared to the now common "flexible" LATCH systems, a "rigid" LATCH system is designed to offer the easiest method of attaching a child restraint to the vehicle.

After locating the vehicle LATCH anchor bars, the consumer only needs to pull out the rigid connector assembly and press each of two connectors into engagement, then push the whole childseat back tight into the backrest. As with other LATCH childseats, the Expressway ISOFIX can also be installed using the vehicle seatbelts alone.

The Expressway ISOFIX was designed by Britax-Romer in Germany and is shipped partially assembled to Britax Child Safety, Inc. in Charlotte. The ISOFIX name stems from the European acronym for "International Standards Organization fixation." This model goes by the name "Duo ISOFIX" in Europe and so far has been approved for use by 16 manufacturers in 96 different vehicle models. Beyond the easy to use rigid LATCH attachment, the Expressway ISOFIX design includes an innovative "pivot link" mechanism (US Patent # 6,325,454) for reduction of frontal crash loads and head movement.

With a typical seat belt or LATCH attachment system the crash loads cause the childseat to immediately rotate forward and compress just the front edge of the seat cushion, which permits significant forward head movement.

With the new technology "pivot link" system on the Expressway ISOFIX, the crash loads cause an immediate downward vertical force that compresses the vehicle seat cushion under the entire surface of the childseat not just the front edge. This downward movement results in a measurably reduced forward head movement and reduced chest loads. The system works so well that it could have been certified to US Standards without a top tether, although a tether is provided for even better attachment to the vehicle.

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The new Expressway ISOFIX is designed for children at least one year of age (20 to 40 lbs.) has a manufacturer's suggested retail price of $219 and includes all the features that have made Britax famous such as, energy absorbing foam, polyester harness webbing resistant to tangling, extra comfort padding, patented Versa-tether, and built-in shoulder belt lock-offs. For a list of retailers and more information see Britax Child Safety, Inc. is a Britax Childcare company.

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