DaimlerChrysler's Integrated Child Safety Seats Eliminate Installation
28 September 1999DaimlerChrysler's Integrated Child Safety Seats Eliminate Installation, Compatibility Issues for Minivan Buyers
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Sept. 28 -- Eight out of every 10 portable child seats are installed incorrectly into vehicles according to the National Safety Council (NSC) -- placing children at risk of death or injury. DaimlerChrysler's best-selling minivans continue to offer a solution with its integrated child safety seats. "Integrated child safety seats eliminate common compatibility and installation issues that customers frequently experience with portable child seats," said James P. Holden, DaimlerChrysler's Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing and General Manager of Minivan Operations. "Our system eliminates installation errors because the system is built directly into the seat. This is the perfect feature for minivan buyers who want to avoid installation issues that could put their kids at risk." DaimlerChrysler was first to introduce integrated child safety seats to the minivan segment in 1992. The system folds, reclines and features a five- point seat belt harness for children who are at least one year of age, weigh between 22 and 50 pounds and are no more than 47 inches tall. The option costs $125 on a single passenger seat or $225 on a bench seat with two integrated child seats. The feature is offered on Plymouth Voyager, Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) believes integrated child seats offer significant additional safety benefits. They eliminate the need for supplemental hardware, eliminate incompatibility and availability problems, encourage the use of the back seat for transporting children, and provide a restraint system that -- unlike seat belts -- are designed for children. "Our research shows that integrated child safety seats are, without question, part of the solution to child safety seat misuse and non-use," said NTSB Chairman Jim Hall. "DaimlerChrysler has been a leader in the development of integrated seats." In addition to being first to offer integrated child seats, DaimlerChrysler is the first automaker in the world to offer free child seat inspections and fittings to customers who prefer to use portable child seats. The program, called Fit for a Kid, begins this month in 52 dealerships in four pilot markets (Denver, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Sacramento, Calif., and Washington, D.C.) and will expand nationwide to more than 1,000 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep(R) and Plymouth dealerships by the end of 2000. "By offering safety programs like Fit for a Kid and safety features such as our integrated child seat, we hope to further improve child seat safety on two fronts," said Holden. "And with close to eight million minivans sold, we want to do everything we can to ensure the safety of our drivers and their passengers." DaimlerChrysler sells over 600,000 minivans worldwide every year and owns approximately 40 percent of the North American minivan market. Since introducing the minivan in November of 1983, DaimlerChrysler has sold nearly eight million minivans and received more than 130 awards. After nearly 16 years, the minivan market remains strong. Industrywide, minivan sales account for approximately eight percent of all new vehicles sold in North America. For the past five years, annual industrywide minivan sales have averaged 1.2 million a year.