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Volvo Introduces Revolutionary Child Safety Seat

26 October 1999

Volvo Introduces Revolutionary Child Safety Seat
    GOTEBURG, Sweden, Oct. 26 -- "Ask any parent in any country
what is the most precious thing in their lives and you will get the same
answer: their children.  Yet despite this, thousands of small 'treasures' ride
totally unprotected in cars every day," according to Birgitta Trommler, Crash
Analysis Engineer Child Safety, Volvo Car Corporation.  ISOFIX child seat
system will help protect small children in a new way.
    "Many studies have shown that more than 50% of all child safety seats are
used incorrectly.  This means that children are killed or injured quite
unnecessarily. The main benefit of a ISOFIX child seat is that the risk of
incorrect use will be minimized," says Birgitta Trommler.
    A child is not a smaller version of the adult.  The head of an infant
under the age of three may weigh as much as the rest of the body.  Combined
with the weak and unstable neck, this adds up to a very dangerous situation if
the child is facing forwards in a head-on collision.  With a forward facing
seat, the child's head is thrown forwards and the neck is unable to handle the
force.  This may result in serious injuries.
    Volvo's Bjorn Lundell, safety test engineer, chaired the International
Organization for Standardization (ISO) working group who lead this pioneering
child safety work we see today with ISOFIX child seat design.  "Since 1970
Volvo has been studying all accidents involving new Volvo cars in Sweden.
Information on these accidents, including technical data and medical data on
injured occupants, is stored in our database.  The database now contains
information from over 28,000 accidents with over 48,000 occupants, including
children.  This information is the foundation when we develop new safety
systems."  Of the 421 children who were facing to the rear in documented
accidents, all survived and only three were injured.  Two children had broken
bones and one incurred a head concussion.
    The charter for the ISOFIX group was to produce standardized attachments
for rearward facing child safety seats.  Now all cars can have the same type
of built-in attachments to fit all types of ISOFIX designed seats.  Their work
is now completed and car manufacturers are free to introduce ISOFIX solutions.
    Volvo's ISOFIX child seat is a system of two seats, supporting frame, and
attaching points engineered into the vehicle.  The three major components are:
    -- A small infant seat, which makes the very first trip home a much safer
       journey.  A built in handle makes it easy to carry the seat with the
       child in it.
    -- A larger seat for children between the ages of nine months and three
       years.  The seat design has a sleeping position and a new and improved
       belt design for easy one-step adjustment.
    -- A supporting frame, which is installed in the car by the vehicle
       driver, with the ISOFIX attachment brackets that are permanently
       mounted between the backrest and the seat cushion.  The attachment
       brackets can be installed at the factory or Volvo retailer.

    The Volvo ISOFIX system cannot be retrofitted on older Volvo cars.
However, the seat alone can be fitted to those older models. Volvo ISOFIX
debut will be early next year on the company's new wagon series and all future
Volvo cars.
    Volvo ISOFIX should never be placed in the front seat of any car that has
an airbag for the passenger seat.  The child could be seriously injured the
airbag is activated.
    Additional photos are available.