An American company has launched the world’s first mass market child seat with an integrated airbag safety system.
Airbag technology has featured in new cars for decades and saved countless lives, and will now be used to protect some of the most vulnerable passengers on our roads.
The Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Air – as it is called – features inflatable ‘pillows’, similar to those found in modern vehicles, built into the belt and shoulder structure of the seat, which deploy in the event of a sudden impact.
The system is designed to protect children who are big enough to travel in the seat when mounted in a forward-facing direction, though the revolutionary seat can also be placed backwards for smaller children.
The innovative system works by limiting the range of injury-inducing head movement children are often exposed to in car accidents. The integrated airbags inflate in front of the child’s chest and face to contain the head and significantly reduce the forces on the neck and spine.
It works without being connected to the car’s electronic systems in the way that traditional airbags are. Instead, sensors are placed in-line with the seat’s ISOFIX connectors.
The sensors detect a collision within 15 milliseconds, and send a signal to the airbags, which inflate with cold air around the chest of the child to soften the impact.
Just 80 milliseconds after the crash is detected, the child’s head is kept in check by the airbags. The system then deflates immediately afterwards.
Maxi-Cosi currently sells a range of child seats in Australia, but the AxissFix Air isn’t one of them yet. The unit is sold in the United States for just under A$1000.