April 21, 2009

The Volvo Britax Car Seat Series: What's Wrong With This Picture?

volvo_britax_conv.jpg

And I don't mean, "The kid has no legs," or "He's getting mud all over my leathers."

Edmunds has a ridiculous article about how poor, helpless Volvo has launched "three new state-of-the-art child restraints," but they can't sell them in the US because the NHTSA won't allow model-specific car seats.

"NHTSA has mandated that child seats cannot be vehicle-specific," said a Volvo corporate insider who asked to remain anonymous, writing in an e-mail to Inside Line on Thursday. "Every seat must fit every car -- in our opinion, this just makes for an inferior seat.

"We have requested rule changes by NHTSA and have been ignored. While NHTSA's rules certainly benefit all consumers, we have a solution that is the best solution for our cars."

What crap. There's nothing obviously Volvo-exclusive about the seats--an infant carrier, a convertible, and a rear-facing booster that supposedly goes all the way up to age 10--and Volvo doesn't make any actual claims that their seats perform better than the government-recognized standards in any jurisdiction, whether it's the US, the EU, or the Justice League of Asia or whoever.

If Volvo wants to sell their seats in the US so bad, why not just submit them for regular NHTSA testing? And if they only want to sell them at dealerships to people paying with Volvo Platinum Cards, that's their business. Did the other regions waive their official safety standards, too? Edmunds doesn't say.

Another thing Edmunds doesn't mention, but Autoblog, which joined the pity party, does: Volvo developed the seats with Britax-Romer. Britax is already expert at using massive size and a jacked up price to imbue their car seats with an aura of unsubstantiated--or at least unannounced--safety performance. Now I guess they're trying to do the same by partnering with a car brand that sees safety as a core attribute.

If Britax and Volvo have such superior seats, they should be working within the regulatory system to raise the safety bar for everyone; won't they have an advantage? If having kids face backwards until they're ten is so safe, it should be the law, here and in the EU. Couldn't Volvo get Sweden to adopt that standard? Instead, you have a major safety-touting car maker and a leading car seat company seeking to break the car safety standards regime in the US for their own benefit. Thanks a lot.

Volvo Creates New Child Restraints - But Can't Offer Them in U.S. [edmunds]
More like PRESS RELEASE: REPORT: Federal laws keeping Volvo from offering safer child seats [autoblog via dt readers john and seth]
disclosure: Last I checked, Volvo is still owned by Ford, who loaned me a car in hopes I'd review it. Whoops.

20 Comments

That kid's going to have one hell of a head ache from the airbag. Not to mention the great view the parent will have out that side window/mirror with a 5th grader sitting like that.

Yeah, my first thought was "why is that kid in the front seat?" Even if the installation of the Volvo specific carseat disables the front passenger air-bag the safest spot for kids in the back seat. I would love to have a rear-facing seat that fit bigger kids though and car-specific seats doesn't sound like a horrible idea. I know that only one of our seats installs correcting in my husband's Prius, if Toyota made a Prius specific seat, I'd probably buy one... assuming it had high enough shoulder straps slots for my tall skinny kid.

That kid's wishing he could take the bus to school so his friends won't see him like that.

I still don't understand what he does with his legs.

Safer or not, there's no way you get even toddlers to sit rear-facing without a lot of screaming and motion sickness. So I don't think that'll work with older kids, either.

Toddlers tend to get bored during road trips and I don't think him facing the rear is a good idea.

Maybe he's in the co-pilot seat of a small airplane?

What a scary, scary photo... Either he just finished filming Home Alone 7 or he's leaving his office job in Jersey City...

I'm all for rear facing 'til age 17 if it makes them safer, but photos of mini-man like this are not going to encourage it. [shudder]

that kid must have no legsor they are stuffed down the side of the car beetween seat and door

I like that it has multiple settings of car seat. I would love this. Thanks for the info !!

Since this is a Swedish Britax Multi Tech one can only assume that it's installed in a Swedish car which all have switches to disable front seat airbags.

Actually my three year old still sits rear facing quite happily. I know many many other rear facing toddler who never have problems with it.

Have fitted the Volvo/Britax Multi-tech in my 850, the boy seems to like it and wasn't difficult to fit, as far as I can see this will fit in any car nothing Volvo specific about it.

I dont know about your car, but in my car, I just use a switch to turn of the airbag when I need to have my kids in the frontseat.

Another thing. My son used his seat(the one above) Rearfased until he was almost 6 years old. In the back seat ;)

I'm from Norway, and here we're encouraged to keep the kids rear facing at least until they're 4 yrs old - at least. Tommy Peterson (chief of lab testing, Sweden's road- and transport research institute. Leading insitute when it comes to securing children in cars in the nordic countries) has these findings in his research:

- A 3 year old who sits in the car without seat belt the protection is 0. If you use the car's seat belt the protection is 18%. With a front facing car seat it's 60%, and if you use a rear facing car seat for your 3 year old the protection is 92%.

I think if people get the right information, that rear facing is the one thing that actually will save your child from dying in a car accident, they will chose more wisely. Nausea, boredom, long legs are quite trivial factors when it's a question of life and death.

We have not had rear facing car seats in the front seat, just in the back seat of our quite small Opel Astra station wagon. Our son who's 3.5' (5 yrs old) just bend his knees. When we drive long distances we just make time for stretching our legs, but it's usually not our son who complaints first. Our daughter who's 4.1' (soon 7 yrs old) has to trouble fitting her legs between the car seat and the rear facing seat in her brother's car seat. She's secured in a front facing car seat, one she will use up til about 11 or 12 yrs, so her head and body will be more protected especially in a side collision.

Hopefully you will get the same info, knowledge and opportunity to buy rear facing seats that allow children up to 55 lbs to ride more safely in cars. Just because the fact that if one child dies in a car accident, it is one too many.

And for the record; it's not allowed to put rear facing car seat in front of an active airbag. The airbag must be switched off, if not it could cause severe damage and/or death to the child.

I know this article and comments are old, but Darren, you are terribly wrong. I sincerely hope that either A. You don't have children yet; or B. Your wife does all the driving and doesn't ask you for safety advice.

The back seat, harnessed, rear-facing is THE safest option. I'd much rather have an irritated living child than one who lives the rest of their life paralyzed from internal decapitation. Google "Joel's Journey" and re-think what you said.

Nope, airbags in EU cars have a key-switch and can be deactivated that way. Not possible in the US, but placing a child in the front seat is not legal in the US but legal in Europe provided that the airbag has been turned off.

You, sir, are a retard. You, and men or women like yourself, should never have children. Nice to see you read Edmunds, but I'm sure it's mostly to drool over the cars you'll never get to drive. Why don't you take a selfless moment and do some actual research about cars and car seats- you might find that you're mistaken. Perhaps then you can inform people, rather than tout something that holds more regard for the safety of your leather seats, and your own ego, rather than the safety of your child's life.

Kids adopt parents views on all kinds of things including this.

My 48" tall daughter uses this seat sometimes and likes it. A lot of Scandinavian children like to sit like this, because parents put childrensĀ“ safety over their own convienience. After all it is a bit easier to install a forwardfacing seat. So rearfacing to age 6 is no big deal neither to the kids nor to the parents.

Lena

Thank you, Noble Swedish Parents. We, the rest of the parents of the world, might learn something from your shining example, if only we weren't so obsessed with our own convenience.

Just about to purcahse the Volvo rear facing 9-25kg - looks the best and most reasonably priced in th UK. Hopefully he will like it - if not he will learn to!

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