Volvo Cars first dabbled in the safety of the younger family members when it started using child seats in crash tests in the early 1960s. Renowned for their emphasis on occupant safety, Volvo is launching three new child seats that have been developed with design, comfort and convenience in mind.

As a pioneer in child safety, the Swedish firm also prides itself on educating parents on how to correctly use child seats.

“We understand that many people find child safety in cars a complex and sometimes confusing subject. We have focused for many years on communicating clear guidelines around how child seats should be used and the correct way to install them,” says Lotta Jakobsson, Senior Technical Leader of Injury Prevention at Volvo Cars Safety Centre.

Teaching adults how to install and operate a child seat is one thing, getting the child to stay in the seat is entirely another– especially when the child gets older.

“Our focus is on ensuring that young children travel in the safest manner possible, depending on their size and age. This means rearward-facing up to the age of at least 3 or 4 years and after that with child seats or booster cushions up to 140 cm in height. The safety benefits are unquestionable, yet many parents unwittingly allow their children to sit forward-facing too early,” Lotta added.

According to Jakobsson, one of the many reason parents allow their children to sit forward-facing is because there isn’t enough legroom or because the upholstery makes the kid too warm.

With this in mind, the new-generation child seats, developed with one of the world’s leading child seat makers, Britax-Römer, are made with a more breathable and comfortable upholstery comprised of 80 per cent wool textile. The new fabric makes the seats smoother to the touch, highly durable, and more comfortable in both hot and cold climates. The seats also have a slimmer design aimed at increasing legroom and overall comfort.

“We believe that children will be more comfortable in our new rearward-facing seat and that this will encourage parents to keep their children rearward-facing for longer. This will have a direct impact on overall child safety and supports Vision 2020, where no one will be killed or seriously injured in a Volvo car by the year 2020,” she concluded.

The range, available in South Africa from July, includes:

Infant seat – rearward-facing (up to 13 kg or 1 year)

Child seat – rearward-facing for children from 9 months up to 6 years (least 3-4 years as recommended by Volvo)

Booster seat – forward-facing for children that have outgrown the rearward-facing seat (from 3-10 years old).