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Volvo’s car seat concept goes against all we know about keeping kids safe

Volvo has unveiled a “revolutionary” car design that makes sense — only if you disregard what we currently know about car seat safety and want your baby by all the glass.

We all know the struggle of going on a car ride with a baby firmly planted, rear facing, in the back seat. The wails that often ring out from such a baby are terrible to experience, and if there is no one with you who can ride along in the back seat alongside her, you’re just stuck with a distraught baby.

Enter Volvo’s new car design idea. Instead of a regular passenger seat, there is a pedestal of sorts in its place, complete with an attached carrier you can pop your baby into. This way you can maintain eye contact if you ride along in the rear seat, and if you’re alone with your baby, you can talk to her more easily than you could if she was alone in the back. The seat swivels, which will make putting your baby in (and taking her out) a breeze.

Sounds great, right?

Well, I can’t see how this would ever be a reasonable solution at all. In fact, it’s crazy, and I hope it doesn’t ever come to fruition. The single best spot in your vehicle to install a car seat is the back seat, preferably in the center. There is less of a chance of a baby being affected by any impact when he’s back there, no matter where it happens, and there also is less of a chance of giving your baby a glass bath if he’s in the rear center seat. I can’t imagine that Volvo will ever convince me otherwise.

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Yes, this particular car design looks pretty swanky and super modern and Volvo claims it will improve child safety, but it certainly sounds unreasonable considering how quickly babies grow. And I have so many questions. What is the weight range for the included seat? Will a kid outgrow it in a year? It’s possible you could upgrade to a larger seat in the future, but that isn’t mentioned anywhere, and eventually your kid will not have a need for a restraint beyond a seat belt. Maybe if you buy a car every year, this wouldn’t be a problem, but I’m still trying to drive a 10-year-old minivan, so I’m likely not a target consumer for this anyway.

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I’d rather just stick with established car seat safety rules than explore using such a strange and pretty stupid integrated front row car seat. While I appreciate the effort, I think Volvo has a pretty hard “miss” on this concept.

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