Volvo, one of the safest brands in car manufacturing, has recently proposed an idea that may not live up to their gleaming safety reputation. In their new XC90 Excellence Model, Volvo is introducing the idea of a car seat placed in the front seat of the car where the passenger seat once was. While the car seat is rear facing, the idea of having it placed in the front seat at all is an alarming idea for drivers who are also parents. The law has always been that children under the age of 12 are not allowed in the front seat of the vehicle, period. But Volvo believes they can challenge that idea with this new model.
A spokesperson for Volvo has said that the primary reason children under the age of 12 are prohibited from sitting in the front seat of the car is due to the fact that the passenger side of the vehicle contains an airbag. In the new XC90 model, Volvo has removed the front passenger airbag, therefore making it, to their standards, safe for the baby to be placed there. The spokesperson went on to say that the front seat of the car is just as safe as the rear seat of the car. But many people who have children are uneasy with that idea; mainly because they don’t find it, or know it, to be true.
In an amusing article found on Boston.com, parent and columnist Kristi Palma details her horror upon hearing the announcement from Volvo. She provides an excellent first person narrative of what it was like driving around with her two screaming kids—and then she goes on to say how the image of those moments doesn’t become any prettier when you add in the fact that now the screaming children will be placed beside her instead of behind her.
Kristi Palma has a great point. It’s difficult enough to remain safely focused on the road when you are a parent and you are being actively distracted by the screams and cries of your helpless child in the backseat. Yes, you could attach a mirror to their car seat in order to reflect an image of them back at you so you can see what’s going on, but that isn’t much help either. Palma said that the safest bet would be for parents to pull over on the side of the road or to the nearest rest stop so that they can safely address the needs of their child outside of the vehicle.
Even from a non-parent’s standpoint, the idea still seems to be an area of concern. Having a baby that close to the windshield doesn’t seem to be the safest notion, especially without an airbag placed in the passenger side (even if Volvo is correct in saying it would prevent injuries to the baby, it still feels odd). And even though the XC90’s car seat sits on a secure base and allows parents to safely load their child into the seat easily with a swivel motion equipped to the base; the overall voyage doesn’t seem to be any more safely improved than it would be if you just place your child appropriately in their car seat in the rear of the vehicle. While the fact that this contraption also includes a storage bin and heated cup holder inside the swiveling child holding base, most people still aren’t convinced that this idea is going to meet all their baby safety needs.
Volvo may have had good intentions when they were creating their new front seat car seat, with all parental needs taken into consideration, but perhaps they should have further considered just exactly how these parents would really feel about this idea. Parents have their child’s safety in mind as their number one priority, and they would want to make sure all of their standards were met before purchasing the proposed XC90 Excellence Model to see if they also found it to be excellent.
Kristi Palma’s article can be found at the following link: http://www.boston.com/news/opinion/2015/07/10/why-volvo-front-car-seat-concept-bad-idea/Osg0K80KKHuk0TMxrZp9oK/story.html?p1=Must_Reads_hp