Children In Cars. 36 page Volvo publication. August 2003

Children In Cars.  36 page Volvo publication. August 2003
for life
A SAFETY MAN UAL
CHILDREN IN CARS
CH I LD R E N I N CAR S
has been produced
by Volvo Car
Corporation to help
all those who carry
child passengers –
parents, taxi drivers,
or anyone else –
reach a better
understanding of
child safety matters.
Editor:
Tatiana Butovitsch Temm,
Volvo Car Corporation
Text:
Inger Jalakas,
AB ACME Media
Photography:
Elisabeth Ohlson Wallin
www.ohlson.se
Design and layout:
Jouko Dahl,
Studio Desktop AB
www.studiodesktop.se
Second edition
2004
2
KNOWLEDGE SAVES LIVES
All parents want to do everything in their power to keep their children from harm. And
that includes kids in cars. But children are still getting hurt and even killed because
their car seats haven’t been fitted properly, or are simply wrong for the height and
weight of the child. Or – even worse – because they haven’t been strapped in at all.
The cause is often simply a lack of knowledge. Because the parents thought the child
seat had been installed right. Because they thought the child could safely switch from
a rearward-facing seat to facing forwards when it was only two or three. Because they
thought they knew how to adjust the child’s seat belt.
EASY TO G ET IT WRONG
A Swedish survey of parents with young children revealed that only one three-year-old
in four was still using a rearward-facing car seat. When, in fact, all three-year-olds
should still be using seats which face the rear of the
car. Only four out of every ten parents knew the
right way to adjust the diagonal section of the seat
belt. Amongst the smaller children using booster
cushions it was not uncommon for the belt to be
placed under the child’s arm instead of across the
shoulder. Many parents were unaware that the
lap belt should go across the tops of the
thighs, not across the child’s
stomach.
Airbags were another
area where parents
revealed serious gaps in
their knowledge. Over
half the parents
surveyed were
unaware that anyone
sitting in a seat with a
passenger airbag
should be at least 140–
150 cm (4 ft 7 in) in height,
unless, of course, the airbag has
been disabled.
This publication has been produced to help parents be
better informed about the safety of children in cars. We
hope it will provide answers to many of the questions you
will find yourself asking as a new parent or a parent-to-be.
33
THE MOTHER-TO-BE
Women sometimes ask whether it would be better not
to use a seat belt when they’re pregnant. They’re fearful
that the belt might harm their unborn baby in some way.
The answer is that they should definitely use a seat belt
at all times. Right to the end of the pregnancy. But it’s
equally important that they put it on right.
That is: the diagonal section should wrap over the
shoulder then be routed between the breasts and to
the side of the belly. The lap section should lay flat over
the thighs and as low as possible under the belly. It
must never be allowed to ride upward.
Remove all slack from the belt and insure that it fits
close to the body without any twists.
As a pregnancy progresses, pregnant drivers should
adjust their seats and steering wheel such that they
can easily maintain control of the vehicle as they drive
(which means they must be able to easily
operate the brake pedal, accelerator pedal and steering
wheel). Within this context, they should strive
to position the seat with as large a distance as possible
between their belly and the steering wheel.
S EAT B ELT POSITION ERS
A recent addition to the accessories market is the seat
belt positioner. This is designed to keep the lap belt
pulled downwards, away from the wearer’s tummy.
As yet there have been no studies which indicate
that seat belt positioners enhance user safety in an
accident. But there is no evidence that they compromise safety, either.
BELT NOT LONG ENOUGH
Discomfort is a common problem for women using
seat belts towards the end of the pregnancy. Some
have trouble getting the belt to reach around them.
If you find you can’t buckle your seat belt, you
should avoid travelling by car. Avoid driving yourself
in the final stages of pregnancy too, as the steering
wheel or the driver’s airbag could injure the baby in an
accident.
4
5
THE PREGNANT CRASH-TEST DUMMY
Researchers and car manufacturers already
know a great deal about how best to protect
adults and children in car accidents. But they
still know surprisingly little about what
happens to unborn babies.
The Volvo Car Corporation has been carefully
investigating the special safety and comfort
needs of pregnant women since 2001.
Through this research, we have built a unique
computer model of a pregnant crash test
dummy named ”Linda”.
BETTER UNDERSTANDING
We continue to use Linda as a tool for
reaching a better understanding of the
injuries pregnant women and their babies
can experience in a crash. She has also
been used to verify correct seatbelt
6
placement and to aid in the development of
future safety systems. In addition to
examining the medical and safety system
performance side of this important issue, we
have also looked at comfort by running
numerous ergonomics studies of our
vehicles, involving over 200 pregnant
volunteers.
TH E N E E D TO K NOW
The most frequently documented cause of
death is due to the placenta becoming
partially or completely detached from the wall
of the uterus, preventing the unborn baby
from getting enough oxygen. The question is,
why? Researchers believe the reason to be
that, while the uterus itself is relatively elastic
and can therefore change shape readily, the
placenta is not equally resilient when
subjected to acceleration forces.
comfort for pregnant women, we have so far
determined that the seat belt, if worn
correctly, offers the best protection against
injury or death in a crash. That is: the
diagonal section should wrap over the
shoulder then be routed between the breasts
and to the side of the belly. The lap section
should lay flat over the thighs and as low as
possible under the belly. It must never be
allowed to ride upward. Remove all slack
from the belt and insure that it fits close to
the body without any twists. As a pregnancy
progresses, pregnant drivers should adjust
their seats and steering wheel such that they
can easily maintain control of the vehicle as
they drive (which means they must be able to
easily operate the brake pedal, accelerator
pedal and steering wheel). Within this
context, they should strive to position the
seat with as large a distance as possible
between their belly and the steering wheel.
With the help of the pregnant crash-test
dummy, Linda, we can increase our knowledge. We continue to work toward more
discoveries to help improve safety and
7
THE FIRST CAR RIDE
A baby’s first-ever car journey is usually on the
day he or she is taken home from the maternity
ward. A nervous trip, for many reasons. A new life
has come into the world. And it’s also the start of
a new life for the parents, and for any brothers or
sisters too.
So often the car will be driven at a snail’s pace.
Every bump could bother the baby. Or at least
that’s how it seems to anxious first-time parents.
But in all probability the baby will be safe and
sound in its baby seat. Properly anchored and
installed, and facing the rear of the car.
A baby seat like this provides the best form of
protection for a baby of up to about nine months
of age. Until it grows out of it, quite simply. When
the baby’s head reaches the top end of the baby
seat, the time has come to switch to a child seat,
but still a rearward-facing one.
TAILOR-MAD E SAFETY S EATS
Any parent who has ever had to choose a baby
seat will be able to confirm that it’s no easy task.
Volvo is one of the few car manufacturers who
design baby and child seats for their own models,
and also test them in their own vehicles. Most
seats are designed by car seat manufacturers.
They are suitable for use in some cars, but not in
others. The methods used for securing baby
seats also vary.
The result is that many baby seats are of the
wrong type for the car they’re used in, or simply
incorrectly fitted. The industry as a whole has
8
been aware of this problem for quite some time.
The need for a single industry standard for baby
and child seats in all types of car was widely
acknowledged, and so a working group was set
up by the International Standards Organisation,
ISO. After ten years’ work, the fifteen countries
represented in the project recently reached
agreement on the Isofix system.
N EW I NTE R NATIONAL STAN DAR D
The Isofix standard can consist of three main
elements. Incorporated into the vehicle itself
there are two anchorage points, between
backrest and seat cushion. A standard frame can
be slotted into these, and then the baby or child
seat can be easily fitted onto or removed from
this as required. Some of the Isofix baby/child
seats have no separate frame. They slot straight
into the anchorage points.
The Isofix standard was published in 1999. From
2000, all new cars sold in the United States had
to have Isofix anchorage points. Europe and the
rest of the world will soon introduce similar
legislation.
There are already many new cars in use which
have Isofix anchorage points, and baby and child
seats are available for them, too. So anyone who
wishes to and can afford to invest in a new car
with Isofix anchorage points now has that option.
For the time being, everyone else has to follow
the more complex instructions for installing other
systems.
9
FAQS ON BABIES IN CARS
What should I look for when
choosing a baby seat?
It must be of the right type for
your car. A list of car models
should be specified on the seat.
What are the things to think
about if I buy a second-hand
baby seat?
Don’t buy a second-hand one
unless it is relatively new. Baby
seat design has come a long way
in a short time, and modern seats
are much safer than older ones.
Make sure it is completely undamaged, that it complies with the
relevant national safety standards,
and that it still has all the fittings
and installation instructions.
What is Isofix?
A standardised anchorage
system for baby and child seats.
How do I go about fitting a
baby seat?
Follow the specific instructions
for the seat you have chosen.
Seats using the Isofix anchorage
system are easy to install. Other
systems are not as easy. If you
have any problems, ask the seat
retailer for advice.
Is it a safe alternative to use
the removable carry-cot
section of a pram with
anchorage straps?
10
No. The carry-cot would be
anchored, but the baby inside it
would not be restrained.
Where in the car should the
baby seat be installed?
That depends… Many prefer to
have the baby within easy reach
of the driver´s seat, i.e. on the
front passenger seat. But the
baby must not be put on that
seat if it has a passenger airbag
which has not been disabled. If
the airbag were to inflate, the
baby could be seriously injured or
even killed. So if that seat has an
airbag, the baby seat must go in
the back seat of the car. Some
cars are equipped with a airbag
cut off switch that allows you to
temporarily disable the airbag.
Please check the owners manual
for guidance. The alternative is to
have the passenger airbag
permanently disabled. This task
should only be entrusted to an
authorised dealership for your
brand of the car. Make sure that
you are given a document
verifying that the airbag has been
disabled. In some countries,
including the United States,
permission has to be obtained
from the relevant authorities
before an airbag can be disabled.
Can you be absolutely sure
that the airbag has, in fact,
been disabled?
Yes, the Volvo Passenger Airbag
Cut Off Switch (PACOF) is very
reliable. However, you must
always be absolutely sure that
the switch is in the correct mode.
An airbag permanently disabled
at an authorised dealership for
your car brand, is also safe. If you
are in any doubt about whether it
has actually been disabled, ask at
your authorised dealership.
Do side airbags pose any
risk to the baby?
No, not if the baby is in a Volvo.
Why do babies have to sit
facing the rear of the car?
A baby’s head is large and heavy
in relation to the rest of its body,
and its neck is not very welldeveloped yet, so it has to be
prevented from being flung
forwards if the car collides.
How long should you use the
baby seat?
For as long as possible; until the
baby can sit up properly, at
around nine months. When its
head reaches the top of the baby
seat, then it’s time to switch to a
larger rearward-facing child seat.
11
12
ALMOST LIKE HUMANS
The world’s first crash-test dummy was called
Sierra Sam. The size of an adult male of large
build, he was created in 1949 to test ejector
seats for the US Air Force.
In 1956 the air force shared its findings with the
automotive industry. The first dummy to be
developed specifically for research on car crashes
appeared six years later.
Today’s crash dummies have little in common with
Sierra Sam. All of the early ones were rather
rudimentary, built to confirm that safety systems
such as seat belts were effective. They had few
measurement points, and were really not very
much like humans at all.
S OPH ISTI CATED I N S I D E S
Modern crash dummies, however, are built to
respond much more like humans. They have the
same weight, size and proportions as the type of
human they are made to emulate. Their heads are
designed to react like real heads, as are other
details of their anatomy such as the neck, the
knees and the thorax.
Inside them they have sophisticated electronics,
to measure acceleration/deceleration,
displacements and various loads and forces the
body is subjected to in a crash.
HOW TH E BODY R EACTS
Deceleration needs to be measured to find out
exactly how the human body is restrained and
comes to a halt if the car is stopped abruptly.
Displacement measurements are used, for
instance, to study compression of the thorax.
Twisting motions of various parts of the body are
studied, as well as the loads they are subjected
to. Shear displacement measurements can be
used to find out more about how human
vertebrae behave in an accident.
Measurements of many kinds allow scientists and
engineers to amass large quantities of data and
to draw conclusions about the likely effects of
real accidents on the human body.
NEW CAR S SAFE R
The automotive industry has long been at the
forefront of crash dummy development. And
safety research is proceeding at an everincreasing pace.
Those involved in car crashes when travelling in
cars made in the late 1990s run a 25 per cent
lower risk of death or disablement, when
compared with passengers in cars from the early
1980s.
The main reasons for this are the fact that airbags
and other safety systems have become standard
equipment, and also that car cabins are now
stronger and better able to withstand collision
forces.
None of this could have come about without
research. And crash dummies still have an
important role to play in research of this kind.
13
Relative proportions, birth to adulthood
At birth
14
2 years
6 years
12 years
FRAGILE PASSENGERS
Babies and children are fragile passengers. Their
heads are big and heavy in relation to the rest of
their bodies. The head of a nine-month-old baby,
for instance, accounts for 25 per cent of its total
body weight. The corresponding figure for a male
adult is six per cent.
A baby’s head has quite different proportions too.
Its face is relatively small compared with the rest
of its head and brain. If a baby or child suffers
head injuries, this often means brain damage,
which is generally much more serious than facial
injuries. Head injuries in babies are frequently
more severe because their skulls are thinner than
an adult’s.
VU LN E RAB LE N ECK
GRAPHICS: TOMAS ÖHRLING/ INFO
25 years
Other factors which make a child more vulnerable
are its disproportionately slender and undeveloped neck, and its undeveloped pelvis.
One key difference between an adult’s pelvis and
a child’s is that the child’s pelvis does not have
the distinctive structure known as the iliac crest.
This is a bone formation which, in an adult,
prevents the seat belt from slipping upwards and
damaging the internal organs in a car collision.
Until the child is eight or ten years old, its pelvis
has a very rounded shape. Only at puberty does
the pelvis gain its adult shape, with a fullydeveloped iliac crest.
➔
15
FRAGILE PASSENGERS
SOFT S KE LETON
The neck vertebrae of a new-born baby are
composed of separate portions of bone joined by
cartilage, in other words, the baby’s skeleton is
still soft.
Development of human vertebrae
Top view
Side view
0 – 12
months
1 – 3 years
3 – 6 years
Adult
GRAPHICS: TOMAS ÖHRLING/ INFO
16
This cartilage turns into bone over the first three
years of the baby’s life. The ossification process
continues right up until puberty. There is a similar
gradual development of the muscles and
ligaments in the neck.
Human neck vertebrae also change shape
progressively throughout the years when a
person is growing, from the flat vertebrae of the
small child to the saddle-shaped ones of the
adult. Being saddle-shaped also means that the
vertebrae will hold together and support one
another if the head is thrown forward. The young
child lacks this extra protection.
BACKWAR D S SAFE R FOR EVE RYON E
The safest way of travelling in a car is backwards.
It would actually be better for all of us to travel
backwards, but, given the existing designs of our
cars, this is not feasible for adults. But young
children can and should travel facing the back of
the car for as long as possible.
In a front-end collision, the head of a forwardfacing car occupant will be thrown forward with
considerable force. Its momentum propels it
downwards onto the breastbone and then back
up again. An adult neck can withstand this strain
relatively well, but a small child’s neck cannot.
17
CRASH DUMMIES IN BRIEF
CRASH DUMMIES COME IN MANY SIZES AND TYPES THESE DAYS. MOST OF THEM ARE USED IN
FRONTAL CRASH TESTS, BUT SOME HAVE BEEN DEVELOPED FOR TESTING IN SIDE-ON AND
REAR-END COLLISIONS.
18
The commonest dummy represents an average American male. There is also an extra tall and heavy variant
of the male dummy, but the female dummy is remarkably small and dainty. So dainty that she is also used to
represent a normal twelve-year-old.
Besides this combination woman/twelve-year-old, there are other child dummies representing
children aged ten, six and three years, then eighteen, twelve, nine, six and zero months.
19
FACING FORWARDS OR TOWARDS THE BACK?
The idea of carrying baby and child passengers
facing backwards in cars was a Swedish one,
from the 1960s. It was the brainchild of
Professor Bertil Aldman of Chalmers University
in Gothenburg.
Professor Aldman took his inspiration from the
seats the Gemini mission astronauts used for
take-off and landing, specially moulded to
distribute the forces over the whole back. The
principle behind rearward-facing child car seats
is exactly the same. In the event of a front-end
collision, the whole of the child’s back takes the
strain of the impact, not its much more vulnerable
neck.
Fatality rates, children in cars,
per 100,000 head of population
4.0
(Child fatalities)
3.5
France
3.0
Sweden
2.5
2.0
1.5
1.0
0.5
0
Less than
1 yr
1–3 yrs
4–6 yrs
7–10 yrs 11–14 yrs
0–14 yrs
GRAPHICS: TOMAS ÖHRLING/ INFO
The risk of a child dying in a car accident in
France is twice as high as in Sweden.
The German statistics reveal a similar pattern:
Injury rates, children in cars, 1999
SWE D E N LE D
0.16
Thanks to Professor Aldman, rearward-facing
child seats came into widespread use in Sweden
much earlier than in other countries. The result is
reflected in accident statistics. Research by the
insurance company Folksam, for instance, shows
that the risk of young children being killed or
seriously injured is five times greater in forwardfacing seats than in rearward-facing ones.
If you compare the Swedish accident statistics
with those from countries where most children
travel facing forwards, the differences are
striking. One example is France:
0.14
20
Sweden
(As a percentage of the population in each age group)
Germany
0.12
0.10
0.08
0.06
0.04
0.02
0
Less than 1
1 yr
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
(years)
GRAPHICS: TOMAS ÖHRLING/ INFO
Note in particular the differences from the age of
one onwards. That is the age when most German
children start using forward-facing child seats,
whereas most Swedish children travel in
rearward-facing seats until at least their third
birthday.
21
22
JUST HOW SAFE?
Volvo has worked with Professor Aldman ever since he
became involved with child safety. One of the results of
this collaboration was the rearward-facing seat which
Volvo launched in 1972, a first in the car industry.
Since the mid-1970s, Volvo’s Traffic Accident Research
Team has investigated Swedish road accidents involving
the newer models of Volvo. The results have all been
documented in a permanent database, which now
encompasses over 30,000 accidents, involving a total of
over 50,000 people.
A unique resource for researchers wanting to learn
more about child car seat safety.
STATI STICS ON THOUSAN D S OF CH I LD R E N
Between 1976 and 2000 4,448 children aged 0–15
were involved in the accidents investigated by the team.
Over the same period, the use of seat belts and child
seats increased dramatically, from about 25 per cent in
1976 to almost 100 per cent in 2000.
The effects of this increase are clearly apparent in the
injury statistics.
➔
The use of child safety equipment
(in Volvos, Sweden, 1976–2000)
100
90
80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
1976
(per cent)
´78
´80
´82
Booster cushion
´84
´86
´88
´90
Rearward-facing
child safety seat
´92
´94
´96
´98
2000
Standard
seat belt only
GRAPHICS: TOMAS ÖHRLING/ INFO
23
JUST HOW SAFE?
Injuries are classified according to severity on a
scale (1–6) known as MAIS – the Maximal
Abbreviated Injury Scale. MAIS 1 covers trivial
injuries such as bruising. MAIS 2 means minor
injuries, MAIS 3 covers serious injuries, and MAIS
4 is more serious still, such as serious loss of
blood. MAIS 5 means the patient has critical
injuries, and in MAIS 6 the injuries have proven
fatal.
The risk of a child suffering injuries of MAIS 2
severity or higher is only one fifth of what it was
twenty years ago. And the risk of injuries of MAIS
3 or more is only a third of what it once was.
H E IG HTE N E D PROTECTI ON
The type of safety protection actually used by
children in accidents obviously makes a big
difference.
Using a standard seat belt provides 60 per cent
better protection than no restraint at all. Using a
forward-facing child seat or booster cushion
24
Injury rates, children in Volvos
(per cent)
12
10
MAIS 3+
8
MAIS 2
6
4
2
0
No restraint
Standard
seat belt only
Booster
cushion
Rearward-facing
child safety seat
GRAPHICS: TOMAS ÖHRLING/ INFO
provides 80 per cent better protection, and a
rearward-facing child seat is 90 per cent better.
One very significant fact is that out of all the
accidents recorded in the Volvo database there
was only one fatality (the result of exceptional
circumstances) amongst all the children who
were travelling in rearward-facing seats.
It is also important for children to be given the
most suitable type of protection for their
particular age, height and weight.
25
FAQS ON REARWARD-FACING CHILD SEATS
How long should
children continue to use
rearward-facing seats?
Young children should continue
to use rearward-facing seats for
as long as possible. A child
should only switch to a forwardfacing seat when it reaches the
weight limit for the seat type or
when its head extends beyond
the top of the seat. It is recommended that children go on using
rearward-facing seats until they
are three, and preferably longer.
Not being able to sit with their
legs fully stretched out does not
affect their safety.
Why is this so important?
Because the necks of young
children are not strong enough to
withstand the stresses of having
the head thrown sharply back
and then forward in a front-end
collision. The neck is subjected to
severe forces if the child is
travelling in a forward-facing
seat. In a rearward-facing seat
the child’s back bears the brunt
of these forces, and the head is
not thrown sharply forward.
The forces involved in rear-end
collisions are usually lower.
What should I look for when
choosing a child car seat?
2266
Firstly, the seat must be right for
your car. There should be a list of
car models specified on the seat.
Secondly, the seat must bear the
right mark to show it complies
with the relevant safety standards.
How do I go about fitting a
child seat?
Be sure to follow the instructions
for the seat you have. Seats
using the Isofix anchorage
system are the easiest to install,
but many Volvos have other seat
anchorages built into the floor. If
in doubt, ask the retailer.
Where in the car should the
child seat be installed?
Many prefer to have the child
within easy reach of the driver’s
seat, i.e. on the front passenger
seat. But the child seat must
definitely not be put there if there
is a passenger airbag which has
not been disabled. If the airbag
were to inflate, the child could be
seriously injured or even killed. If
there is an airbag in the front, then
the child seat must go into the
back. However, some cars are
equipped with a airbag cut off
switch that allows you to
temporarily disable the airbag.
Please check the owners manual
for guidance. The alternative is to
have the passenger airbag
permanently disabled. This task
should only be entrusted to an
authorised dealership for your
brand of car. Be sure to get a
written guarantee that the airbag
has been disabled.
Can you be absolutely sure
that the airbag has, in fact,
been disabled?
Yes, the Volvo Passenger Airbag
Cut Off Switch (PACOF) is very
reliable. However, you must
always be absolutely sure that the
switch is in the correct mode. An
airbag permanently disabled at an
authorised dealership for your car
brand, is also safe. If you are in
any doubt, ask at your dealership.
Do side airbags pose any
risk to child passengers?
No. At least, not in a Volvo.
What if my child doesn’t
want to use the child seat?
Stop and take a break. Take the
car seat indoors when it’s new, to
let your child use it and get
accustomed to it at home first.
What if a child falls asleep
with its head at an angle?
If it doesn’t seem to bother the
child, it probably looks worse than
it is. If it worries you, stop and prop
the child’s head up with a pillow.
27
27
TIME TO LOOK FORWARD
Sooner or later the time comes when the child
grows out of his or her rearward-facing child seat.
This is generally at the age of three to four. Now
it’s time for the child to travel facing forwards,
seated on a booster cushion with or without a
special backrest section. Make sure that the
cushion has horn like projections in order to fix the
lap belt across the hips and above the tops of the
thighs.
There are several advantages to using a booster
cushion with a backrest. The backrest provides a
degree of extra protection in the event of a side-on
collision. If the child goes to sleep, it will stay sitting
up better, especially if the backrest has side
projections to lean against. These will also help
prevent the child’s head tilting sideways at an
alarming angle when it falls asleep. Because this
does happen, from time to time.
NOT TOO FAR OUT ON S HOU LD E R
Having the backrest section also helps the belt
stay in place better, near the neck and over the
shoulder. When a child, sitting on a booster cushion
with or without a backrest section, is buckled in
using a standard three-point seat belt, it is
important for the belt to be positioned correctly.
The main reason for using a booster cushion is not
to help the child to see more, but rather to achieve
the right belt geometry.
The diagonal belt needs to go over the shoulder
and across the chest with the minimum of slack.
Remove any slack when you buckle the child’s belt.
28
The less play there is, the better the belt can
protect its wearer.
It doesn´t matter if the belt comes close to the
child´s neck. It may look uncomfortable, but it
certainly won´t strangle the child if there is an
accident. It is important that the belt is not too far
out on the shoulder as if the car stop abruptly, the
child´s head would move forward and the belt
would move further out onto the shoulder, which
decreases the belts protection level.
N EVE R U N D E R THE AR M
The childs safety is posed at risk if the belt is worn
too close to the edge of the shoulder. It can then
slip downwards in a crash and the child could be
thrown forward over the top of it.
Under no circumstances should the child sit with
the belt under its arm. This would mean that there
is little to stop the child from flying forward, at
worst right through the windscreen.
The lap belt needs to be worn across the hips, above
the tops of the thighs. Make sure that it is always
strapped firmly in front of the two horn-like projections on either side of the booster cushion. If it’s not,
it could slide up onto the child’s stomach in an accident, with the risk of internal injuries. A lap belt can’t
restrain a child across the pelvis, because a child’s
pelvis is undeveloped compared with an adult’s.
A ordinary pillow is totally unsuitable as it is too
soft and misses the important hornlike projections.
In the case of an accident it can be compressed or
slip away. The child then risk to slide under the belt.
29
FAQS ON FORWARD-FACING CHILD RESTRAINTS
When can you move to a
forward-facing child restraint
system?
When the child has grown out of
its rearward-facing seat, i.e. when
the top of its head is no longer
within the child seat, or is
touching the overhang, depending on the type of seat you have.
The child should be at least
three, and preferably older.
What should I look for when
choosing a booster cushion
with or without backrest?
That it is suitable for your type of
car, comfortable, and of an
approved type.
Is a booster cushion as good
as a booster cushion plus
backrest?
No, the booster cushion/
backrest combination provides
better protection for smaller
children.
Where should the belt go?
The diagonal belt needs to go
down across the shoulder, near
to the child’s neck. It doesn’t
matter if it seems very close to
the neck. Wearing the belt too
close to the edge of the shoulder
is much more risky. In an accident, the child could even be
30
thrown forward over the belt. For
the same reason, the child must
never wear the belt under its arm.
The lap belt needs to be worn
across the hips, above the tops
of the thighs. It must always be
positioned correctly in front of
the two projections on either side
of the booster cushion. Otherwise it could slide up in front of
the stomach and cause internal
injuries in an accident. Both sections of the belt must have a minimum of slack. Remove any slack
after you fasten the child’s belt.
Can a child ever use an
ordinary cushion instead of a
booster cushion?
No. An ordinary cushion is too soft.
In an accident it could slip forwards or be flattened, and the child
could slide out below the belt.
Is it all right for the child to
sit in an adult’s lap instead?
No. Children should never be
allowed to travel on laps. Each
child needs a seat of its own, and
a suitable form of safety restraint.
Which seat in the car is
safest?
In a Volvo all seats are equally
safe for children, provided they
have an adequate safety
restraint. The only exception is
when the front passenger seat
has an airbag. A child must never
be allowed to travel in this seat,
unless the airbag has been
disabled by a professional.
In Volvo estate models, how
can children travel safely in
the load space?
If you install the rearward-facing
extra seat which is made for
Volvo estate cars. This is supplied
complete with seat belts and
head restraints. It is designed for
children who have grown out of
child seats, but only until they are
140 cm (4 ft 7 in) tall.
This extra seat is good if you
often need to carry more than
five in the car, but is not intended
as a permanent solution for
those who need a seven-seater.
How tall does a child have to
be to sit in a seat with a
functioning airbag?
140 centimetres (4 ft 7 in).
What if my child won’t sit on
the booster cushion?
You must persuade him or her.
When can a child be seated
without a booster cushion?
At 150 cm length.
31
THE ELEPHANT IN THE BACK SEAT
Of course, there are always some people who don’t belt up, some of the
time. Perhaps neglecting to put on their own seat belts, or to clip their
kids in before they drive off. Maybe it doesn’t seem a long journey at all.
Perhaps the child is fractious and it’s impossible to make it stay in the
seat long enough to fasten the straps. Or perhaps… it’s only around
town, and we really won’t be driving fast…
But… A child weighing 30 kg in reality, travelling in a car at 40 km/h,
will weigh a tonne in a front-end collision with an object as unyielding as
a rock face.
A tonne!
E NOUG H TO CR US H TH E D R IVE R
If a weight of that size hits you in the back, all your ribs are likely to
break, and then they puncture your lungs. You’re dead within 60
seconds. Or the child may go straight through the car windscreen and
hit the same object that stopped the car dead in its tracks. A scenario
every bit as nightmarish as the first.
A few more figures:
If you were to climb onto an ordinary dining chair and let yourself fall flat
on your face on the floor from that height, the effect would be the same
as if you were in a car, not wearing a seat belt, and it crashed at 15 km/h.
For the equivalent of 20 km/h you’d have to stack four chairs up before
you fell. To approximate a crash at 30 km/h, you’d
have to go eight chairs high.
Eight chairs stacked one on top of another make
quite a tower. And 30 km/hour (18.6 mph) is not
very fast at all. It’s less than the new lower 20
mph limit in some residential areas in the UK, for
instance. We generally drive faster than that, even
‘just around town’.
So – do use those seat belts. Always. For everyone in the
car.
32
33
WHAT IS REQUIRED BY LAW?
You will need to check the legal requirements
which apply in your country. Most countries
require baby and child seats to comply with
national standards, and to be labelled to show
they conform to these.
You can also ask your nearest Volvo dealer, or
contact Volvo Car Corporation, either in your own
country or at company headquarters in Sweden:
[email protected]
34
S ELECT B IB LIOG RAPHY
Barn i bil (“Children in Cars”, in Swedish), the Swedish National
Road Administration
Child Occupant Protection in Motor Vehicle Crashes,
Professional Engineering Publishing Ltd, 1999
Comparison, injured children as car passengers, the
Technical University, Berlin, 1999
Gravida kvinnors bilbältesanvändning och bälteskomfort
(a study of seat belt comfort and seat belt use by pregnant women,
in Swedish), the University of Halmstad, 2002
Proceedings of the Conference of the International
Research Council on the Biomechanics of Impact,
IRCOBI, 1995
Säkerheten under Säkereken – En utvärdering av
satsningen på trafiksäkerhetsinformation till
småbarnsföräldrar (a report on a safety information campaign
directed at the parents of babies and young children, in Swedish),
Bulletin No. 914, the Swedish National Road and Transport
Research Institute, 2001
Three-point Seatbelt Maternal Comfort and Fetal Safety,
University of Idaho, 2001
Trends and Effects of Child Restraint Systems Based on
Volvo’s Swedish Accident Database, SAE Technical Paper
No. 973299, revised July 2002
Turbell, Thomas, The Swedish Approach to Child Safety in
Cars, Crash Safety Division, the Swedish Road and Transport
Research Institute, 2002
Wang, Stewart C, The Small Child in a Frontal Car Crash –
Medical Considerations, University of Michigan Trauma Center
www.ntf.se (the website of the Swedish National Society for
Road Safety)
www.vv.se (the website of the Swedish National Road Administration)
35
Volvo Car Corporation
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