- Size matters: children are not small adults
- Pregnancy tests: mums-to-be must wear seatbelts
- Travel backwards: rear facing child seats for infants up to 4 years
- Belts and boosters: position correctly to reduce injury risk
- Complete, simple guide at www.volvocars.co.uk/childsafety
Based on over 40 years of child safety research and development, Volvo’s latest results highlight a number of simple guidelines that any parent or family member can follow to provide optimum protection for children when travelling in cars, irrespective of make or model.
Children and babies are not small versions of adults - and they need special restraints designed for their developing anatomies. Relative to the body, a child’s head is large and heavy. The head of a newborn baby makes up half the total body weight, whereas an adult’s head weighs only about six per cent of the total.
This oversized head - in combination with developing neck vertebrae, muscles and ligaments - is a child’s weak point and is prone to injury in crashes. Another vulnerable area is the pelvis, which is underdeveloped and cannot hold the safety belt in position as easily as an adult's hip area, so child booster seats greatly improve the correct belt geometry.
Car safety for unborn children is an area that is not well documented, since foetal injury and death often do not show in statistics. Volvo is the only manufacturer to have engineered a pregnant crash test dummy to develop the company’s understanding of the unique safety demands of unborn babies and their mothers further.
This virtual model, called Linda, mimics a pregnant woman and is used to simulate how both a pregnant woman and her unborn baby move in a frontal impact. Linda contains detailed information about the uterus, placenta, amniotic fluid and foetus in approximately the 36th week of pregnancy. She can be positioned in any car model and collisions can be simulated at different speeds.
The studies show that pregnant women benefit from the protection of a front airbag and also dispel the myth that seatbelts may harm the baby. Seatbelts must always be used during pregnancy and positioning correctly significantly reduces the risk of foetal injury risk.