-- Not since the iPad bouncy seat has a product stunned parents as much as the latest car seat concept from Volvo.
Why all the Internet chatter? The baby's car seat is in the front of the car, where the front passenger seat is usually found.
In Volvo's "Excellence Child Seat Concept," the front passenger seat is removed from the car. Parents are able to swivel the seat counter-clockwise when seating the child and then lock the seat in a rear-facing position. A parent could sit in the backseat of the car and be face-to-face with the baby.
There's also a storage area beside the seat and underneath for diapers, blankets or other larger items and "enough space for a tote bag at the front of the seat under the dashboard."
“We started by asking ourselves if we could make life easier for parents and safer for their children when it comes to the child seat experience. We focused on three key benefits – making it easier to get the child into and out of the child seat from an ergonomic and comfort perspective, providing the child with a safe rearward facing seating position that enables it to keep eye-contact with either the driver or the rear passenger and of course including enough storage for those vital child accessories, such as diapers, bottles, wipes, and so on,” Tisha Johnson, chief designer for interiors at Volvo Cars Concept and Monitoring Center, said in a news release.
It's perfectly safe to have the child seat take the place of the front passenger and the seat provides a function for small children to lie back and sleep, thereby keeping them rear-facing for as long as possible -- until age 3 or 4, the Swedish carmaker said. In many instances in the United States, parents end up turning their children front facing long before this age because their legs become cramped in the back.
Joanna Singh, a child passenger safety technician, said Volvo and Sweden have “long been leaders in revolutionizing child safety. “
She said it’s typical in Sweden for kids to sit in rear-facing car seats in the front passenger seat with the airbag turned as long as 3 to 6 years.
“We're fans of anything that helps parents to rear-face longer,” Singh, also director of Car Seats for The Littles, told ABC News. “Currently, cars in the U.S. employ a sensor-only switch for the airbag, which cannot be used with car seats. For this revolutionary new design to come to North America, cars would need to be redesigned with keyed switches in all front passenger seats. You can never place a rear facing seat in front of an active airbag, even one with a sensor. “
"We have always placed a great deal of importance on child safety,” Johnson said, “but this takes things to the next level.”