If you have been anywhere close to social media this week you'll know that Volvo Europe has released a YouTube video about their new concept car and it's making parents all over the place heads’ explode.
The car is a new take on making things easier for parents transporting their precious flowers from one place to another. The car has a built in child seat in the place of an actual seat that swivels to the side to allow for easy access, and that also swivels to the back so that you can stare lovingly into your spawns eyes as it vomits all over itself. It also has a built in bottle warmer and under seat storage for extra blankets and a hairbrush (as seen in the video - why?). Sounds great right? Why wouldn't anyone love this marvel of modern expensive technology built around our beloved offspring?
Well the major problem people have with the concept is that the baby seat is located in the front passenger seat section of the car. Although in Europe it can be quite common to see a baby seat in the front rear-facing with the airbag switched off, there is a lot of debate over the safety of it all. There is also a lot of discussion on what about if you have twins? What about when the baby gets too big for the built-in seat?
To this I say: well obviously pick a favorite and then when they get too big simply tether them to the roof with bungee cords bought from Taobao!
But you know what? I say if you have the means to buy a car that caters solely to doe-eyed parents with their precious first borns, and obviously the chick in the promo picture has the means since she's clearly going grocery shopping with the family in evening gowns; then they should definitely buy that car. In fact, if Volvo were to market and sell their car solely in China I’d be totally okay with that! I mean, if it looks cool then maybe we'll actually see more car seats being used instead of none at all.
When I first moved here and put my car seat in the car my driver looked at me like I was a super crazy person. He had no idea how to do up the buckles or even really how to sit Kai in it. At first I thought his inexperience was due only to the fact that he had no children of his own yet until I realized that car seat safety just isn't a thing in China. And I'll never understand why considering in my first two months living in shanghai I saw two (yes two) deaths related to vehicle accidents. Once when I was on the highway I even saw a driver with their toddler sitting on their lap - IN the driver’s seat!
I'm not one to get all preachy about vehicle safety, I was raised in one of those old cars (ok not literally raised in it… sometimes I was kept in a box... but that's another story) where you sit on the front seat hump and seat belts just didn't exist. Cup holders? YOU were the cup holder! And when I finally did get shunned to the back seat (too many mishandled cups) it just wasn't an issue that the seatbelt clips were locked from underuse and sticky from some sort of orange marmalade concoction smeared in them.
However, in a city where there are so many cars, so many accidents, so much traffic, and so many occurrences of “why the heck did you just come full stop in the middle of the highway!?” you would think that people would not only be putting their kids in car seats but also taping an additional car seat on top of that one to create a protective cocoon of car safety.
So let’s hope that Volvo does actually make that concept car and that maybe we’ll see it on the streets of Shanghai. Because even questionable front seat car seats are better than arms acting as seatbelts, right? Cause if your arms are the seatbelts, who’s gonna take all the cute baby photos of projectile vomiting in the car?