Patent of the month – Reinventing child safety

Travelling with children can be difficult at the best of times, particularly on long car journeys. If extended periods of inactivity are not enough of a test, young children are also required by law to use a specially-adapted children’s car seat. Whilst these seats are designed to reduce the risk of serious injury in the event of an accident, they have particular drawbacks that can make them inconvenient.

Often journeys begin with the child awake and comfortable, sitting in an upright position. However, when the child falls asleep, their head will tend to fall forward, straining their neck. In babies, whose necks aren’t yet fully developed, this can lead to respiratory problems.

It is therefore best to keep young children on their backs when sleeping and in an upright position when awake.

To solve these issues, many child car seats have been designed so they can be adjusted manually, between reclined and upright positions. In theory, when the child wakes or falls asleep, the car seat can be adjusted by hand. However, in practice, this requires either the assistance of a helpful passenger sat in the back seat or a short pit stop so that the driver can make the necessary adjustment.

Clearly this situation is not ideal, and so Baby Safe Ltd has developed a remotely-actuated child car seat, as described in its recently-granted UK patent, GB2546727.

The invention features a reclining seat, which can be configured in at least three ways, depending on the situation. The fully-reclined position is for sleeping children, partially-reclined is for sleepy children, and an upright position is for use when the child is fully awake. A footrest is also included that complements the configuration of the seat. It operates between an extended position that provides foot support to the child in the reclined position, and a retracted configuration that stows the footrest when the child is in an upright position.

The functionality of the seat is controlled by a wireless remote, which can be clipped to the steering wheel, allowing the driver or passenger to adjust the seat without interrupting their journey or disturbing the child. For added convenience, it can also be operated using a mobile phone app.

In addition to making travelling with young children easier, the invention also makes embarking and disembarking more convenient by providing a rotating base. The rotating base is attached to the seat, allowing it to be rotated to face the car door at the beginning and end of journeys. This helps to simplify the process of placing the child in the car seat and removing them on arrival at their destination. The base includes a retractable handle at the front, which when engaged will prevent the seat from rotating involuntarily.

With safety at the forefront of every parent’s mind, and car journeys posing a significant challenge to their everyday lives, this car seat is likely to have significant market appeal. With patent protection in place, Baby Safe Ltd now has a 20-year window of opportunity to make the most of it.