New car seat protects baby in protective shell

Original Article: The Carkoon, a rear-facing seat that could be on sale by next year, is expected to cost around £499, considerably more than a standard child seat, it was reported.

Features include being fireproof – providing a trapped child with up to 20 minutes of air and insulating it from a blaze.

The seat is also designed so that the infant can be easily released – either following an accident or during a routine trip – by swivelling it round to face the door.

The Carkoon’s main feature is an airbag that folds out on impact, enveloping the child in the seat and protecting it from head to toe while leaving plenty of breathing space.

But instead of deflating on impact to provide a cushion like other airbags, this one remains inflated and rigid enough to withstand flying objects such as a stray water bottle or satnav – which can kill even in a 30mph crash.

Inventor Jullian Preston-Powers, of Brighton-based Cool Technologies, told the Daily Mail: “We have even bounced a brick off it.”

Mr Preston-Powers came up with the idea after speaking to a Sussex fireman whose hands were badly burned when he tried to rescue a baby from a burning car. Sadly the child died.

The Carkoon has a small mirror which, when attached to the rear windscreen, allows the driver and baby to see each other.

Some models will also have a device that sends a signal to emergency services alerting them that there has been an accident with a baby involved and enabling them to prioritise the call-out.

A prototype seat underwent crash testing at the Transport Research Laboratory in Berkshire last month.

But before it can go on sale, manufacturers will have to show that the airbag does not pose any risk to the child or impede its rescue from a car in an emergency.

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