One of the biggest challenges for safety engineers is the best possible transportation of premature babies and very small newborns, whose neck muscles and reflexes are not yet well enough developed.
More than each tenth infant is born too early
Each year, some 15 million babies in the world are born too early, according to the report released in 2012 by the World Health Organisation WHO “Born too soon: the global action report on preterm birth”. More than one in ten newborns are discharged from hospital weighing only 2.500 grams or less. In Germany, 9.2 babies per 100 newborns are born prematurely. In the foreword of the report, Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, writes, “All newborns are vulnerable, but preterm babies are acutely so.”
Born too soon: a major health risk
On the one hand, the underdeveloped organs, in particular the level of lung development, cause a diversity of different problems. Furthermore, a newborn baby is unable to hold and support its own head. The muscles around the neck are extremely weak and the child has no control over its heavy head. The baby can slide forwards or off to the side in the infant car seat and the head can tip forwards while asleep. If this were to happen, the baby’s breathing could be hampered. Another reason why a central position in the infant car seat must be adopted is that the baby can be secured safely with the harness.
Lie-flat position for more safety and comfort
Together with German medical specialists and midwives, and taking into account the findings of many tests, a new function was developed that enables the flattest possible lying angle between head, neck and chest. From this follow important advantages when it comes to the transportation of a newborn:
- the risk of breathing difficulties is reduced
- the baby lies relaxed and is able to breathe deeply and without restrictions
- by adjusting the headrest the sitting angle changes automatically
- the infant car seat “grows” with the child
- the infant carrier also offers bigger children more room and comfort
Thanks to this innovation parents can transport their child in the infant car seat as long as possible and use the infant car seat to its full weight potential of up to 13 kg without having to change seats too early as the head already protrudes above the edge of the carrier.
By the way: Especially in the event of a frontal collision, the most frequent type of all accidents in daily road traffic, rear-facing car seats are by far the safest means of transporting children. Child car seat manufacturers, Germany’s biggest motoring club ADAC, accident researchers and all child safety experts are in full agreement about the safety benefits of rear-facing car seats.