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When Volvo unveiled their new car seat concept for the 2016 XC90 SUV—the "Excellence Child Seat Concept"—I imagine they thought the reaction would be something like, FINALLY! The car of my dreams! This is exactly the car every new parent has dreamed of. Sign me up!
And to a large extent, that's how it's being touted on review sites: the answer to every new parent's wishes.
In Volvo's new design, mama takes a backseat to her baby (literally), by replacing the passenger seat with a built-in infant/toddler car seat that swivels and locks into a rear-facing position, making the familiar reach-behind-and-feel-for-lost-pacifiers maneuver a thing of the past. And underneath the seat is ample storage for all of baby's stuff.
It even has heated cup holders to warm baby's bottles on-the-go.
It's beloved across the Internet, a sure-fire hit!
And yet as I talked to real moms about it, they confirmed my own knee-jerk reservations about the design. In fact, they had quite the reaction! For the average car-buying, trip-taking mom who doesn't wear floor-length satin gowns and heels with a white-glove driver, there's some major issues:
"That seems impractical. Does it have any type of replacement seat for when the baby is too old for the rear facing seats?" —Ellise, mom of 1
"DANGER DANGER! It's bonkers! WTF?" —Heidi, mom of 3
"It seems stupid to buy a car based on a stage that lasts only two to three years. What do you do with that seat then? It also sucks for parents with more than one kid. It just looks dangerous." — Lauren, mom of 2
"Ummm, hell no. I don't care how safe they think the car is, the front area of a vehicle is NO place for a baby." —Erin, mom of 3
Note:One of the biggest complaints to Volvo has been the safety and legality issues of having a child seat in the front of a car, especially here in the U.S. Volvo responded on their YouTube account, saying, "From a safety perspective there is no difference between the rear seat or front seat, given that the airbag is disconnected. Knowing that the main reason for US, Australia and other countries to not allow babies in the front seat is due to the frontal passenger airbag, and that this concept can ensure that the airbag always will be disconnected when the concept is in the car, Volvo Cars are interested to take up a discussion with the authorities in concerned countries to hear their opinion and look over possible solutions."
"It really only targets one small demographic: single child, wealthy households." —Mary, mom of 2
"Thank you Volvo, you've given all the Facebook car seat groups something new to debate instead of fighting about whether or not a pacifier is a projectile risk." —Leigh, mom of 1
"Maybe if you only plan on having one kid ... but what if you want to go somewhere without the baby? The husband chauffeurs you around? Or is the idea that if you're rich enough to buy this car, you're probably rich enough to hire a driver?" —Jess, mom of 2
"This is like the epitome of child-centered parenting hysteria." —Shannon, mom of 4
"On the one hand, I LOVE this idea. I assume they are perfecting the curtain airbags and getting rid of the dashboard-shattering kind. For someone who travels like crazy, having easier access to the baby would be awesome. I can't tell you how many times I have swerved to try to reach the baby. And it would make nursing in the car so much easier! I mean, have you ever tried to nurse while baby is still in the seat? This mom just has to lean forward and her baby can nurse away while you're stuck in traffic. On the other hand, Volvo is late to the game. The Orbit Baby car seat already swivels for easy access." —Vanessa, mom of 3
"I'm unconvinced. I already sit in the back seat with my son when my husband is driving so he doesn't flip out, and using our infant seat is undoubtedly cheaper. Also, is this seat removable? Having an infant seat that can be put in a stroller while you run errands, especially in the dead of winter, is as magical as anything involving a huge car seat could possibly be. Oh and why is everything so light colored? They know about baby poop stains, right?" —Lucy, mom of 1
"Don't new parents have enough things to buy? Especially for infants, which are expensive and have a small window of use." —Acacia, mom of 1
"This makes me so anxious! Whenever we have to drive in my husband's truck and the baby can see me, it's miserable. She cries the entire time because she wants me to pick her up. Stick `em in the back and everyone is much happier." —Chaunie, mom of 4
"I spend my entire day looking into the face of my beautiful baby. I just want to ride in my car and look out the window singing songs horribly out of tune in peace. Does that make me selfish? Perhaps. But 99 percent of my energy is dedicated to my baby. Come on, Volvo, let me argue with my husband about mis-sung lyrics and attempt to have a remotely adult conversation without the obvious reminder that we will always be taking a backseat to our children." —Jess, mom of 3