October 17th this year saw the launch of a truly groundbreaking new product. The Maxi-Cosi AxissFix Air car seat was revealed within the state-of-the-art test facilities at the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), amid a genuine buzz of curiosity and excitement from the industry.
The AxissFix Air is a world first - a car seat with integrated airbags. It is a huge leap forward in child safety technology and the team behind the innovation knew it would evoke a lot of questions. That's why Maxi-Cosi chose TRL, a national hub for engineers, consultants and technical specialists, to unveil its creation and show it in action.
Those who attended, including members of the Pushchair Expert team, were able to watch first-hand as child dummies were strapped into the new car seat and put through a series of high-speed crash simulations. It was heart-stopping to see how impact occurs in a blink of an eye and the power it sends through a car seat and a child's body - but incredibly reassuring to witness the fraction of a second it took for the airbags on the AxissFix Air to deploy and how still the dummy's head remained, cushioned by the bags around its face and neck. Equally important for concerned parents was the speed at which the airbags deflated again after the crash, moving away in a single second from the mouth and nose.
Ever since cars have been routinely fitted with airbags, drivers and parents have been warned about the dangers around infant car seats. Anyone who has experienced an airbag going off knows that the sound, smell and sheer force are frightening. The AxissFix Air is completely different.
Maxi-Cosi's research and development team went back to the beginning and created an airbag system specifically for babies and young children, which is nothing like that used in cars for adults. The airbags fitted in cars use an explosion to operate them, which produces a loud bang and hot gases and means they inflate hard directly into the driver or passenger's face. In total contrast, the new Maxi-Cosi Air Safety Technology® uses cold air released rapidly from a canister - no explosion or smell, but the airbags are still filled in 0.05 of a second. Most critically, the airbags are integrated into the shoulder pads of the seat and inflate in the direction of travel, to softly cushion the head and neck.
With the AxissFix Air representing such a jump from everything parents have known before, it was crucial to have those with in-depth knowledge of the technology to hand at the launch to fully explain both the science behind the system and the rigorous testing it has been subjected to. Those at the event were able to ask probing questions, including on behalf of Pushchair Expert readers, of both Senior Engineer Erik Salters from the Maxi-Cosi research and development department and Managing Director Andrew Ratcliffe, as well as TRL Technical Specialist Mark Pitcher.
By adding the technology - which reduces the forces of an impact on a child's head and neck by up to an incredible 55%, compared to other forward-facing Maxi-Cosi car seats - to the popular AxissFix model, the creators have ensured that the new system is embedded in a product that parents are already happy and confident with. It fundamentally looks like the same comfortable, easy-to-use, 360°-swivel car seat - the launch event was able to demonstrate that it has become so much more.