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MIA  MOTORSPORT INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION

Performance Projects Announces New Child Car Seat Design

04 Feb 2013

A team of Formula 1 designers have swopped the glamour of motor sport to solve a common parenting frustration – how to fit three car seats into an average car.

The problem they have addressed is one that resonates with many parents and carers. Even in a car designed to transport three rear seat passengers, just  fitting one child car seat makes the centre seat uncomfortably narrow.  Two rear child seats makes the centre seat all but unusable.  As for three child seats, this is impossible in the vast majority of cars.  Transporting a family safely, securely and comfortably becomes a real problem, especially with the addition of a visiting friend or relative.

Buying a dedicated vehicle like a people carrier has to date been the only solution available to many a parent. But such vehicles generally require significant investment, and many parents are also concerned about larger vehicles’ fuel consumption and environmental impact. 

Even if changing the family car is a possibility, it doesn’t cover occasional carers’ vehicles such as those owned by friends and grandparents, company cars with restrictions on model availability, or second cars in the household.  The only alternative option is to install the child seats against recommendations, so they sit at an angle, obscure seatbelt buckles, and compromise the comfort and safety of the occupants.  One of the prime factors in seat performance during an accident is the quality of installation, but current seats give few options.

Performance Projects has designed and patented the revolutionary new Child Seat System (CSS) which successfully tackles this problem.  As Terence Goad, Technical Director, explains: “The system allows the child seat base to be moved across and securely locked in position, allowing use of the central seat. Prototypes have been installed in cars of all sizes, from Volvo V70s to Fiat Pandas.  These tests have proven extremely successful, providing full access to the middle seat and seatbelt buckles, utilising passenger space that would otherwise be unviable.  The benefits for everyday journeys with children are huge and very exciting.”


 As forward thinking on safety as it is in design, Performance Projects chose to test the system to the proposed, tougher, iSize regulations not due to become mandatory for new seats until 2014 at the earliest.  Tested under the most extreme offset load case, the Child Seat System prototype passed the front crash test without issue.

Chris Horton, Managing Director, explains further : ”Our company is usually linked with designing and developing cars for international motorsport.  However, as a parent of three it was the issue of not being able to adequately transport our family in ‘everyday’ cars that has driven the project, a frustration repeated amongst such a high proportion of our friends and colleagues with children.  Whilst on the surface this project is less glamourous than our more traditional work, the very tough targets we set for safety and functionality ensured an interesting challenge, demanding a lot from our design team.  I’m very pleased with the results.  In fact I’m confident that anyone who tries it will consider it as a genuine ‘must-have’ feature in the market.”

Having met the objectives of proven design and safety, the design rights for this significant advance in practical and safe child transportation are now becoming available under licence.  Performance Projects is able to demonstrate the system to child seat manufacturers, media and user groups. 

For more information, please contact:
Chris Horton          Managing Director
Tel : + 44 1327 856032
Mobile Tel : +44 7967 565540
Email : chris.horton@performance-projects.com

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