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Backseat child harness

More freedom and more safety than the child seat.
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I was reading about the elctroshock child seat and thinking how sucky it would be to have to sit in one of those seats. But - even worse is to become a missile child and hurtle thru the windshield. Couldn't there be a device which restrains but allows movement when things were safe?

My concept: a harness like mountain climbers wear - something that could transmit a sudden jolt on the restraining cord to bony and durable body areas. The toddler would wear this and be connected via a leash - maybe about 3 feet long. The leash would extend and retract as seatbelts do. Like seatbelts, it would not pay out if the brakes were applied. If there was a impact, in addition to airbags deploying the leash would rapidly reel back in.

The toddler could then explore, fight with siblings, and generally roam free. Safety would not be compromised. Really, this same principle could be used with small adults - seatbelts can be dangerous for small people who wear their lapbelts too high (across the spleen), or on whom shoulderbelts cross at the wrong angle (because of large breast / body ratio).

bungston, Dec 03 2002

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       Nope, not a good idea. In an accident, you want everyone anchored in place as firmly as possible with well-fitting seat-belts or safety-seats.   

       Imagine tethering a 40-lb sack of concrete with a single 3' leash. Now imagine how much damage that sack will do flying around on the end of that leash when you go from 60mph to 0 in a second. Now imagine your 40-lb toddler in place of that sack.
DrCurry, Dec 03 2002
  

       The kid / small adult / concrete sack would not be flying around at the end of the tether. The tether _reels back in_ at airbag deployment speeds when sudden deceleration is detected. It could even be linked to the airbag sensor.   

       It occurs to me that this would also be good for dogs who feel they have to hang their heads out the window.
bungston, Dec 04 2002
  

       Sounds like just one more thing to file a lawsuit over when it fails to work. =/
Pharaoh Mobius, Dec 04 2002
  

       As a former Ford seat belt engineer, I can tell you that there are so many reasons why this is a bad idea, and most of them are lethal to the kid. It's like falling. It ain't just the ground that kills you, it's the sudden stop at the end. How is being jerked back by a belt that suddenly decelerates any better than simply hitting the wheel with your chest? The force is the same. The only way a belt works is that it holds you in position and keeps you there and slowly gives. Any degree of looseness is a bad thing, as it forces the body to change direction much harder.   

       waugs and the rest are right. 'Bout the only bones that it wouldn't likely break would be the three in your inner ear.   

       One more thought: if you have a belt that's been in any significant wreck, have it replaced. Some vehicle models come with 'tear stitching' which is designed to rip and therefore provide some give-back in an accident. But once that's done, it's done. These are slowly going out of style, though, in favor of pre-tensioners and specified amounts of belt 'payout.'
RayfordSteele, Dec 04 2002
  

       So. The expert agrees with the rank amateurs. Back to the drawing board, buddy!
DrCurry, Dec 04 2002
  

       Better to have an ejection seat. Launch the little buggers at any sign of an impending crash.
horripilation, Dec 05 2002
  

       //Ejection seats are a really good idea, unless you're in a rail underpass, or a tunnel, or a covered carpark or...// couldn't afford the parachute kit.
PeterSilly, Dec 05 2002
  

       [UB] Yes. But all these "pretensioners" and related "loose" restraint systems (including airbags) are very inferior substitutes for properly fitted 4 and 5 point harnesses.   

       In my vehicles, I have Willans or Luke 5-point harnesses (I have removed the normal seatbelts, I needed the mounting points). And I have removed the airbag system, because they are stupid and dangerous. When I used to do rally navigation we once went down a ten metre bank into a stream. Both myself and the driver got out and walked away with nothing more than mild bruising. It completely convinced me of the value of decent harness systems.   

       I get some minor whining from passengers (especaially female ones who tend to find the shoulder straps uncomfortable) but better safe than sorry. Note that it is difficult to use a 5-point harness if you're wearing a skirt, so I always wear trousers these days.
8th of 7, Dec 05 2002
  

       //unless you're in a rail underpass,//   

       So rig a detector for overhead obstructions. But launch them. Make a crashing car like an exploding seed pod.
horripilation, Dec 05 2002
  
      
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