1. Why is a lighter car seat safer?
All else being equal, one of the easiest ways to improve safety performance in a car seat is to reduce its weight. We can't change the speed you are driving at the time of a collision, but we can change the mass of the seat your child is buckled into. When we reduce mass, we reduce the amount of force applied to a child in the acceleration of a collision. The guiding physics equation is F=ma, Force = mass * acceleration, which is also known as Newton's Second Law.
This is why the Kioma Car Seat is the first and only made with carbon fiber, so that we can have the lightest seat in the world without sacrificing strength. When it comes to being lightweight and strong, you can't beat carbon fiber -- which is why it is used in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the BMW 7-Series.
2. Why doesn't the handle move?
First and foremost, the handle doesn’t move because it is a roll bar. The roll bar helps to protect the child in vehicle accidents, and non-motor vehicle accidents such as caregiver falls, and drops and falls from raised surfaces (such as a table or bed).
In 2014, 11,800 emergency department-treated injuries were attributable to infant carriers according to the US CPSC. To quote their report, “As in previous years, falls were the leading cause of all nursery product-related injuries... more than 70 percent of the total injuries involved the head and the face, which were the body parts injured most frequently. ” Similarly, Gaw et al. (2016) found that baby carriers accounted for 54% of injuries among children <6 months old, with caregiver falls a key factor.
A moving handle is convenient, but that convenience comes at the expense of safety. There are four (4) reasons a moving handle is less safe than Kioma’s fixed handle.
- Rollbar. As mentioned above, a fixed handle has the benefit of being able to offer additional protection in a vehicle accident and non-motor vehicle accidents such as caregiver falls, and drops and falls from raised surfaces (such as a table or bed). The Kioma Car Seat is the first and only with a roll bar.
- Mechanical Failure. A common cause of injury (excluding motor vehicle accidents) is a mechanical failure in the car seat itself. For instance, consider the following sequence: baby is unbuckled from the harness by parent, the parent rotates the movable handle into place, the parent lifts the seat by the handle, and then the handle rotates due to mechanical failure and/or user error. In such a sequence, the baby would fall approximately three (3) feet onto a hard surface. Since the Kioma Car Seat is the first and only to have no moving parts, a mechanical failure is unlikely to occur.
- Weight. All the bearings, hinges, or axles to facilitate a moving or retractable handle design add weight. All else being equal, one of the easiest ways to improve safety performance in a car seat is to reduce its weight. Please refer to our answer to the question "Why is a lighter car seat safer?"
- Usability. Most car seat designs with a movable handle include instructions that require the parent to rotate and lock/stow the handle during vehicle operation (it depends on make/model), and to again rotate and insure it is fully locked into place for carrying out of the vehicle. If a parent makes a tired mistake in either scenario, the movable handle becomes a safety risk. Again, a fixed and rigid handle does not have this liability.
For some more information, you might find the following papers helpful:
- Gaw CE, Chounthirath T, Smith GA. Nursery Product-Related Injuries Treated in United States Emergency Departments. Pediatrics. 2016;139(4):e2016250U.S. Available online at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2017/03/09/peds.2016-2503
- Consumer Product Safety Commission. Injuries and Deaths Associated with Nursery Products Among Children Younger than Age Five. 2016 Annual Report. Available online at https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/Nursery%20Products%20Annual%20Report%202016.pdf
3. Has it been crash tested?
Yes, it has been independently crash tested. Additionally, we have our own crash test sled in Dallas, TX, which we use to test against the NHTSA standard impulse. Crash testing is one of our favorite things to do, because only through experimentation can we improve design and safety.
While we will always strive to improve, in our most recent, independent, crash testing of the Kioma Car Seat in a rear-facing position, using a Type I lap belt, with the CRABI 12 Month Old dummy (which weighs 10 kg, or 22 lbs), we achieved a head injury criterion (HIC) of 197 and peak chest acceleration of 40 Gs. The lower the HIC, the better. For comparison, a failing HIC score is 1001, and many competing seats on the market have scores in excess of 500. You can view some publicly-available HIC scores at https://one.nhtsa.gov/cars/testing/comply/fmvss213/index.html
Please note that the Kioma Car Seat is not presently available for purchase.
4. Who regulates infant car seats in the U.S.?
There are are two federal regulators: the NHTSA, and the CPSC.
The primary regulator is the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA). They call the baby car seats “child restraint systems” (CRS). The applicable Code of Federal Regulations is 49 CFR § 571.213 - Standard No. 213; Child restraint systems. If a car seat passes FMVSS 213 (it is a pass/fail standard) then it has met the minimum safety standards for public sale in the U.S. market.
Additionally, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regulates use outside of a motor vehicle. In this context, the CPSC calls a baby car seat an “infant carrier.” The Government Accountability Office (GAO) states the division of labor as follows: “CPSC regulates hazards associated with the use of infant carriers outside of a motor vehicle…. Overlap with NHTSA occurs with hand-held infant carriers that are also used as car seats and are therefore considered ‘motor vehicle equipment’ for the purpose of NHTSA’s jurisdiction” [GAO, 2014].
- CPSC. Hand-held Infant Carriers Business Guidance. Available online at https://www.cpsc.gov/Business--Manufacturing/Business-Education/Business-Guidance/Hand-Held-Infant-Carriers
- GAO. Consumer Product Safety Oversight, Opportunities Exist to Strengthen Coordination and Increase Efficiencies and Effectiveness. Nov, 2014. Available online at http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/667041.pdf
- GPO. Code of Federal Regulations at 16 CFR Part 1225 - Standard for hand-held infant carriers. Available online at https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title16/16cfr1225_main_02.tpl
- GPO. Code of Federal Regulations is 49 CFR § 571.213 - Standard No. 213; Child restraint systems. Available online at https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CFR-2015-title49-vol6/pdf/CFR-2015-title49-vol6-sec571-213.pdf
5. How can you say your seat is safer?
The Kioma Car Seat is the safest in the world because it not only excels in independent FMVSS 213 crash-testing, but it also protects against a whole class of perils that no other seat can. The safety features are unequaled. This the first and only infant car seat to provide an integrated roll bar which protects against injuries from drops, caregiver falls, and vehicle collisions. It is also the first and only seat with no moving parts (mechanical and usage failures are a leading cause of infant injury). The next-generation foam also excels in multiple impact collisions.
For more information, please refer to the answers above to the questions "Why is a lighter car seat safer?", "Why doesn't the handle move?", and "Has it been crash tested?".
6. Will you provide a detachable base?
We optimized the seat for an urban, mobile, lifestyle. It is exceptionally safe and easy to use with a standard lap belt. If you are riding in an Uber, Lyft, taxi, subway -- or the grandparents have the kids for a day -- no heavy base is necessary.
We are actively building a companion, detachable, base; however, we can’t publicly display it at present (patent filings are in progress). In the US market, FMVSS 213 requires us to provide a detachable base or permanently affixed Latch anchor belt.
7. Is it easy to clean?
Yes, it is easy to clean. First, the seat cushions snap in and out easily. Second, the rip-stop nylon cushions can be washed in the sink. Third, the whole interior surface of the car seat is smooth —- no more cereal traps and chemistry experiments growing in recesses! You can literally rinse the Kioma Car Seat chassis with a garden hose.