As a father of two, this is a great read for all parents out there! Granted this is specific to the new Passat but if you are looking for a new vehicle.. The integration is excellent but it doesn’t allow for sharing between vehicles. (*note: Not sure if this relates to US vehicles)
Volkswagen now offers new integrated child seats in the Passat and Passat Estate. The seats for children between three and twelve years old (weight class II to III) offer excellent protection for frontal, rear and side-on crashes. They are operated with minimum effort and are fully collapsible in the rear seat bench.
Around 50 percent of all child road casualties die as passengers inside vehicles because they were not or wrongly secured. According to European studies more than half of all child seats are wrongly fitted or used. Integrated child seats minimise these risks, as wrong fitting is not possible. There is no annoying fitting and removal of often bulky mobile child seats.
The newly designed child seat in the Passat is fitted into the rear seat bench either on its own or as a pair. In comparison to earlier integrated solutions it exhibits essential improvements – for example head and lap side support. During side impact the side head restraints minimise the relative movement of head to chest and form an important addition to the restraint systems. The load on the child’s sensitive cervical vertebrae is reduced by up to 60 percent. The side head restraints are simply fastened to the brackets of the existing standard head restraints with the help of a patented snap-on mechanism and are just as easily removed. The function of the rear side airbags remains fully preserved.
If required the foldable seat surfaces, the so called ‘Booster’ can be pulled up with a handle on the front of the seat bench until it clicks into place in the raised position. Foldaing side supports offer optimal restraint for the child’s lap and thighs. When the seat is lowered back down in the rear bench, the side supports automatically fold into the horizontal out-of-use position. When not in use the seat surfaces fit custom tailored into the rear bench and does not interfere with the seat comfort for adults.
During a crash the rear section of the raised seat surface automatically sinks in a fraction of a second, effectively preventing the child from slipping under the belt. This intentional and controlled ‘collapse’ of the booster, systematically absorbs impact energy. This patented mechanism protects most of all during frontal collisions.
Seat height and side head restraint ergonomics allow an optimal command of the three point belt. The three point belt buckle has been modified in order to extend the belt during impact to enable soft cushioning. Numerous crash tests confirm the excellent protection of the integrated child seats in the Passat in frontal and rear-on collisions as well as side impact collisions. All specified European safety norms have been fulfilled.
Even the design has been improved: control elements such as the release handle are discretely formed and are not obvious at first glance. Nevertheless they are simple and self explanatory, ergonomic and functional. An example: the surface under the seat release handle also serves as a comfortable step for the child’s feet. The surface is non-slip and easy to clean.
The child seat in the new Passat is available in all four equipment packages – Trendline, Comfortline, Sportline and Highline and costs 255 EUR for the single seat and 445 EUR for the pair. Attractive for taxi-drivers: in conjunction with the Passat Taxi package the single child seat costs 101 EUR and the two seats are available for 295 EUR. Isofix fittings for mobile child seats are included as standard in the Passat.
Volkswagen has offered integrated child seats since 1998, at that time also initially in the Passat. There are similar solutions in the Sharan and in the Multivan for which up to four integrated child seats can be ordered. Integrated child seats are also part of the Seat Alhambra as optional equipment.”
– VW Media