A new development for children’s automotive safety has been unveiled; the first ever airbag-fitted car seat.

Maxi-Cosi has unveiled its latest forward-facing seat, the AxissFix Air i-Size. It is the first children’s car seat to feature airbags. The firm believes that this will provide major improvements to protection for a child’s neck and head in the event of an accident.

Maxi-Cosi’s UK managing director Andrew Ratcliffe told the BBC: ‘We have found that it reduces the forces on a child’s neck by 55 per cent. That’s a significant increase in safety for children.’

The airbags are built into padded straps that rest beneath the neck, hooked over the child’s shoulders and attached to the car seats’ harness. A chest clip is used to hold them together, which has only recently been possible due to a change in regulations for car seats.

While parents have previously been told that child airbags could increase danger due to the explosive forces, but this seat takes a different approach to alleviate that concern. Deployment is achieved using compressed air to inflate the bag when triggered, rather than the detonation that is standard fare with most airbags.

Sensors in the ‘Isofix’ – the attachment points for child seats – trigger the system, dubbed ‘Air Safety technology’. The sensors will deploy the airbags within two hundredths of a second, and the airbags themselves fill with cooled CO2 within 0.05 seconds.

The sensors are designed to only trigger inflation in severe incidents, and thus, there should be no fears of unnecessary deployment during a minor crash or heavy braking.

The AxissFix Air i-Size range is significantly more expensive than other models produced by Maxi-Cosi, but the benefits could well be worth the extra cost as the push for increased safety for young children in cars continues.

UK law dictates that children must travel in a car seat until they are 12 years old or 135cm tall.