The new 2015 Chevrolet Colorado Extended Cab helps address a trend of allowing children to stop using a booster seat too soon by combining the midsize pickup’s removable head rest with a rear passenger side seat cushion to better accommodate today’s larger child restraints and booster seats.
Many child restraint manufacturers require at least 80 percent of the child restraint be supported by the vehicle seat. The Colorado patent-pending rear seat cushion extension helps satisfy that requirement.
“We know there’s a lot that goes into traveling with children, so we try to make the experience as safe and stress free as possible,” said Julie Kleinert, global technical lead for child safety at General Motors. “Being a mother and grandmother myself gives me a first-hand understanding of the concerns of parents, which is why we work to make it easier to keep kids safe in our vehicles.”
As part of National Child Passenger Safety Week, Safe Kids Worldwide in partnership with the GM Foundation released a study showing nine of 10 parents allow children to transition out of the booster seat to seat belts before they reach the recommended height and weight of 57 inches and at least 80 pounds.
Improving accommodation of booster seats and child restraints in the limited space available in the rear seat of a midsize extended cab pickup is just one approach Chevrolet is taking.
Whether young passengers require booster seats, forward-facing child restraints or rear-facing child restraints, the Chevrolet Impala’s generous rear seating area provides plenty of room for carrying children safely and comfortably without encroaching on the space for the adults in the front seat. Additionally, the Impala offers easy to access child restraint LATCH anchorages for all three rear seating positions offering further flexibility to a growing family.
“GM conducts a variety of assessments on vehicles to make sure rear seats, safety belts and child restraint LATCH anchors accommodate a wide range of child restraints on the market,” Kleinert said. “Safety belts are developed to work for a range of occupant sizes, including adults, child restraints and children who are too large for child restraints.”
Another feature that is available or that can be fitted at GM dealerships are shoulder belt comfort guides for backseat vehicle occupants on the driver and passenger sides. These plastic guides attach to the rear seat or side trim and help position the shoulder strap of the seat belt so that it fits more comfortably on smaller adults and children who have outgrown child restraints.
Improving the comfort of the shoulder belt increases the likelihood that child passengers who are big enough to use the safety belt will wear it correctly and not be tempted to put the shoulder belt behind their back or under their arm – a practice that significantly increases the risk of serious injury in a crash.
Two other safety features that parents may not be aware of – one for escape and one for security – are designed with children in mind: a glow-in-the-dark emergency trunk release that children can easily locate if they are somehow trapped in a locked trunk, and rear door safety locks that prevents adventurous little ones from opening the rear door from the inside.