My choice for the final four is The Anecia Survival Capsule. It’s the invention of Janusz Liberkowski This invention is a true “new to the world” concept. As such it has generated a lot of technical debate and discussion. I do not presume to know all of the answers. However the following are my personal perceptions and opinions. They are not the opinions of Janusz, Freemantle, the producers, ABC or anyone else.
1. How does the Anecia Survivor Capsule work?
When a car crashes there are two collisions. The first is when the car hits the other car or obstacle. The second is when the baby hits the seat belt or when the baby’s head get’s shaken and snapped in the direction of the impact, at the same speed that the car was going before the crash. In general, the most severe injuries including fatalities are to the head. The whipping action of the child’s head, and the forces on the head and neck structure during any impact are the main cause of the children fatality.
In the crash test that was run it was calculated that at 30 miles an hour the force on the baby’s neck is 74 lbs for a classic car seat and just 8 lbs for the Anecia Surival Capsule. At 60 miles an hour the force on the baby’s neck is 147 lbs for a classic car seat and just 9 lbs for the Anecia Surival Capsule.
Classic car seats are designed to try and “hold” the child. With no ability to "hold" the child’s head. With a classic rear facing seat this works if the crash is directly from the front and the seat is on very, very tight. In this case the seat (and safety belts) absorbs the impact against the child’s back. The child’s back, in this case, is supported under small angle to the impact vector force. The head of a child (after impact) is in motion (with big energy) "up hill" of this angle. This motion causes loadings on the child’s delicate neck structure.
Alternatively, Anecia Survival Capsule by positioning the child vertically, supports the head, absorbs the energy of the impact and lowers tremendously chance of injury or death.
Research indicates that – 75% of the time parents do not put their babies in the seats properly i.e. the seat not tight enough into the car and the straps not tight enough on the baby. The result is a second collision that can cause massive damage. In the case of an accident that is from any angle other then directly from the front – the child and in particular the child’s head – becomes a bouncing ping pong ball. The Anecia Survival Capsule protects the baby from crashes from all directions. When the force hits the baby instantly shifts. The force is absorbed, as the baby is rotated perpendicular to the impact force. And, most importantly, if the car spins, bounces or is hit more than once the seat automatically adapts in less than .005 seconds to align the baby and protect the baby. No matter what direction the hit is from the baby’s head and neck are always supported.
2. How do we know that it will really work?
We have had a USC PhD Biomedical scientist and an expert with Masters in Physics and Computer Science model the seat’s physics on a theoretical basis relative to the dynamics of a baby’s body. They concluded that the theory is sound. In particular they found that the speed of reaction in a crash is fast enough to protect the baby from the damaging forces that can be caused by the sudden jolts. The experimental results detailed earlier confirmed the findings.
3. Is the Anecia Survival Capsule too big?
The Anecia is not as big as it looks when they do close ups on TV. It’s only about 20% larger than a classic baby seat. It looks big because of the protective sides and the fact that the baby is lying down instead of being propped up. The seat is actually a series of pieces – the base unit is attached to the existing seat belt system. The dome capsule snaps into that. The cradle for the baby is removable – making it easy to lift the baby in and out – and to attach to an optional stroller frame. The Capsule is the size it is to insure Maximum Safety. It could easily be made smaller – however the current design PROTECTS THE ENTIRE FOOTPRINT – so to insure that in the event of a crash there is nothing to stop rotation and cause sudden jolts or impacts. The ultimate design of the seat will fit 95% of the cars registered in the USA. It’s anticipated that the first generation of seats will be for infants up to 7 months of age. This is the age when it is most important to protect the delicate head and neck of infants.
4. What will it cost?
Current deluxe infant seats cost about $250. It’s estimated that The Anecia will be about $295. Given the short time that the seat is used (up to age 7 months) – a marketing strategy is being looked at to build a special version for use as a rental. Parents could rent the Anecia for the 7 months – saving money and peace of mind.
5. What about this product called "the SafetyEgg" isn’t it the same thing?
The egg uses the same dynamics of dissipating momentum as Anecia. However, in my opinion it falls short as it only protects in two dimensions – front to back and side to side. This is fine if your accident is a direct hit from these directions – AND if the car doesn’t SPIN when it’s hit. While I’ve never been in a crash in the Safety Egg – I think that it would be like the feeling when on a roller coaster and the direction is suddenly changed – as the seat went from one direction to the next the shock on the body could be tremendous. The SafetyEgg movement is limited by the sets of two perpendicular hinges. The Anecia Survival Capsule is free floating hemisphere seat inside of the hemisphere protecting shell. The beauty of Anecia is that it works in 360 degrees – with no limitations. No matter what direction the car is hit from, or how the car spins the seat will dissipate the force of the collision. IN ADDITION – the SafetyEgg’s smaller size increases the potential for danger i.e. if the seat were to get caught or hit something as it spun the benefits of the seat would be compromised. Alternatively, the Anecia protects the footprint creating a complete safety zone.