Technicians at Renault have adapted the equipment that shields the heads of the firm’s F1 stars to stop youngsters from sliding out of seat harnesses.
To be introduced on the Espace MPV range and made available on supermini models from early this year, the special headrest makes sure children remain secure on long journeys.
Speaking at Renault’s advanced vehicle engineering and research centre near Paris, the manufacturer’s child safety expert Veronique Denier said: ‘A lot of people make the mistake of regarding a child as a small adult and they don’t realise the importance of protecting the neck.
‘A baby’s head is relatively large at birth and this places extra strain on the neck during the early years.
‘The situation is not unlike that facing racing drivers, who have extra strain on their necks because of the weight of their crash helmets.
‘Our new head restraint works in the same way to provide additional support in front and rear impacts and also cushion the head if the car is involved in a side impact.’
To be called Sleep Safe, the £50 option forms part of the centre rear head restraint, which flips forward and down over the head and is designed to help keep the child’s body in an upright position at all times.