Air Protect

5 ways to make a vintage car safer for your family

There are some structural changes you can make to a vintage car to bring it up to 2017 standards… and then there are super simple add-ons such as car seats with Air Protect™ Technology

By Nathan Gardiner

For the last 17 years I’ve enjoyed the luxury of driving company cars, and by that I mean, luxury cars. Cars that answered needs that sometimes hadn’t been discovered yet! Kick a foot under the bumper bar, the boot would spring open, walk near the car it would open, self-closing, soft closing, auto parking, mirror dipping, voice control, cup holders, bottle holders, cruise control, climate control, power tailgate, power steering and 5-star crash protection.

Despite 17 years of luxury, I have never lost my love for vintage and veteran cars, so earlier this year when it came to actually purchasing a car for myself, I went for something very very different, very analogue, something with a lot less luxury than my family or I had been accustomed to, by a long shot, but something iconic and known to put a smile on a face the whole world around. I bought a globally recognised freedom machine, but there was one small {okay big} issue pressing in my mind and that was that the safety technology was 40+ years old; no airbags, no EBD, no ABS, really not much of anything at all.

Once Helga the VW bus was back in Melbourne, I took to making her the safest I could for my family and this included:

  1. replacing old tyres with new,
  2. checking the brakes were in mint condition,
  3. having a specialist engineer install a rear bar, that increased the internal fortitude of the bus,
  4. renewing the seat belts as an added precautionary measure as well as installing three safety harness points for child restraints in the safest part of the car and
  5. installing kids car seats that include Air Protect™ technology

I recently learned of the Safety 1st Prime Air Protect convertible booster seat and it answered a question that my conscience had been tapping me on the shoulder about; it has a secured 3 point harness for children under 48 months with the ADR top tether and it converts to a booster for children aged 4-8 years.  But the stand out feature is the airbag technology called Air Protect.

*Please consult with a professional to ensure car seat has been fitted correctly

Air Protect™ is designed to reduce the severity of side impact crash forces by absorbing the energy and transferring that energy away from your child’s head. Side impact car accidents are especially dangerous for children and cause a third 
of all child crash fatalities, nearly all of which are due to head injuries. (You can read more about Air Protect technology here:

I installed* my first Prime AP seat on the weekend, it was apparent that the comfort was there; the material covering the seat provided cushion & a durable texture, both my 2-year-old and 5 year old tried it out in its two configurations, clearly cup holders are something they’d been missing in the freedom machine! I am impressed with its safety; the advent of an airbag built into the child seat brings a new level of safety into an old car.

So now I’m able to drive around in a freedom machine with a few less taps on the shoulder from my conscience and after I install the second Prime AP seat, my boys will both have comfortable safe seats. I will be a lot more comfortable in the knowledge that they are far safer in car seats with the inbuilt airbags, they will be happy about the cup holders!

Disclaimer:  for the purpose of this blog post we were supplied with a Saftey 1st Prime seat with Air Protect Technology.  All views are those of our reviewer.