The brand-new Genius™ harness system - expertly engineered with a magnetic and mechanical fastening for comfort, ease and style - is now available on Pioneer 21 and Wave 21. John Jennings, product designer at Silver Cross, talks us through the inspiration, processes and safety features of the Genius new design.
Product designer, John Jennings.
What’s your role at Silver Cross?
I’m a product designer and take care of the hardware elements of all Silver Cross products - from the variation of plastics used in our pram chassis, to the metal fastenings found in the buckles of our harnesses, and everything in between.
Sometimes I’ll be working on updating an existing product to improve its visual appearance, function or the user experience. Other times I’ll work on a ‘ground up’ development, where everything in the design project is completely new – just like the Genius™ harness system.
No matter what the job is, every part of the design is meticulously researched, engineered, and considered at every stage to ensure all of our products are the highest quality – we’re very thorough!
Tell us about the Genius™ harness system
The Genius™ harness system is completely different to the harness it’s replacing – the usability, ergonomics and aesthetic have been brought right up to date. The buckle comprises a five-way magnetic attachment to each of its mouldings, so all sections of the five-point harness (chest, waist and crotch) can be independently connected to one another.
There’s also a reliable mechanical fixing to make the buckle ultra-secure – it can only be released using a pinching motion of the button on the front face. This movement means the user no longer needs to fiddle with the front and back piece of the buckle and potentially disturb their child during nap time.
In terms of design, we’ve made this a jewel to look at, incorporating our signature chrome ring and unique branding to the main face for a more elegant and premium feel.
Shop: Wave 21 Charcoal
What was the process behind the design?
As the buckle was a brand-new development there was a lot to consider. The main aim was to create a quick, safe and hassle-free movement to secure the child into the pushchair, ensuring they’re comfortable at all times – making a parent’s life much easier.
Firstly, we looked at how we could update the original buckle that had been a part of all Silver Cross prams and strollers for a number of years. From this, and the valuable feedback provided by our customers, we drew our own conclusions on what could be improved.
The introduction of a magnetic closure would mean effortless usability, with a reliable mechanical fixing giving parents reassurance that the buckle is the safest it can be. We wanted the user to find it intuitive, quick and easy when buckling in a child, so the design had to reflect this.
Before creating the pieces to hold all elements of the harness and buckle together, we held internal focus groups at all stages of development and created prototypes to give us a better understanding of how the final product would look, feel and function.
Once the design was finalised it was time for testing to begin. Every product we create, whether that’s a car seat or a cup holder, goes through vigorous testing to meet its required safety regulations. Our factory would test all the functionalities of the buckle, going above and beyond any independent test lab to ensure the buckle is of the highest quality.
After we receive the real buckles off the production line, they are attached to the pushchairs and are independently tested under every standard for all our global markets.
This whole process from start to finish took around 12 months.
What was the reason for the update?
At Silver Cross we aim to lead the industry in terms and design and usability, so we’re always looking to improve and innovate by reviewing our products. The Genius™ harness and magnetic buckle replaces a buckle that has been part of our products for many years and performed a task that’s necessary on every pushchair. However, we thought now was the time to reinvent our buckle with a more modern design to bring it into the 21st century.
Is the new design child-proof?
Every product we create is tested to our own safety requirements, going above and beyond the necessary standards, to ensure the utmost protection for the user and the child.
The Genius™ harness system is no exception. As well as our internal testing standards, we also obtain external testing certification which is carried out by an independent test lab in accordance to EU and Global regulations. No buckle can be fitted to any pushchair until these standards are passed.
Children sat in the pushchair will be unable to release the buckle whilst they’re wearing it due to the mechanical fixing on the release button, giving extra peace of mind for mum and dad.
Does the Genius™ harness system provide more comfort for baby?
With the buckle being a magnetic closure and the underside being flat and flush to baby’s tummy, there’s no risk of putting pressure on them or catching their clothing or skin in the fastening, so there’s less stress on the child.
The harness itself has also had an update. We’ve introduced a pop-out feature, allowing a much smoother transition when getting baby in and out of the pram. Cosseted chest pads, now much longer, wider and thicker, are made with a premium cushioned material, protecting your child from the plastic componentry keeping them safe underneath.