Monday, March 21, 2011

Car Seats: A Brief Rant

Confession: I'm all for safety. But sometimes I'm more for not fighting with my children.

Car safety reports just came out with new recommendations for children. The recommendations are for kids under 2 years old to be in rear facing car seats. While I'm all for safety, clearly these people don't work with actual children. At least neither of my children enjoyed riding backwards as soon as they were long enough to be able to see out the window from their seat. The backwards motion wasn't fun for them; neither was not being able to see. Admittedly, we turned our children around before we were supposed just for the mere sake of being able to travel with them.

And while I don't mind having children in booster seats longer, maybe we could get the manufacturers of sedans, minivans and other vehicles that will most likely be used by families with children to find a way to make the seats in the back (and their safety restraints) more child-usable. I've seen very few times where adults are sitting in the back of a minivan, yet the seat belts tend to be fastened near the ceiling of the vehicle.

I remember the days before wearing seat belts became a law. And I'm all for wearing seat belts. They save lives. Period. I don't drive on the road without wearing one. But I also wonder when we'll get to the point of recommending that children be wrapped in a protective cocoon that is fastened to the floor of the vehicle and surrounded by air bags on all sides. Sometimes we can go a little overboard because we tend to be more driven by litigation than common sense. (I love Bob Stromberg's reflections of car safety back in the day when we considered the arm rest in a sedan's front seat to be a place for children to sit--along with the ledge under the back window.)


  1. It's easy for me to opine as I have neither a car nor a child :). But I thought the explanations in the Times article were pretty compelling.

  2. Thanks, Deborah. I know the research is compelling. It's just annoying. Plus, we know plenty of adult women who don't meet the recommendations for being out of a booster seat.