For those who are grandparents, you have seen the changes that have been reflected in the manufacture of car seats and the laws that have been enacted involving car seat safety. Anyone past the age of forty remembers that you brought the baby home from the hospital in either a car bed or an infant seat. It wasn't until the 70's that a seat was available which could was rear facing for an infant and convertible to a car seat as the child became old enough to sit up. Even then, this early combination seat would not have met the carseat safety ratings as we know them today, mainly because they did not include a five-point harness to secure baby in the seat when forward facing. Many did not include padding or secure sides so that if the baby fell asleep in the car seat, he or she would not fall over the side. Fortunately, car seat safety has come a long way in the past thirty-five years, and even in the last five years, many changes have taken place.
Looking back over the years at car seat safety makes one wonder how children survived a crash. The aforementioned car beds had nothing to really secure them in the seat other that the seat belt secured around its legs: in the event of a crash, there was no protection for the baby, so ejection became a real problem. The infant seats of the 70's had no padding or secure sides, and as such, were not safe as a car seat. Some parents did use them that way for convenience's sake. As we reached the mid 80's, car seat safety became to become an issue, and the advent of car seat safety ratings began to take form. The federal government stepped in, forcing the manufacturers to adhere to certain policies concerning car seat safety including the introduction of the five-point harness and a headrest that would keep a child's head from rolling around. . Later issues developed such as weight-restrictions on the seats, and a booster seat, which had a five-point harness but was build for the older child.
The downside I see in some of this is the fact that the federal government and the individual states had to step in to force parents to adhere to car seat safety, mainly meaning to put their child in one! It appalls me to think that a parent has to be forced to put their infant and toddler in a car seat, yet other parents did so before there was any such longer directing it. Who cares if the child doesn't like it? As the parent, it is your responsibility to look after the safety of your children, and letting them run around in the back seat of a moving car does not fulfill that obligation. Because of this certain standards had to be adapted, even to some cars, which were equipped with built in car seats. No one should be wary of change that is going to prevent the injury of one of their loved ones, and if a law is enacted that is going to protect those you love, it isn't a violation of your rights, contrary to popular belief. A real car seat safety feature would be to find a way to make the seats in a car weight-restrictive, so that if a child too young for a seat belt is placed on the seat, the car will not move until the child is placed in an approved car seat.
Now, how's that for taking away rights? Our children and grandchildren are our future leaders of this country, and whatever it takes to protect them should be done. The car seat laws are a start, but some of the car seats are very difficult to secure: manufacturers need to find a way to make them both safe and easy to secure in the car. By doing that, perhaps the issue of parents not wanting to use them would end.