Remember When Only Infants Had to Ride in Car Seats?

Remember when only infants had to ride in those specially-made car seats?

I do.

Actually, what I remember is riding in a car.  I have no memory of riding in a car seat.  That is because only infants had to ride in car seats.  By the time you were old enough to remember something so humiliating, you no longer had to do it.  Nature’s built-in protection.

Even the seat belt was an imposition.  In the back seat in some of the older cars the belts and buckles would get stuck in the crack, and you would rip that thin layer of skin that cover the base of your fingernails trying to extract the belts.  Your hands would be covered in crumbs and unidentifiable grime by the time the safety device was located.  And wearing the belt was uncomtable.  The lap belts cut into my abdomen, and the shoulder belts cut into my neck.  I didn’t know why we had to wear these uncomfortable belts.  We hardly ever got into accidents.

I heard that today the hospital staff will not let the parents take a baby home unless they verify that the parents have the appropriate car seat installed.  My parents took me home in a laundry basket.  This was during the energy crisis and they wanted to double up on errands – do load of laundry, pick up newborn.

Today, some states, like New York, require that an child ride in a car seat until age 8.  I distinctly remember being in the first grade, riding in the back seat of the car wearing jeans and one of those life preserver jackets Marty McFly wore in Back to the Future, and wanting to look cool by sitting with one foot up on the seat so that my bent knee was pointing straight up at the ceiling.  I would not have felt very cool doing this in a child car seat like the one pictured above.

But they say that the child car seats are necessary because kids, being smaller, can slip out from underneath the regular seat belts.  I guess kids today just aren’t eating enough.  If they were more obese they wouldn’t slip out.  Then they would look cool.

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