My third eldest daughter helped me out of a bind yesterday because my 13-year old car decided to once again die on me. Trish just gave birth to a 10 lb. 1 oz. 21.5” long bruiser of a son! (He honestly looks like he could get up and walk!)
Anyway, she came to my rescue and dragged me around to deliver things to FedEx, get a rental car, etc., and so little Owen (that’s my latest grandson’s name) was tucked securely in a car seat that looked like something that was going to launch into space.
Thinking back to when I was a child (many, many moons ago), I marveled at the fact that any of us grew to adulthood! That was because there were NO car seats for infants! Our mothers used to hold us in the front seat or, when we got too large for her to handle, she would put us in a sort of bassinette that wasn’t attached to anything. It just sat on the back seat of the car and she would have to keep her arm on it if there were any sudden stops.
I also remember being carried out of my bed when I was really little to start a road trip to see my grandmother in upper state NY. My father would bundle my sister and me up and lay us either on the back seat floor (that was my designated “bed”) or put us across the back, bench seat. Seat belts weren’t even invented back then! I can tell you that the bump in the middle of the back seat floor was not conducive to sleep by any stretch of the imagination. My grandmother’s farm was 10 hours away in those days so my poor parents would start the trip at four in the morning! We were half way there before we woke up.
Fast forward to 1977. My husband and I have our first daughter and now they DO have infant car seats! They were pretty simple though. Not like these massive, protective things that this generation of parents has. I can’t even remember if there were shoulder straps! Just a belt across the waist and you looped the car seatbelt through the bottom of the chair. AND IT ALWAYS FACED FORWARD! Who knew! When the kid grew too big for the car seat in those days, we just put them in the regular seat and strapped a belt around their waist. Shoulder straps were way far in the distant imagination of some brilliant engineer! No booster seats. No laws saying you had to do this. I can remember putting pillows under my two year old and strapping them in so they could somehow look out the window! Gone are those days. And even though I had three kids under the age of four, I only ever owned one car seat! I would probably get arrested for the way we strapped kids in in those days.
So I guess I’m pretty amazed at the sophistication of infant car seats today, and at the fact that they will be four years old or so before they are allowed to sit in a regular car bench seat. And I still get really angry when I see stupid parents letting their young children wander around a moving vehicle without the safety of a strap or car seat! I salute the engineers and the safety folks for doing a great job of restraining and protecting our little ones.
But I’m still amazed that my sister and I survived!