a child in a car
Safety rules became standardized for a reason.
We’ve learned that it is dangerous to be in an accident when traveling at high speeds without a restraint.
This attitude has changed the car seat industry over time as well.
The first car seats came to the American market in the early 1930s.
Their goal wasn’t to provide a safer riding experience.
Parents used them to stop their children from moving around the vehicle while they were driving.
The First Safe Car Seats Appeared in the 1960s
Many of the older car seat designs were built to let children look out the window while someone drove.
Several models accomplished this feat.
One remarkable model strapped over the top of the adult seat.
The child would then sit unrestrained in the front seat next to the driver.
You could even hang this one outside the door to keep your child still if you were busy.
Another design was like a miniature high chair that you could place on the front bench between two adults.
It unfolded like a portable outdoor seat.
Then a small tray opened that could hold a plate and cup for the little one.
It wouldn’t be until the 1960s when the first versions of a safer car seat began to reach the market.
Even then, the focus was still more on boosting the child than restraining them.
What Made the 1960s a Different Era?
Parents began to realize that placing an unrestrained child in a car while in a booster seat wasn’t a safe idea.
Two new designs reached the market in the 1960s.
Leonard Rivkin created one with a metal frame that included a buckle.
Jean Ames used a rear-facing option that incorporated a Y-shaped strap that is similar to what today’s models use.
Even then, there were some questionable options.
The Tot-Guard from Ford came out in 1968.
It was a plastic chair that had a padded area in front of a child’s face.
The goal was to have the item serve as a cushion on impact.
The first standards were finally implemented in 1971.
It took some time for the car seat industry to grow up, but now their products are saving lives every day.