child safety seats

I had a revelation a while back. I had long been annoyed with parents who would have the back doors of their car wide open and taking up the parking space that I wanted while putting their child into or taking them out of the child safety seat. Then it hit me. They are simply following the law.

Things were different when my brother and I were growing up. Before we got our station wagon my dad set up a plywood platform covered with a blanket in the back of our Ford sedan. We would sit back there and play on our trips between Barstow, where we lived for three years, and Hemet, where the rest of the family was. After we got the station wagon we’d sit back there with the back seat folded down.

Probably not the safest thing, but we survived. I think that we as a society today tend to be a bit overprotective. I understand that dodge ball has generally been eliminated from elementary schools. Has to do with self-esteem or something. But I don’t know anyone my age who was permanently warped by the game, and we played a lot of it.

Safety seats are a different matter, however. They are well-designed based on decades of analysis and testing. Automobile and safety experts know how to make a child as safe as possible in a car. And although the kid may be a bit lonely strapped in the back seat instead of being in the front seat with mom, they are as safe as they can be if the seat is installed properly.

It’s one of those things, though, that took the longest time for me to “get it.”

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