Journal: A Graphic History of Child "Safety" Seats

A Graphic History of Child “Safety” Seats

By Petrolicious Productions
January 15, 2014
13 comments

Given that three-point seat belts weren’t available in a car until 1959, it shouldn’t be too surprising that child safety wasn’t given serious thought until more recently either. It seems that child seats were initially devised as a way to allow small children to look out the windows (more like booster seats) and then as a method of keeping them immobilized so they couldn’t leap from seat to seat, creating a distraction.

It wasn’t until 1962 that two men simultaneously designed child safety seats (seemingly unbeknownst to each other) featuring different concepts. One, designed by Briton Jean Ames, was a rearward facing seat that featured a Y-strap, similar to today’s models. The second, designed by American Len Rivkin, buckled the child into a seat surrounded by a metal frame. Auto manufacturers and aftermarket seat companies soon followed suit, developing their own seats.

Check out some early examples below, they range from children’s automotive lawn furniture to dangerous, steel baby-prison.

Image Sources: bellissimakids.com, topclassiccars-of-alltime.blogspot.com, vintagechildabuse.blogspot.com, automechanicschools.net, jilmcintosh.typepad.com, volvocar.com, babble.com, retrolifestyle.com, boingboing.net, knittingiris.typepad.com, grayflannelsuit.net, jalopyjournal.com, teambuick.com

Join the Conversation
Related
0 0 votes
Article Rating
13 Comments
newest
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Ray Houghton
Ray Houghton
4 years ago

I’m almost 60 now, never wore seat belts growing up. I remember standing on the seat while being driven around. Wasn’t till I reached my mid 20s that I started wearing safety belts. I guess I’m lucky to have survived.

pattollie
pattollie
8 years ago

Not that I would ever want to go back to those days – but least the cars didn’t go so fast back in the day! I do remember some of these things though in all honesty, even though I never did use any of them.

Joanna
8 years ago

I don’t believe it! 😀 Crazy!

Bill Flinchbaugh
Bill Flinchbaugh
8 years ago

As an industry, we had to start somewhere and since none of these products were subject to crash testing or safety performance requirements, for their time, there worked well. As a child, I rode on some of them. Defensive driving and not being in the car as much as kids born today, along with some luck, is what helped us survive. The idea that a child riding in a car seat of one of these designs or standing in the car would prompt an immediate ticket or arrest is not correct as most law enforcement officers are not trained in car seat law or its enforcement. What we have now is light years better, yet less than 10\% of parents properly install or use their car seats, so are we really that far along. This blog entry is a great step in moving the conversation forward, but we have a long way to go. Visit my web site and call me if you like. Cheers!

Chelsea N Riegel
Chelsea N Riegel
8 years ago

What is your website? I am very into car seat safety and proper use…ERF, extended harnessing…I would love to visit your site!

Car seat
Car seat
8 years ago

Visit Car Seats for the Littles Facebook page for a wealth of information. They are all certified, up to date techs that give you car seat recommendations based on your child’s height, weight, and car make/model. Invaluable!

Mom of 5
8 years ago

Check out [url=”http://thecarcrashdetective.cf”]The Car Crash Detective[/url] for information on extended rear facing; I learned from there that it’s actually a lot safer to rear face for a long period of time than to forward face, and that there are actually seats that allow children to remain rear facing for up to 50 lbs!

Mike in São Paulo
Mike in São Paulo
4 years ago

Most law enforcement aren’t really trained in any laws.

Jim Bair
Jim Bair
8 years ago

It is a wonder any of us survived. My preferred car riding position when growing up was in the back, standing up, straddling the “hump” on the floor, with both hands on the back of my parent’s front seat so I could see straight ahead.

Today, parents would be pulled over and immediately carted off to jail for allowing that.

Zak
Zak
8 years ago

The outside the door one is my favorite. The epitome of common sense.

cheryl
cheryl
8 years ago
Reply to  Zak

The outside the car one was only put there after they stopped. It was normally attached over the back of the vehicle seat.

Zak
Zak
8 years ago

Oh. My. God.

mattdogg02
mattdogg02
8 years ago
Reply to  Zak

These are truly greatness