Safe Travel (?)

Having a child, one quickly learns about child car seats (we were not allowed to leave the hospital without a car seat approved by the hospital) and safe travel with your child..."rear-facing", "forward-facing", "ball-in-the-green-zone", etc. At a certain age and weight, our son will graduate to some sort of "booster seat". And until he is 12, he's not even allowed to ride in the front seat (I don't think).

What was legal 25 years ago (and not considered scary or unsafe) would probably send one to jail today, however. One of my fondest memories of family travel when I was growing up was riding down the highway with my two younger brothers in the back of my dad's pick-up truck sitting on a metal bench seat pushed against the back. The seat was as high as the sides of the truck and there was nothing restraining us to the seat or the seat to the truck, either. Thank goodness my dad was a good driver.

I sure had fun riding that way, and am glad that I have memories of it, but there is no way I would ever do that again! The thought of my son riding that way sends a shiver down my spine.

mark, Aug 1 2005 10:36AM

and what about fights about who sits in the front seat? i suppose the best view in the house could be in the backseat since it is now elevated but come on.

we owned a volkswagon camper that uncomfortably seated 5 when i was a kid. it did, howevera have a generous floor area between the front seats and the back seat (for cooking & living). on long trips my parents would unfold two lawn chairs in that space and we would fight over who had to sit there. a good curve could send the unrestrained chairs (and their unrestrained occupants) over. fortunately we never had a wreck.

dawg, Aug 1 2005 1:18PM

Many years ago, mom had to transport a lazy boy-style recliner in the back of our station wagon. Given the size of this thing, she couldn't see out the back via the rear-view, so I was designated rear-view-looker and got to ride the whole 3-hour trip nestled in the chair (note that the thing had to be in full recline mode to completely fit in the car). Best--and most comfortable trip--ever.

Chris, Aug 1 2005 5:28PM

My family had a couple of the old Volkswagen beetles and if you recall there was a small storage area behind the rear seat, just above the engine. This was great fun to ride in as a small child. More shockingly, I can recall studying the seats belts in our vehicles and wondering in what circumstances one would make use of them!

guido, Aug 1 2005 5:50PM

my life shows the same path, no seat's guidelines or law enforcement during my childhood. Here in Lawlessland® Ecuador there are no rules pertaining car seats hence no car seats available except for a few "Latinized" versions of BabyRUs. We are one of the strangely weird couples who have not one but two seats. Of course two kids to go along with those seats. Just yesterday I saw a car full of kids standing up in the back seat eating watermelon. I wonder the feeling being exchanged between the gazes of my kids, well secured in their seats seeing their counterparts standing while munching watermelon versus those watermelon eaters watching my kids tied to those strange looking seats; who is the alien? I prefer all the regulations, even the crazy overreacting and overwhelming American regulations opposed to seeing these "human airbags" traveling happily and freely in a black pavement casino table.

If not for these regulation Emilio Lobo, my son would be history now after a crash on I95, VA.

spaceneedl, Aug 1 2005 8:16PM

ann, i rode in the back of the pick-up exactly the same way. now i get queasy if i see a dog unsecured in a truck bed.

25 years from now, who knows? our kids will probably shake their heads in wonder that we survived without an impact-negating force field with future-vision accident avoidance technology (tm).

sandie, Aug 2 2005 1:25PM

my dad has said that when we were born, he built a box that fit into the backseat of our VW bug, filled it with blankets and that's how my sister and I were delivered from hospital to home.

and as kids, my sister and i would each curl up in the floor cubbies behind the front seats and sleep there for long car rides. we had so much more mobility back then.

but it is nice how today's car seats boost kids up so that they can see out the windows.

Chris, Aug 2 2005 1:49PM

In fairness to our parents, don't underestimate their tried and trued method of quickly extending an arm across the passenger's chest when the car came to a sudden stop.

I really like the VW baby box. The engine also keeps you warm!