Please welcome back Heather’s dh, Matt, for Guest Wednesday.
Knowing nothing about the technical aspects of car seats makes it difficult to write a blog entry about the technical aspects of car seats. So, in thinking about a topic for another entry, I came across an obvious choice. Cows. But then something happened that gave me a better idea. The cow thing will just have to wait.
So I’m driving home from work one day, minding my own business. I pull into our neighborhood and head toward the house, which requires making three quick turns. After the second turn is typically one of those “Caution: Kids Playing in Street” signs that people stick in the middle of the street so as to force cars to swerve around it and hit light poles or utility boxes. This time, however, the sign had been run over and was lying mangled in the road with tire tracks all over it. Hopefully the same fate did not meet the children it was meant to protect.
That got me thinking about the obvious changes in the way we keep our children safe over the years. I am reminded in particular about the diamond-shaped Baby on Board signs that were popular back in the day. When I say “back in the day”, I refer to a time before modern pressures had turned most of the country’s population into sniveling, neurotic blobs, and before such wonderful conveniences such as the Internet, mobile phones and incessant commercials on television about people who poop too much, can’t poop or don’t recall if they’ve pooped or not.
But there was an obvious problem with the Baby on Board signs. They were a substitute for actual protection for our children in vehicles. Perhaps people truly believed that the guy who had been at the bar for 6 hours after work and had 28 beers would see the Baby on Board sign before blowing through the stop sign that he thought was a Heffalump and decide not to broadside that car. Instead, he’d plow into a tree or perhaps a vehicle that did not have such a sign. Thank goodness we had that sign! What a lifesaver!
As an aside, my favorite Baby on Board sign wasn’t actually a sign at all. Some guy in a beat up pickup driving on I-17 toward Flagstaff had affixed an old doll onto a spare piece of lumber and attached it to his truck. Baby on board. That’s funny stuff right there.
Fortunately, over time people came to the conclusion that the guy with the .37 blood alcohol level might not be able to distinguish between the tree, the Heffalump, the car with a Baby on Board sign and the car without a sign. We were all in danger from this bozo. So, some smart person came up with the idea that car seats could be more than broken down high chairs strapped into a car, like what all of us used to ride in, if we weren’t just playing in the rumble seat of the station wagon. At least the back window would roll down, so in a crash we would be safely ejected out the back and land in a bed of thornless roses, or perhaps into the back of a pickup truck transporting bean bags—the big ones you can sit in, not the little ones that cops shoot at the drunk guys running away from crash scenes. I had it one step better. When I was a kid, I would simply be deposited into the back seat of my dad’s 1976 Fiat Spider convertible. No pesky seat belts to get in the way back there and a clear path to the sky should there be a crash!
So, here we are in modern times with sophisticated car seats that no normal person can competently install. But this safety is a good thing, and there are plenty of people willing to help the clueless and install the seats for them. Now who will help the person that shoos the kids out the door to play in the street with no more protection than a sign pleading that drunks don’t run them down as a substitute for actual supervision?