Car Seat Conundrum

Posted on February 12, 2013 under Storytelling with no comments yet

car seat

Raising children has always been a demanding job, plain and simple.  From the moment they are born, they require constant attention and as they get older, their needs change.  Today’s parents are faced with a dizzying array of options when it comes to furnishing  the house with the most technologically advanced pieces of “child safe” equipment.   And if you think the interior of the house poses challenges, just step outside and try and put your child into your car.  Before you even think of doing this, you must first take a course in mechanical engineering.  It wasn’t always this way.

When I was growing up there weren’t any seat belts, let alone car seats, and miraculously we survived.  We would drive to the beach in the summer, with the car jammed to the rafters with kids, food, buckets and shovels.  We would be elbowing and jostling and occasionally crawling over one another when tempers flared.  Back then child restraints were in the form of threats of eternal damnation.

When did things go so terribly wrong?  When did the free world come to the conclusion that a small child needed to be buckled in like an astronaut at liftoff or a Nascar driver at the start line?  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for child safety and recognize the need for car seats.  However, they leave something to be desired when it comes to simplicity.  It wouldn’t be so bad if car seats were the only pieces of child equipment that required a degree in physics to assemble.  Cribs, playpens and high chairs, with their dire safety warnings, are also a landmine for new parents.  I am showing my age.  Apparently these are no longer the politically correct names for these items.

When our children were young, I tried to install a car seat.  Once.  But car seat rage set in and I came to the conclusion that by the time I figured out how to do this, the baby would have outgrown the seat and then I would be faced with installing the next version.  Thankfully my wife had the patience and aptitude to do this or I fear that none of our children would have gone anywhere until they were ten.

And have you noticed all the warning labels?  They make it sound like you are approaching a hazardous waste site.  There’s some truth to that.  After all, the task at hand is just about as dangerous and confounding as splitting the atom.  They rarely put a toll free number in the instruction manual for fear of verbal abuse when a sleep deprived mother of a new born is trying to install a car seat.  And can you imagine if the designer ever showed up in the neighborhood?  Hell hath no fury.

Every parent has at one time or another inadvertently left a child alone in the car for a few minutes.  Admit it. You have.  But fear not, the child could not possibly extricate himself from the seat unless he was related to Houdini.

If road rage weren’t bad enough, now we have car seat rage.  The horse and buggy might make a comeback.

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