All parents want to keep their children safe in the car. Having a quality car seat is a good start, but there are many options and several ways to secure each one inside your vehicle. With so many safety regulations for car seats in place today, it is hard to imagine a time when there were no safety standards. Knowing a few facts on the history of child safety seats may make you more comfortable when installing one for your child.
Early Child Safety Seats
When cars first became popular, child safety was not a big concern. The first car seat appeared in the 1930s as nothing more than a piece of fabric attached to a metal frame that hooked onto the back of front seats. It was a way to keep children contained while riding in the car but did little to secure them safely.
In the 1940s, a booster seat was invented for children, but it also was ill-equipped to protect a baby. It wasn’t until the late 1960s when child safety became an issue. Several companies such as General Motor and Ford Motor Company competed to release child safety seats that cushioned children securely to protect them. For the first time, different models were created for kids and infants, but there were few regulations set in place.
In the 1970s, regulations appeared that required car seats to utilize both seat belts and secure harnesses. In 1985, the first laws were passed that stated children must use car seats at all times. However, even with these two mandates, there were still very few regulations in place until the LATCH system hit the market.
In 1995, systems using Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children became the leading way to secure car seats properly inside vehicles. Lower anchors are the metal bars located in a vehicle seat bight, and tethers may be attached to the roof, floor, or the back of the seat, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. A LATCH system makes car seats easy to install. Although parents often have an option as to whether they prefer to use the anchors or the seat belt to secure a child safety seat, the LATCH system typically works better for rear-facing seats.
ISOFIX is the international version of LATCH. While the concept for both systems is similar, the execution is different. An ISOFIX car seat attaches to the lower anchors using alligator clips, while a LATCH system uses open clips. LATCH systems are used primarily in the United States, while most of the world uses ISOFIX as its installation standard.
New Child Safety Seat Advancements
As children grow, they upgrade from car seats to boosters and graduate from using anchors for security to relying solely on seatbelts. With strict safety seat regulations in place worldwide, technology continues to improve the safety of the traditional car seats and boosters. With these advances comes the invention of a new style of booster that is safe, secure, and portable.
While traditional booster seats raise a child up to the height of adults when riding in the car, the mifold booster seat functions by holding the seatbelt down to secure the child safely. It folds easily into a small, compact rectangle that can be stored anywhere, solving many carpooling problems. Because you can take this booster with you wherever you go, there is no need to spend time uninstalling car seats only to reinstall them in another vehicle moments later. This product represents the future of child safety seats by solving the portability problem.
Keeping Your Children Safe
Whether your children are young enough to use a car seat or tall enough for a booster, there are a few safety tips you can follow to better ensure that they are protected in the car. Unlike vintage car seats, modern safety seats should be properly secured in the backseat for the child’s protection. Whether you use ISOFIX, the LATCH system, or a seat belt to hold the seat in place, make sure that the car seat meets the strict regulations for child safety. Today’s child safety seats are tested extensively to ensure that they function correctly, but it is important to note that safety was not always a main concern. As technology advances, there will be more of both improvements and regulations with the focus on keeping children safe in the car.