Children's Car Seats
13 artifacts in this set
Children usually roamed free in moving vehicles in the early years of the automobile travel. Restraints, if any, were for the convenience of the parent. This child car seat from around 1930 kept the child seated and within view of mother or father. It offered little protection during an accident.
Ways of protecting child passengers have changed. In this 1935 Chrysler ad, children and passenger are not restrained with seatbelts or safety seats. Protection, according to the ad, comes from "a bridgework of steel." Today, children travel securely strapped into well-anchored and cushioned car seats and are much safer -- even when daddy speeds smoothly along at sixty miles per hour.
Montgomery Ward sold this "Tiny World Deluxe Sit-N-Stand Car Seat" in the mid-1960s. As suggested, little children could ride in a seated or standing position--a convenient feature for the parent. For protection, a catalog ad stated the seat's padding would absorb "bumps." Would you trust your child's safety in this seat today?
The child in this car seat has his own steering wheel to occupy his time while on the road. This unanchored car seat from the early 1960s, however, offered little protection in case of an accident.
Child seats are as old as automobiles, though for many years they were more about keeping the child out of mom's and dad's way than protecting her in an accident. General Motors' rear-facing "Infant Love Seat," introduced in 1969, became the model for all future infant car seats and helped inspire states to pass safety seat laws starting in 1978.
General Motors introduced its rear-facing "Infant Love Seat" in 1969. The design became a model for future infant car seats and helped push states to pass safety seat laws starting in 1978. GM promoted convenience as well as safety in these 1977 photos. The company's available folding "Love Mobile" unit turned the car seat into a stroller.
Child seats are as old as automobiles, though for many years they were more about keeping the child out of mom's and dad's way than protecting her in an accident. General Motors' "Child Love Seat," introduced in 1967, became a model for future child car seats and helped inspire states to pass safety seat laws starting in 1978.
American car manufacturers developed child restraints designed for crash protection in the late 1960s. One of the first was Ford's Tot-Guard, seen in this photograph. The seatbelt secured the padded shield and seat. This early and effective restraint was not widely used, however. Only with more stringent regulations, public education, and mandated use would children safely ride in automobiles.
Saturn Corporation, a division of General Motors from 1985 to 2010, built its brand on being different from other American carmakers. Its operations were in Spring Hill, Tennessee -- far from Detroit in distance and philosophy. This 1991 ad paints the Saturn as a car designed with passenger safety foremost in engineers' minds. Special latches and seat belts keep children secure.
The first state laws requiring child safety seats -- passed in 1978 -- not only protected young passengers, they also stimulated the market for the seats themselves. Automakers, baby products companies and toy manufacturers all got into the safety seat business at various times. This 1988 advertisement promotes the comfort and convenience of a seat produced by toymaker Fisher-Price.
Fisher-Price produced this infant safety seat in 1991. It provided security for the infant while in the car, but also provided convenience for the parent. The seat doubled as an infant carrier. The baby could be transported comfortably and securely in or out of a car with this seat.
Kids are physically safer in the crashed-tested car seats of today. They have lost the freedom to play unrestrained, however. This digital image, taken in 2003, shows Eva Lundeen safely strapped in a booster seat ready for travel.
Child passenger safety begins when children are born and continues as they grow. Britax manufactured this seat for a child weighing up to 65 pounds. A child's weight and height influenced the location and installation of the seat within the vehicle. The instruction booklet, stored under the seat cover, provided quick access to proper set up requirements.