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Before Car Seats

Updated on August 29, 2016
Safely belted in.
Safely belted in.

In 1981 we almost lost our little son one afternoon. I had gone to get my husband where he taught school so he could have a bit of lunch. Our son and his little friend were in the back of our car (Volkswagen bus). I was making a U-turn and the children were jumping around, when all of a sudden I felt a bump and through my rear-view mirror I saw that the back doors of the van were wide open. I turned around and was horrified to see that the two children were not there. I stopped the car, jumped out and looked for the children. One was lying in the gutter near the sidewalk and my son was right smack in the middle of the road, just lying there. Luckily we lived in a small town in the desert and traffic was minimal, even at lunchtime. I realize how much worse this could have ended.

The little girl had a few bruises and cuts, but my son did not respond very well. We took him to the doctors and he was diagnosed with a concussion. We stayed up watching him most of the night and checking his eyes with a flashlight. This same son has fallen on that part of his head so many times from other mishaps that his hair refuses to grow there.

When I think back to those days, we had no regulations from the state or federal government regarding using car restraints. We did not have seat belts or car seats for children then, but when I think of what could have happened to those children, I am glad that there are restraint laws now.

So, when did using a seat belt become law? It became compulsory to use seat belts in the front of vehicles in 1983, although I understand advertising on using seat belts started ten years before that. Back seat belt use by children became compulsory in 1989.

Being a grandmother, I see how just a simple trip to the store takes almost twice as long than it used to. By the time you get the kids all bundled up, in their car seats and restraints, put your own seat belt on you are exhausted before even backing out of the driveway. Sometimes we take shortcuts and do not buckle up everyone properly before we leave. These laws are for our safety and the well being of our children.

When my daughter was a baby, we had a flimsy little carrier for her. There were no rules about putting the baby in the back seat rather than the front. I am sure the angels were exhausted watching over all our babies back in the 70s. It has been shown that age appropriate child restraints do save the lives of children today.


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  • profile image

    Toddler Car Seat 6 years ago

    Hi again Elayne,

    I agree. What's even better, is that laws and guidelines are improving leaps and bounds, and rightly so, because road traffic safety should be taken very seriously.

    Hope you're having a good day


  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 6 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    So true Toddler Car Seat. We have to protect our precious cargo. Car seats are a plus.

  • profile image

    Toddler Car Seat 6 years ago

    Hi Elayne,

    Thanks for sharing this experience, as hard as it may be even recalling it now. As someone has already mentioned, experience is a good teacher, and, we should all be grateful with all the stringent laws now in place on car seats and restraints.



  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 7 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thank you CarSeatReviews - I appreciate that.

  • CarSeatReviews profile image

    CarSeatReviews 7 years ago

    you were very lucky. very good hub. it does remind us of the importance of child safety.

  • elayne001 profile image

    Elayne 8 years ago from Rocky Mountains

    Thanks so much for your comments myownworld and Rachaelle. We can never be too careful with our precious cargo.

  • Rachaelle Lynn profile image

    Rachaelle Lynn 8 years ago from Gainesville, Florida

    Excellent, excellent article. I've worked in traffic safety for ten years and see so many sad stories. Thanks so much for this very important hub!

  • myownworld profile image

    myownworld 8 years ago from uk

    a much needed reminder for all parents! Being the mother of two small children, I get shudders thinking just what a moment's carelessness can cost! thank you for this...

  • profile image

    isi 8 years ago

    me too! I am glad that we have a law of this nature. I remembered my grandchildren reminding me to put my seat belt on every time they come for a ride with me. Now it is becoming a good habit. Cheers

  • profile image

    Marie 8 years ago

    wow....I admit I am guilty of being in a rush way to many times and don't take the extra 5-10 mins to buckle them up...I will for sure ...always. Thank you for sharing this. A lesson learned!

    ~Marie :^]

  • Debby Bruck profile image

    Debby Bruck 8 years ago

    Experience is the best teacher. You were fortunate. Angels were watching over you and the kiddies. Thank you for telling this story and reminding people to buckle up! Love, Debby