Car Seats and Booster Seats
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Timeline:


  • 1898 - First recorded use of a child restraint in cars
  • 1921 - First car seat invented
  • 1962 - Jean Ames invents the first car seat designed for safety
  • 1978 - Tennessee became the first state to require the use of car seats for children



General Information:


The first child restraint first appeared in 1898. The purpose wasn't to keep children from being injured in an accident but to keep children in their seats. The first true car seat for sale was invented in 1921. It was basically a bag with drawstrings, designed to keep the children in the seats and out of trouble. This purpose for child seats remained the same until 1962, when Jean Ames invented the first true safety seat for children. The intent of these more modern seats were to reduce the number and severity of injuries to children during accidents. This is now the purpose of today's car and booster seats, which are required by law in all states.




(Video from Archive.org {public domain})



Legislation:


The legislation for child seats and boosters varies from state to state. Each state has their own specifics on when children can move from each type of car and booster seat. Some even have exemptions for certain heights and weights, but these are the general requirements. For specifics, please visit http://www.iihs.org/laws/ChildRestraint.aspx.
  • 2 states require that children must be in a child restraint if they are 8 years old or younger. (Tennessee and Wyoming)
  • 26 states and the District of Columbia require that children must be in a child restraint if they are 7 years old or younger. (Washington, Oregon, Utah, Kansas, Texas, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, Maine, Alaska, and Hawaii).
  • 6 states require all children under the age of 6 to be in a child restraint. (Idaho, New Mexico, North Dakota, Mississippi, Kentucky, and Connecticut).
  • 13 states require all children under the age of 5 to be in a child restraint. (California, Nevada, Montana, Colorado, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Iowa, Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and New Hampshire)
  • 2 states require that all children must be in a child restraint if they are 4 years old or younger. (Arizona and South Dakota).
  • 1 State requires that all children under the age of 3 must be in a child restraint (Florida).

Required Child Restraint Ages by State

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8 and younger 5 and younger
7 and younger 4 and younger
6 and younger 3 and younger



Resistance to Car Seats:


In the 1960s, true safety seats hit the market for the first time. Parents were unsure of how to use them and of the necessity of them. People had to be convinced that they were a necessity. By the 1970s, less than 10% of families used safety seats for children. Lawmakers were starting to be convinced that the seats were essential to children in automobile accidents. By 1978, Tennessee became the first state to require the use of car seats with children, and soon the other 49 states followed. Now, there are laws in all 50 states requiring children to sit in safety seats.



Physics:

In the event of a collision the factory car seats work in conjunction with seat belts to keep the occupants of the crash inside of the cabin and supported to minimize injury. Unfortunately car seats are not a one size fits all kind of deal. Statistically car seats are designed to support an inner quartile range of occupants, this range does not however cover outliers both big and small. There is really not much that can be done to accommodate the larger outliers, however the term “car seat” is generally used when talking about the accommodations for low outliers. Special car seats are very important when it comes to protecting smaller children. These car seats are very important when it comes to the safety of younger children, they provide the same support factory seats provide adults just on a smaller scale.The much needed support reduces neck and back injures and aids the seat belts in reducing the Force delivered to the occupants.




Connections:


Before states started to require the use of safety seats for children, it was common for children to be injured in car accidents by seat belts themselves. Adult seat belts do not fit children properly, so they can end up doing more harm than good. In fact, children are 4 times more likely to have a head injury if they are only restrained by an adult seat belt. The state governments started to mandate the use of child seats in order to protect children in crashes. The government stepped in because they knew that people did not know how to properly use safety seats, which could also result in injury. They funded programs to both encourage parents to use child seats and to teach them how to use them properly. The combination of education from the government and using the child seats themselves has greatly lessened the number of children killed and injured in car crashes. When installed correctly, car seats increase the odds of survival in a crash by 71% for infants and 54% for children between the ages of 1 and 4.



Sources:

http://www.iihs.org/laws/ChildRestraint.aspx
http://www.thehistoryof.net/history-of-car-seats.html
www.askkids.com/resource/Car-Seatbelts.html
http://www.articlesbase.com/education-articles/the-history-of-the-car-seat-593547.html
http://www.tn.gov/safety/pubsafety/childrestraint.html
http://www.answers.com/topic/child-car-seats
http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/it/2006/2/2006_2_6.shtml
http://ezinearticles.com/?Important-Car-Seat-Statistics&id=64105
http://www.carseatsite.com/statistics.htm
http://ia301518.us.archive.org/0/items/crashdummies1/crashdum3_512kb.mp4?crashdummies1/crashdum3_512kb.mp4