When Infants and Children Didn’t Use Carseats – Really!


Our trip to the beach was great in that big old car!

Caution: Do not let your children read this!

As my daughter and I were safely securing my 3 grandchildren in the 5-point harness carseat and two booster seats in the car recently, I had a flashback of times when I was young. Although the memory was a bit scary for a second, it was also quite humorous. You see,children’s safety carseats were pretty much unheard of when I was a child. And there was no such thing as a safety “booster seat”.

Nope, our parents just threw us in the car and told us to hold on! We didn’t even use seatbelts (the cars back then did not even have seatbelts – eek!). How we survived is beyond me.

I have two brothers and two sisters and I’m situated right in the middle – one older brother and sister, and one younger brother and sister. I guess that makes me a middle child (and may explain a lot!).  My older brother and sister are just 11 months apart in age, I was born 17 months later, and my younger brother was born 2 years after me – my mom always said it was like having quadruplets but worse because someone was in diapers all of the time. Thank goodness they waited a few years to have my younger sister.

We would take one big family trip each year and it was always to Nags Head where my dad loved fishing and my mom loved the beach. It was great family fun. This was even before OBX was cool and it was almost a deserted beach.

I remember vividly packing up the big old Chevrolet sedan with the sleek “fins” on the back. Then all five of us children piled into the back seat.  Although the car was quite roomy, there was only room for four of us to fit in the seats comfortably.

But not to worry!

We took turns laying in the big flat space at the back window. For those who know what I’m talking about, this was quite a treat to take your turn in the sunny, back window space. You could snuggle up with your pillow and watch the cars zoom by or you could just take a nap while the other four kids had to sit up straight and try not to touch each other (cooties you know).

The thoughts of a child laying helplessly in a car’s back window as a projectile (if they even made cars with this large back space these days!) is enough to take your breath away. Can there be anything more dangerous?

Things have changed a lot and I’m so thankful that children’s safety has become such an important issue for everyone. I’m so grateful as I buckle my grandchildren into the car to know that they are as safe as possible. But when I recall those days of laying in the back window of that big over-sized sedan, it does make me smile!

Happy summer and travel safely!