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Built-In Car Seats: An Idea Whose Time Has Come

volvo_xc70_b2.jpgIf you’re an expectant first-time parent, you will soon experience the joy of a magical device called a car safety seat.

If you’re a parent with one or more children already, then you probably think of car seats with the same joy you usually reserve for clogged-up toilets.

That’s not to say that child restraint devices (which sounds quite a bit like something used in midevil times, so I’ll just stick with ?car seat? from here on out) are a bad thing…far from it. An appropriate car seat for your children is nothing short of a must-have item for the parents of small children, and it must be properly installed, which is where the ?It’s backing up when I flush again!? feeling comes from for those with car seat experience.

There are many different types of car seats, ranging from ?difficult to install properly? to ?Can’t we just duct-tape him to the seat? He’ll hardly slide around at all.?, but it must be installed properly. If it’s not, then it won’t effectively do its job, which is to protect your most precious possession in the event of an automobile accident, save the upholstery from duct-tape stains, and hide approximately eighty-four pounds of cracker crumbs and potato chip pieces.

This leads to what I like to call the ?Honey? Can you put her down and help with this for a second? I’m stuck again.? syndrome. Car seats eat adult arms while trying to slide the seat belt/shoulder harness combination through the impossibly-narrow slot on the back designed for it. Then you must manage to reach over and click the buckle into place, without letting it slip from your hand and become lodged inside the car seat itself, and all while refraining from getting too upset in front of your child, because the car seat is fun! This is a rite of passage that any parent must go through at some point.

Or they could buy a new Volvo XC70 station wagon, which comes with child safety seats built into the back seat.

From the New York Times review:

The backseat features a genuine advance: a pair of integrated two-position child booster cushions (a $495 option) that adjust to fit children of various sizes. Adaptive seat belts easily adjust to match the raised seats, while side-curtain air bags extend farther downward to protect young noggins.

It?s an ingenious idea. There is no need to buy booster seats, no time-consuming switching of seats between cars and no more anxiety over whether they?re properly in place. Studies in the United States and Europe have found that nearly half of booster seats are unsafely installed.

This is truly an idea whose time has come. What’s your car seat horror sto-…I mean, “Tale of Fun”?

Personally, I still have scars on my forearms, and I never did find my watch.

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