In a world of Greenguard Gold Certified baby cribs and car seats, you might have a hard time imagining living without these essentials. However, there was a time when car seats didn’t exist – and it wasn’t that long ago! And the early car seats? They’re pretty rough in terms of safety. Let’s take a peek down memory lane.
A Quick History of Car Seats
People first started manufacturing car seats in 1933. It all started with a booster seat from Bunny Bear Company. Instead of a focus on safety, these seats were meant to keep the child in one place and visible for the parents to check on in the rearview mirror. The first time we saw any interest in car seat safety was in 1962, when two different safety-focused car seats entered the market. The first was the Jeenay, a seat featuring a 5-strap safety harness and a parachute-style quick-release buckle. The other car sear was created by Leonard Rivkin. A retired civil engineer, Rivkin designed a booster seat with an iron frame and a 5-point harness system after his car was hit from behind and his son was launched into the back seat. By the late 1960s, automakers began creating their own car seats using crash protection that they used in their cars. This included the Love Seat for Toddlers from GM and the Tot-Guard from Ford.
Changing Car Seat Regulations
It’s really no wonder that we didn’t see any safety regulations on car seats until more recent years. We didn’t even have a 3-point seat belt for regular passengers, like we use today, until 1959. Finally, in 1971, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration created the first federal standards for car seat safety. These regulations required the use of a harness to keep the child in the car seat, as well as a safety belt to keep to hold the car seat in place. Over the coming years, each state would pass its own laws to require car seats.
Car seats and our regulations on them have slowly evolved over the years to become what we have today. For example, most states now require that you keep your child in a rear-facing car seat until age two. We now even have things like the Greenguard Gold Certification, which ensures that our car seats and baby cribs are designed with safety in mind. This includes testing for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemical emissions, and more.
Car Seat Designs Over the Years
The design, material, color, and texture of car seats have shifted dramatically over the years. The first “car seats” were actually just burlap bags that hung off of the passenger seat headrest and kept your child in place. By the 1940s, manufacturers began making car seats crafted from canvas and metal – almost like a collapsible beach chair.
In the 1960s and 70s, things got more stylish. We saw the influence of the mid-century modern (MCM) movement in car seats, with muted color palettes, pops of vibrant color, clean lines, and a combination of natural and manmade materials. This style was similar to the modern style of Natart’s Rustico Modern Baby Crib. Likewise, the Matty Changer draws on MCM style, with neat lines and soft colors. The dust gray Matty Changer draws on classic MCM style, while the wood rose adds that splashy pop of color.
Car Seats: A Welcome Evolution
We’ve certainly come a long way in terms of baby safety. From a burlap sack in the 1930s to a 5-point buckle today, it’s safe to say that baby’s safety comes first.
Natart is committed to protecting your little one. Our products are Greenguard Certified and we test all of our furniture and baby cribs to ensure you never have to worry about any tip-overs, chemicals, or other safety concerns. Read more about our safety efforts here.