Recently I had an interesting conversation with my grandma. She told me how in her day, back in the ’70s and ’80s when she was raising her kids, she used to keep her baby lying in the front seat of her car while she drove for convenience of nursing and pacifying them. She uses this in an argument when car seats are not present and justifies letting older kids go without seat belts. “My kids survived it, so yours will be fine.”
But will they?
The world she raised her kids in is a different world than the world I am raising my kids in. Cars were not even capable of going the speeds they are today. Freeway speeds limits were not 80 mph. Cellphones did not exist to distract drivers.
Will my kids be okay if she just sits them in the backseat without the proper safety restraints while only going down the block? Probably. But at the same time, I think we need to ask ourselves the morbid question – How many kids had to die in order for the laws in a car to become what they are today? Just because my grandmother’s kids survived and were fortunate enough to never be in a car accident, doesn’t mean everyone was.
We truly cannot compare the world our parents and grandparents grew up in, to our world today. There are worlds of differences, even in just 50 years. However, just because driving conditions have changed, does not mean cars are less safe. We know our cars can handle higher speeds and diverse conditions because they are safer and well made now. Seat belt and car seat laws exist to compensate for this change. How incredible is it to live in such an adaptable world.
I also want to point out that our world has changed in incredibly positive ways as well. This article actually tells us what a safer world we are in today. Maybe we feel it is so unsafe and scary because of our ready access to news and media that was non-existent not too long ago. In my grandma’s younger years, ignorance was bliss.
War rates have plummeted. Malaria cases have gone down. Homicide rates almost look non-existent compared to what they used to be.
Our world is ever-changing, ever-growing, and ever-adapting. I’m interested to see what I will say to my grandkids someday that “my kids survived it, so yours will be fine.”
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