Car Seats Revisited

Last year, I wrote a column about my frustration with installing child car seats and how this seemingly simple task requires more knowledge and energy than this grandfather possesses.  I still struggle with car seats when I’m looking after my grandchildren; but thanks to one of our employees, I have a much better attitude about using them.

Lindsey Austin in our engineering division talked to me after reading my column last April and pointed out how important properly installed car seats are to child safety.  More importantly, Lindsey took action and has volunteered her time to help coordinate installation clinics at fire stations in addition to writing a successful grant application for $4,000 to assist local efforts.  Work like Lindsey’s reminds me of the many volunteer hours city employees contribute to the community, and it inspires me to keep a positive attitude when negative stuff crosses my desk.

I am also happy to report that the car seat purchased for my youngest grandchild (Isaac –age 8 months) is much easier to install than its predecessors.  Clever engineers have come up with a push-button system that did away with frustrating clips.  I am now able to install this seat without requiring a nap later in the day.  I should add that even when my attitude was at its worst, I would never drive anywhere with my grandchildren without a secure child safety seat.  We used them with our own children long before they became a legal requirement.

Not long ago, I came across a Facebook posting asking people of my age to “like” a blog ( about how people of my generation had survived without things like child car seats, child-resistant lids on medicines, bike helmets, and other safety precautions.  While it’s true that most of us did survive those years, it’s equally true that many more of us would have lived to adulthood if these safety features had been available to parents.  I feel confident about making that claim thanks to some data from the Centers for Disease Control that show how the number of deaths from accidents has declined over the past 100 years.  I pointed out in a column last May that 50,000 more people would die every year if the death rate from accidents had not been reduced from 1971 to its present day level.

I am most grateful for the good work that goes on every day, here and elsewhere, to make the world a safer place for children.  I think that work is its own reward, but I also believe it’s important to recognize the efforts of people like Lindsey who are quietly doing so much to be of service.