Forward faceing, rear facing, infant, toddler, convertible, and booster – we’ve all heard about car seats. Even if you don’t have children and may not know (or care) about the details concerning them, the concept isn’t foreign. Something you don’t hear about too often, though, is built-in car seats. Granted, I didn’t know of such a thing until just recently, and I am a proud mother who’s gone through more than one car seat type, brand, and style.
According to ConsumerReports.org, those cushioned things in the back of vehicles, especially common minivans or larger sedans, that fold down like wide armrests between the two main back seats – those are built-in car seats. At least, they are built in booster seats for toddlers over 20lbs. Who knew? I really only assumed that they were armrests, for they don’t have anything preventing the child from sliding off of them to one side or the other (and getting tangled and trapped in the seatbelt as they do it). Indeed, ConsumerReports does warn about that very thing – they do not protect against any side collisions.
A bit of investigating has me amazed at the ingenuity of designers, though. There seems to be an upsurge lately in the design and incorporation of built-in car seats, quite appropriately marketed, in vehicles that are popular as family rides. Some even have a 5 point harness for additional safety. That sure does prevent them sliding off the side of the deck. Some even boast that they have incorporated a reclining feature. Good job guys!
Now I wonder how long it’s going to be before the backseat of some of these high-tech minivans are going to start to look and feel like reclining theater seats, armed with cup and snack holders. The screens are there, the surround sound is there, and what about a place to plug and store the gaming console? Pretty soon, adults and kids alike will be heading to their cars for their most comfy R&R!
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