Why You Never See a Kid Steering a Car Anymore

It’s a Miracle Anyone in My Generation Made It Out Alive

Rose Bak
5 min readDec 29, 2020


It’s a miracle any children born before 2000 actually lived, let alone grew to adulthood. Things used to be more dangerous for kids, but you have to wonder if we have gone too far in the other direction.

I was in a meeting one day and the subject of child car seats came up. We had a long discussion about certified car seat installers, how you are not supposed to use previously owned car seats, and all the liability issues related to improperly installed car seats.

“I’ve heard that 80% of all car seats are installed incorrectly,” one of my coworkers said.

I was astounded. Don’t you just strap the car seats in with the seat belts? (This is the part of the story where you figure out that I don’t have kids).

The installation error rate stuck with me all day. That can’t possibly be right I thought to myself. So I looked it up, and while the number is not 80%, studies estimate that more than half of all infant and child car seats are installed incorrectly.

I also learned there is a whole industry devoted to car seat installation, including 40-hour certification trainings. Installation is so important that many first responders like fire fighters and police officers receive special training to help people install car seats correctly.

I further learned that car seats expire, like milk. (Or my father, as per a very weird voice mail I received from my mother informing me of my father’s death many years ago. But that’s another post.)

Anyway, this information about car seats and child safety brought up two very important questions for me:

First, why on earth doesn’t someone invent an infant car seat that is both simple to install and safe?

Second, how is it that anyone in my generation is still alive after riding in cars?

I am aging myself here, but I am old enough that I remember when cars did not have seat belts at all.

One of my earliest — and happiest — memories is me as a toddler standing on my grandpa’s lap while he drove, holding onto the steering wheel and helping him “steer”…



Rose Bak

Rose Bak is a freelance writer and yoga teacher who lives in Oregon. Find her at https://linktr.ee/rosebak or follow @authorrosebak on social media.