This guest post is from Anne Greene, who left the insurance industry to pursue a career in writing, When she’s not working on her novel, she is freelancing or traveling with her husband and kids.
In nature, evolution gradually improves organisms and takes them to the next level. Evolution can take place in our daily lives, too. Parents see this process in action every day as their children learn new things. Industry has gone through its share of evolution, as well. From Benjamin Franklin flying a key on a kite to Thomas Edison inventing the first light bulb, things evolve.
As children’s motor skills adapt to the world around them, so must modern car technology adapt to protect your precious cargo.
The History of Car Safety
People realized right away that automotive transportation was both powerful and dangerous. One of the first steam-powered vehicles ever made crashed straight into a wall in the late 1700s. Since then, inventors have been looking for ways to make each vehicle a safer form of travel.
- 1922 — German manufacturers add hydraulic brakes to the Duesenberg Model A.
- 1930 — Ford makes safety glass a standard feature.
- 1954 — Volvo introduces the world to seat belts, according to the National Roads and Motorists Association.
This forward thinking lead to many changes that still protect kids today. Manufacturers developed the first rear-facing car seat, then added a booster seat for older kids in 1978.
Changes to Improve Child Safety
Children present a challenge for car manufacturers. A child’s inherent lack of fear is one concern. An adult will naturally protect themselves in a moving car, but toddlers think nothing of standing up in the back seat or climbing out a window. Children come in different sizes, so safety features and respective technology must be flexible. Some devices designed to save adults and other larger passengers, such as air bags, are actually dangerous to kids.
Certain safety fixes over the years were common sense. Child safety locks and power windows kept kids in place until an adult let them out. Forcing parents to move all children to the back seat also helped protect toddlers from air bag deployment and other concerns.
Manufacturers know that child safety is a selling point. You can search car makers and their cars based on safety features. Even tires are being engineered and rigorously tested for comfort and safety, according to TireBuyer.com. Certain car models provide a host of features meant to keep little ones intact during travel.
Consider some brands that get high ratings for safety.
- Ford Taurus – Ford put kids at the forefront when designing the 2013 Taurus. The car comes with blind spot mirrors and anti-lock brakes. Properly placed airbags help protect little ones in the case of a collision. A rearview camera and pre-collision alarm also aid the driver while maneuvering the vehicle.
- Toyota Sienna – Check out the Sienna minivan, which took home the Motorist Choice Award in the kid-friendly category. The Sienna provides ample legroom, all-wheel drive and comfortable seating.
- Buick Enclave – Parents who need a minivan might consider a late model Enclave from Buick. It gets high ratings in government crash tests and includes third-row seating with plenty of cargo space.
- Chevy Traverse – Crossover lovers will find a friend in the Traverse. The third-row seat makes it a family car, and Chevy loaded on safety features, too. Anti-lock brakes, side-curtain airbags and traction control come standard.
As the motor industry continues to address the technology keeping our passengers safe, remember the most proactive and important thing you can do as a parent is practice safe driving techniques. You are your best defense, so stay off the phone and keep those eyes on the road!