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At the moment, when new parents purchase a car, they also have to fork out extra for capsules, booster seats, anchor points and harnesses
In Claire Hewitt's blog for NRMA motoring titled Choosing a child friendly car, it is the very last line that's the impetus for this piece. She writes: "Last of all, remember your baby will be grown up pretty quickly and the things you want and need in a car will be totally different again." That got me thinking. If everyone knows that children grow up "pretty quickly", why isn't someone accommodating the car market more readily at the outset?
Imagine the market for this! From my observation, a lot of first time parents are willing to look for the right equipment to ensure their new bundle of joy is perfectly accommodated. The rear passenger seats wouldn't be deep buckets with windows so high they can't be seen out of. The placement of seat belts wouldn't risk slashing the child across the neck. Rear-facing child seats wouldn't look directly into the sun. Boot size would be generous.
And I'm talking more than just adapting a current vehicle to accommodate children. Not a retro-fitted car that's built for adults but allows you to "baby-friendly" it up. At the moment, when new parents purchase a car, they also have to fork out extra for capsules, booster seats, anchor points and harnesses. They want wipe holders, door bins, personal storage, connectivity, plus travel pillows and headphones. If these things aren't optional extras, they all need to be purchased independently on top of the cost of the car.
Imagine a car that's child-focused by design – that's been specifically purpose-built to accommodate babies and young children.
Is it possible to have fixed (but interchangeable) seats designed with an in-built baby capsule? Or integrated booster seats with proper head protection? Surely these would be safer than just assuming parents will buy seats separately and have them installed at a certified fitting station.
Of course, portable seats wouldn't be abolished - temporary seating is essential with shared care (by grandparents or family day care educators, for example). But for an everyday family car, why not be able to choose these as options? Especially if you know that in about 10 years time you may want to buy a different car anyway.
In all honesty, I can understand why a vehicle designed around children hasn't been built. Every country has different child restraint laws and recommendations. It would take some serious negotiating for global manufacturers to come to any agreement with the lawmakers, and for the design to prove to be profitable.
So for now, it's just an idea. Okay, maybe just a pipe dream. But I would love to see this kind of acknowledgment of the place and value of children in our world.
Is there anything else you'd like to see become child-focused by design?