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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?