Car Seats: A Brief but In-Depth History

February 26, 2021 @ 2:49 pm
Zoe Kirby
Zoe Kirby


When were they invented?

To look at the history of car seats we must first look at the first recorded one. This was seen in the 1930’s, however, this car seat was very different to what we know today. The 1930’s car seat was built simply to keep your baby in the seat and stop them from moving.

In 1933 a company called Bunny Bear released a car seat that allow parents to keep an eye on their kids whilst in the car.

Come the 1940’s a car seat was created that attached to the front seat of the car and allowed the child to get a better view out of the windscreen.

It wasn’t until 22 years later that the first rear facing car seat was invented with safety in mind by inventor Jean Ames.

In 1968, car manufacture giants Ford and GM both get into the game and start inventing car seats with crash safety in mind.

In the 1970’s the first convertible car seat went down a storm with consumers and could be using rear or forward facing. This was creating by Bobby Mac.

In 1971 the first set of laws regarding car seats came into play and required your seat to have a 3-point hardness and be secured to the vehicle by the cars belt.

Come the 1980’s and crash tests start being done to create a sturdier and safer car seat.

Fast forward to the 2000’s and infant car seats takes a huge leap forward and a whole new range of car seats that we see available today enter the market.

When were laws on car seats first introduced?

Before you look at the laws regarding seat belts, its handy to know that seat belts were only standard equipment in cars until the 1960s.

This is crazy when you consider that car seats have been used since the 1930’s.

From 1965 all-new cars, by law, had to have three-point seat belts installed. This was mandatory and only cars dated before 1965 were legally roadworthy without it.

In 1972 front seat belts become compulsory and again were only required by cars dated 1972 and onwards and nothing previously registered. Come 1983 a law was passed to that required all drivers and front passengers to wear a seat belt, rear seat belts became compulsory shortly after in 1986.

On May 5th, 2006 the EU passed a law that meant that all children under the height of 135cm must be secured in an approved child seat appropriate for the child’s size. They also passed that it’s illegal to have a rear facing child seat in the front seat with the airbag active.

The Future of Car Seats

So, we have looked at the history of car seats, what’s in store for the future of car seats?

Volvo have always been front line innovators when it comes to vehicle safety and have plans in motion for an inflatable car seat. The concept is very simple looking but provide maximum safety.

It can be inflated and deflated in as little as 40 seconds and when not in use can be folded up into an easy to carry backpack.