1980s, 21st Century, America's obsession with safety, automobile, automobile accidents, Baby on Board, bad drivers, child safety seats, cost-effective, death by automobile, feel-good policies, George Carlin, Godzilla, infrastructure, Japan, ready-to-use, safety, safety scams, traffic safety, Won't somebody please think of the children?
Statistics back it up: despite millions of new cars on the road ever year, the highway is becoming a safer place worldwide. The reasons for this happy trend are myriad, among them: improving infrastructures, increased awareness about driver’s safety and stricter laws regarding intoxicated driving. No factor has been more significant in lowering automobile deaths per capita than has the rapid development of safety technology. It is possible today to walk away from an accident which might have proved fatal only thirty years ago.
But in today’s world of bleeding edge technology and gee-whiz science, is there still room for an old standby like Baby on Board?
Baby on Board proved to be a dazzling innovation in automobile safety when it was first introduced in the heady years of the late 1980s. Moreover, by being extremely cost-effective–individual units cost pennies to make, but retailed for as much as $10–the safety measure meshed nicely with the era’s affinity for recklessly high profits.
More than simply keeping costs down, the innovation’s simplicity appealed to the consumer. Baby on Board came ready-to-use, the unit taking typically no more than a few seconds to install in the vehicle’s rear window. Once mounted, the device would alert other drivers that young people (despite its name, Baby on Board applied to all children weighing less than 80 pounds) were in the vehicle. Those drivers would then heed this warning, waiting until the precious family was safely in the distance before resuming their reckless driving.
Sadly, Baby on Board is rarely seen today. 21st Century drivers are more likely to place their trust in expensive technologies, and given the level of scientific innovation in safety this reliance may be well-founded. But it’s worth remembering the recent studies which show Baby on Board is at least as efficacious as are child safety seats.