Car Seats: an 80/20 Rule Exception?

After I was done swearing while reinstalling the child safety seats in my car, I began to question why automotive companies don’t design seats that keep our kids safe. Why do we spend hundreds of dollars to purchase the work around seats for our kids? Our beloved 80/20 rule mandates designing for the most frequent (or valued) use case. How often do adults sit in the back seat of a car? For most automobiles, the primary back seat inhabitants are kids. We allow the auto industry to sell a product that does not safely accommodate our little ones.

Child safety seats are expensive, difficult to install, a flat-out pain in the ass. I’d much rather be able to trade them for a built in system of some sort. They do afford us control over our children’s level of safety at least the illusion of control. We research and select the highest rated, most expensive child seats and feel like we are protecting our children. Statistics show that most of the seats are incorrectly installed. That means that even with the workaround, we are not solving the problem for most families.

Does anyone else think this is a solvable problem? Should the manufacturers provide the solution? I for one think we should demand it.



May 29, 2013

It turns out that Steven Levitt posed a similar question in his TED talk in 2005.

Volvo has started incorporating booster seats into their backseats. See them in action.