They make their case in this column from a long-ago issue of the NY Times Magazine, in which they posit that
- car seats are no safer than seat belts for kids over the age of two
- booster seats may do more harm than good in an accident
- the only benefit of car seats is to make kids sit still, meaning that they could be replaced by seat-back DVD players (no, I didn’t make that up)
They warn that consumers may be needlessly spending millions of dollars–and probably millions of hours–every year on devices which have not been proven to provide the sole benefit that they are designed for. According to Stephen and Steven, complicit in this waste are the government agencies that mandate car seat use without proof of their efficacy, making it a crime for parents to save some money without putting their kids in any greater jeopardy.
For my money, if the only benefit is to keep the kids in one place, I think that this is another problem that a little duct tape could fix. Or perhaps someone could make a onesie out of Velcro; then, all that car manufacturers would have to do is add some Velcro patches to seat belts.
What do you think?
(Oh, and full disclosure: Stephen Dubner is a distant cousin of Mama’s, although they’ve never met.)