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An Odd Observation: Car Seats in an Unusual Place October 16, 2019 128 No Comments


Two car seats rested against a large, ornamental rock at the bottom of the Walmart parking lot. It wasn’t a place anyone would expect to see a car seat. No sign announced why they were there. They weren’t labeled “free to new home.” They just sat there, mute testimony to some event in their plastic and acrylic past. As a fitting embellishment for the scene, the sun was setting in a thin, red line of last light, just before the city street lamps began to turn on.

Importance of Car Seats

Car seats are important equipment for today’s busy families. A best-case scenario for these seats is that they were out-grown, old, cracked or otherwise damaged and no longer able to do their job of protecting children. Perhaps the family that had owned them had set the seats out of their car and left them there so as to avoid the irritation of recycling them or throwing them away.

Keeping up With Child Growth

Children outgrow car seats at an alarming rate. That is why many hospitals and baby resource, such as, make it possible to sell or trade old car seats for new ones. With car seat prices starting at around $50 and going up from there, it can be one of the biggest expenses for bringing baby home. It is an expense rivaled only by the cost of a crib or bassinet.

For your child’s comfort, a car seat must be properly sized. Seats intended for an older child will not properly support an infant’s head, neck and back. An infant seat might cramp an older baby, causing back and neck discomfort. Therefore, purchasing a new car seat could be an important step for a young family, even if they owned previously serviceable seats.

Car Seats, Joint Custody, and Similar Considerations

Few women would be willing to go back to the bad old times when the only way out of an unsuitable or even dangerous marriage was death. Furthermore, in the not so very distant past, a woman fleeing an abusive marriage might have been forced to leave her children behind “Till death do you part” might have a romantic ring to it, but for some wives marriage was “a fate worse than death.” Better by far to be able to tell a judge or file some papers that declare the marriage to be null and void than to resort to extreme measures. Failed marriages in historical times make good fiction, but a poor reality in which to live.

But that still leaves the children. Some youngsters are fortunate enough to simply have two loving families who manage to communicate and function in ways best for the children. Others, might have one good family and one in not-so-good. And then, there is the third scenario where the custodial parent reluctantly releases their precious child to the other parent.

What does that have to do with car seats left in a parking lot? They might have belonged to a disgruntled parent who was denied custody or visitation rights. Those two aged and broken seats might be a social commentary.

Car Theft and Car Seats

Nothing telegraphs “not my car” quite like a safety or booster seat hanging out in a vehicle occupied by a group of rowdy teens, or even by a person who is clearly driving alone. While certainly not conclusive (see above situations where a child might need to go from one family vehicle to another), it could raise a flag with an officer of the law. Solution? Ditch the car seats.

Could the Seats Be a Memorial?

Along many roadsides, lonely crosses with flowers commemorate a fatal automobile accident. Could there have been an unfortunate parking lot collision with dreadful results? The seats are battered, as if they had seen a lifetime of heavy use. If one looked closely at them, would they appear to have been in an auto accident. Not too likely, this last one, because it is at the bottom of a parking lot and there are no flowers, crosses or other religious symbols.

Occam’s Razor

Occam’s Razor, sometimes called the law of simplicity, is a philosophical statement. William of Ockham, a Franciscan Friar of the 14th century, noted that when multiple explanations are possible, the simplest one is the most likely. In this case, the simplest explanation is that a family with at least two growing youngsters had purchased new car seats, and left the old ones. Perhaps they had even had the charitable thought that some less fortunate family might need them. The car seats both were worn and battered. They had obvious seen a lot of use. It is to be hoped that the family that left them behind rode away with their youngsters in new, appropriately sized seats.

Ending Unresolved

The sun sinks into the west, shrouding the car seats in obscurity. While perhaps those car seats could tell stories, these poor creations of metal, plastic and acrylic are mute. Their stories remain untold.