From James Lileks’ Mommy Knows Worst: Highlights from the Golden Age of Bad Parenting Advice.
And you're likely to be heirborne, should Mom ever slam on the brakes. It's not exactly bolted in place, is it? Then again, I come from the era when children rode in the front seat, facing a sharp metal dashboard tailor-made for decapitation, held in place by nothing more than melted thigh-skin adhering to the hot vinyl seat covers. How did we survive? Mom's right arm. For many generations, a mom simply knew that when she had to brake quickly, one hand should shoot over and brace the child. A good mom could do this while hydroplaning, braking, and checking her mascara in the rearview mirror. It was an instinct so deeply bred that my mom was still giving me karate chops in the sternum when I was in eleventh grade.
The current baby seat is much superior to these devises: Well padded, lightweight, so safe you could hit a wall doing Mach 3 and the kid would burp, at most. But just try to give a used one away. Our local charities kindly decline the offer, fearing the legal repercussions should the seat malfunction somehow, so everyone either passes them along or throws them away.
When the archaeologists of the future plow through our landfills, they'll find a thick, chunky layer of plastic car seats, but no Tiny Tourists.
They were all melted down for ammo for the Vietnam War.
I well recall as a small child having my forward motion being halted in a car by the same method Lileks describes: Mom’s right arm. As my mother was a strongly built French-Canadian woman, this was nearly always as traumatic as I’d imagine hitting the dashboard could be.