A Timeline of Infant Safety Advice

Over the years, recommendations have changed for travelling by car with an infant or child. Here are some highlights which show how our thinking on the issue of public safety has evolved:

  • 1909 – “The Royal Canadian Ministry for The Well Being of Livestock and Human Infants would like to remind parents that it is ill-advised to transport children in a motor-car by tying a rope around their waists and dragging them behind the vehicle. While a common practice in many provinces, this can result in injuries that would later deprive them of their ability to work as labourers. If there is no alternative transportation available, drivers are requested not to exceed 15mph.”
  • 1929 – “The Royal Canadian Ministry for the Regulation of Automobiles would like to remind car owners that children should be discouraged from driving their parents’ automobiles until their feet can easily reach the pedals.”
  • 1959 – “The Department of Health recommends that, when travelling by automobile, children are requested to remain in the back seat while the car is in motion, where they may roam freely and safely.”
  • 1969 – “The National Transportation Safety Board in association with the Department for the Prevention of Negative Vibes would like to advise that a recall has been issued on macramé infant restraining devices.”
  • 1979 – “Due to a number of recent accidents, The Department of Health would like to remind drivers of station wagons that children should not be permitted to roam freely in the back of the automobile if there are free seats. Additionally, for safety reasons, children should not be in the back of the station wagon if the driver is also transporting a case of glass Pop Shoppe bottles.”
  • 1989 – “Health Canada would like to remind drivers that, if they are smoking in a car with children present, please crack the window open, weather permitting.”
  • 1999 – “In the event the so-called Y2K bug results in the cessation of all electronic devices, drivers are cautioned against driving with children in the car on December 31.”
  • 2007 – “Rear-facing car-seats should be used for infants until at least 12 months of age.”
  • 2008 – “Make that 24 months.”
  • 2009 – “They really should be in the car as little as possible. If you love your child, you’ll listen to us.”
  • 2019 – “What the Hell are you doing? ! What did we just tell you? Here, just give us the baby.  Jesus.”

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