Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Another reason why people buy SUVs

As the father of a five-and-a-half month old, I have become aware of something that I had only a dim consciousness of before. This is the child safety seat. U.S. law requires that children sit in special seats until . . . well, basically until they're old enough to drive themselves. Our son just grew out of his tiny infant seat so we bought one that will last until he weighs 65 pounds (in my family one generally reaches this landmark around age 11).

So, what's my point? We're having a heck of a time fitting this super-sized child seat into our 2001 Honda Civic, a foor door sedan. Although the name "Honda Civic" conjures up an image of a tiny econobox, anyone who has tried to park this car on a San Francisco street will tell you that it is not a small car. Nonetheless, the seat doesn't fit behind the driver's seat if I have pushed it back far enough to accommodate my legs. Of course, this is fine with me because I don't like to drive anyway. We're not getting a bigger car -- my wife can drive. But I'm only 5'6"! What I'm getting at here is this: some SUV buyers may not be thinking, "Oh, I want an SUV because I hate nature and I want to pave the planet." Rather, the impetus to buy an SUV may be a simple car seat.

Here's another possible source of conservation from an unlikely place: if someone can design a quality child car seat (not just for infants but toddlers, too) that fits into a compact or mid-sized sedan, it could deter some SUV purchases.

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