Is This the Least Safe Baby Car Seat Ever? (1969 Sears Catalog)

So I’m bopping along, looking through 40-year-old Sears catalogs, as I am wont to do, when something catches my eye. No, not hideous fashion or vintage toys, although I certainly find plenty of that. I’m talking about a something altogether different.

Tucked away on page 543 of the 1969 Fall/Winter catalog is an item that you might miss if you focused on the rather, um, interesting vintage baby car seats. See if you can find what I’m think of on this “Travel Time” page…

Sears 1969 Fall/Winter Catalog - Baby Car Seat Travel Platform

Did you see it? Nope, not the car seats. It’s item #6, listed as the “Steel Travel Platform,” and it is a lovely relic from the golden age of Mid-Century Baby Travel.


Sears 1969 Fall/Winter Catalog - Baby Car Seat Travel Platform

Now, I know what some of my older readers may be thinking — “We had that when I was a kid somehow I survived!” Well yeah, but people survived without seat belts too, it doesn’t mean not having them was a good thing.

Basically this platform is a sheet of steel with a foam pad that you plop a kid on for a nice drive to Grandma’s. No buckles, no straps, just junior on the open range in the back of a General Motors land boat. Awesome.

For a larger version of the catalog page and more goodness from the Fall/Winter ’69 catalog, go to this place.

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  • spinetingler

    My parents had one in the back of the Dodge Dart that my baby sister slept in on trips around town. In my memory it was smaller than the one pictured, since I also needed space to roam around unbuckled in the back seat (usually I was on the floor).

  • AmyVandersliceFuchs

    OK. What if it’s not ACTUALLY for babies to play on while the car is moving? Yes, they show a baby on it, but in the description, it says it’s for luggage. Maybe they are showing the baby in the ad to show the size in comparison? Maybe they’re thinking you could change the baby while on a trip, or let the baby move around or nap while the car is stopped? It’s not even in the baby seat section.

  • Me

    LOL My mom just mentioned how her dad ‘invented’ seats like those out of wood for his kids in the 1950s & 60s. Plus, I swear I vaguely remember traveling in the backseat of my parents 1970s Comet to Florida in 1978 & Starfire on the OH turnpike in 1979 or so as a 2-4 yr old…and having the entire backseat free to roam around in, car seat free (before my siblings came along). Definitely those were the days of naively living dangerously. smh

    • Sabrina Smith

      I read the article and I also had fond flashbacks of long rides in my parents Starfire hatchback…which was basically a built-in “travel platform”!
      I found one for sale in Florida and nowhere in the description does it read death trap! Maybe the spare tire can double as a built in car seat for my kids if I buy it, LOL!

      • Me

        LOL Exactly! And if you fold the backseat down (like I swear I convinced my parents to do for at least part of a 200+ mile trip across the OH turnpike) you really have a lot of room to crawl around, play, & stare out the back window at the traffic behind you (especially as a small 3 or 4 yr old). lol. smh

        • Sabrina Smith

          Thanks for the nostalgia! Glad we survived!

        • Joseph Dugal

          That looks like the greatest way to travel!

  • Lady Anne

    We had a car seat similar to item #2, although not quite as sturdy, for our two daughters. It hooked over the seat back, but we had a two door car, so the passenger seat folded forward. I nearly tossed my eldest though the windshield the first time I used it.

    We brought our kids home from the hospital in a cardboard box. The hospital had folded cardboard bassinets marked with the child’s name on one end and the mother’s room number on the other. These cartons would be placed on utility carts to bring the infants around at feeding times, and then given to the parents to take the little tyke home. They fit nicely on the back seat of the car. I kept mine on the sofa and used it as a downstairs bassinet to save running up and down the stairs during the day.

  • My sister was born in 65, and I definitely remember her riding in something similar (though smaller) in the middle of the back seat of the Dart.

  • I was born in ’67 and adopted in the summer of ’68, and my parents brought me home in what they described as a plastic molded seat with a buckle so I didn’t slide out. No strap cushioning, no 6 point safety harness. And every kid rode in the back of the family station wagon by just, you know, sitting there. And we survived!