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Why Are Car Seats So Poorly Designed?

Some simple innovations could make traveling with kids a lot easier on parents—and the environment.

My husband and I are good at putting things together. IKEA, no problem. LEGO, just for fun. (This is not to brag, as we have almost a decade of combined architectural education.) So when we had a baby, it was a shock to find that we couldn’t install the car seat. The base for the Graco Snugride swung ominously from side to side, even after one parent sat on it and the other buckled the belt. The counter on the underside, meant to show you when the seat was flat (and terribly hard to see in a car with a dark interior) wouldn’t cooperate, no matter how hard we tried. Fifteen minutes, a half an hour, more, we struggled, buckling and unbuckling, and still we weren’t sure if it was in right.

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The Moms Aren't Wrong: Why Planning for Children Would Make Cities Better for All

Alexandra Lange explains why building New York around the unique needs of children would help all its residents lead happier, healthier lives.

When urban parents, particularly mothers, complain about the public realm they are often caricatured as whiny and overprotective. Your child was burned by the climbing domes at the new park? Kids are too coddled. You can’t carry your stroller and child down the subway steps? Make him walk. You can’t find a public bathroom? Stay at home. But what if the mothers, in many cases, are right? Access to safe, green open space, to accessible transportation, to clean bathrooms and places to rest are not solely the needs of children. What if catering to our youngest citizens, rather than dismissing them, would help us all live happier, healthier urban lives.

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