We live near the center of a small city. I've done plenty of antique car cruising near home as well as in our suburbia areas. Mostly on weekends. I want hear views either way , personal experiences, knowledge of laws etc. My kid is almost three so.he's young but he's got enough sense to not jump out or do anything really stupid.
Y'all probably guessed if it were up.to me, we would already be riding. The local cops likely wouldn't be too concerned.
You all have likely guess my wife is a staunch opponent.
I don't blame her Dex. Without seat belts and therefore no way to lock down a child safety seat I have never given a ride to a tot that young. Adults only. I just won't do it. If something bad were to happen I'd rather be dead than injure someone that young. There's been too many one car accident deaths over the past few years to change my mind. When you're riding in a car where it's apparently better for you if you get thrown out than staying on board in an accident kids should be kept away. People walk away in some roll over accidents today and just assume it's the same in a T.
Just an idea. As a Pilot I saw many parents in the airports had a harness on their toddlers attached to a leash. To me, this seems like a sensible way to ensure either a small child or pet remains in the car ! Seriously
(Of course when i was three I was sitting on my Dad's lap steering down the back roads as he sat back smoking and wording the gas pedal. No seat belts and no worries back then My grandkids ride in an adults lap in the Touring
I want to add I only drove in my development. Flat roads, no traffic and you know what? NO body ever asked for another ride. Including Wifey.
Here in Missouri, as I understand the law, Seat belts are not needed if not original equipment. Except child seats are not exempt and must be properly installed for children requiring them. I could be wrong with this as my oldest son has taken his kids in my touring when I have had to keep it over there.
Years ago when my son was born I installed seat belts in the back of my 1913 touring.He rode in a car seat until he was old enough not to need the seat,and later on he used the seat belt.It was the same for his younger sister.Now he is driving the car.
Yeah, required or not it's the kids safety we're talking about.
I'll admit my son is very young but the question remains " at what age can/should we do this?" I was riding around in that same touring car by the time I was three, maybe 4. Lafayette was much quieter then but my pop drove with much less regard to safety.
The cars got rear seat belts, but that.raises the question "are you better off being fastened in an open model T? Even in a baby seat?
In Missourah years ago my dad installed seat belts upfront so he could take mom(invalid) and his youngest grandson for a ride. Mom wouldn't go because she became an invalid in a car accident and didn't want a second go around. Sis didn't want her only son she had at 40+ to get hurt or ???. Dad was starting to loose some vision do to diabetes and was known to ride the white line to much. Sis also had too many white knuckler's with him at the wheel.
If it were me, I'd bring em home from the hospital in a Touring right after they were born. Pretty sure my wife feels the same way. My daughter grew up in the back seat of our 15 Touring.
We've become a country of Chicken-Littles. Accidents can happen at any time. The child is better off having the experience than wrapping them in bubble wrap and stashing them in a rubber room until they are "old enough".
Began riding up front in a Model A when I was 5 years old. I survived. Law in Massachusetts is the same as has been cited by Steven in Missouri. All that being said, I'd go rear with seat belts and baby seat.
We took our Granddaughter to Glacier Nat'l Park when she was 2 1/2 years old. We attached her car seat and she had her Grandmother all to herself for 11 days. We logged 70 hours and 1100 miles that trip. It was a delightful trip. We stopped at playgrounds once or twice a day to let her burn off energy. We have opted to take just one at a time on long tours.
As soon as possible!
Dereck wonderful picture ! I take kids for rides, in a slow neighborhood at probably 20 MPH letting them blow the engine toot whistle
I see this as a MUCH larger issue. Accidents happen. Not everyone
survives to be thriving adults. That is life.
At least that is real life, without the Disney artificial anti-logic that
everyone is a winner and nothing bad ever happens to ME.
The jones with accepting this artificial reality as the real thing is
that we all become idiots in the process, demanding that AS reality.
.... helmets for everyone, trophies for the losing team, ... you know
On the flip side ... I have a friend. Has three boys. Two are grown,
successful adults. The other one is dead. Killed in a heroin deal gone
bad. Geepers, Mr. Obvious ! .... never saw THAT coming !!!
Talking to him over the past 15 years, you'd never know he had two
"good kids". All his attention and coddling went to the idiot child.
The kid was never allowed to fall, to learn about bad decisions and
failure. And now he's dead. Got that lesson all in one large dose.
Reality has a subtle way of taking care of artificial reality.
Naturally, that isn't how anyone would like to have seen things work
out, but over-protection and a lot of bad decisions ultimately brought
things home. Not everyone has "beautiful children". Those ugly ones
come from SOMEWHERE ! Someone has to work at Taco Bell or clean
toilets for a living.
I guess the real question here is will you use caution and common
sense, or will you be another "safety drone" ?
Derek--Are they really "Cheaper by the Dozen?"
I'm 39 years old now, and started riding in my dad's 1927 Touring when I was five years old, but when my son was two he wanted to go on rides with his grandpa around the back roads and neighborhood. Somehow my dad managed to get a seatbelt in the back, and either my husband or I sat beside him. I'm not sure how he did that because he passed away, but my son really enjoyed it. When he got older he was my dad's co-pilot on tours and parades, and the seatbelt disappeared. Now he is 16 and rides with me. We want the younger generations to stay interested and involved.
I would never want a seatbelt in the event something happens. It keeps you connected to the car that is not meant to protect you. Better to jump if something happens.
If the child can sit still long enough to ride, then he/she can have a ride. If he/she is bouncing all over the car, sorry - no ride. Or just a short ride down the block at 5 mph.
Good old common sense ! Love it.
Dexter, I didn't read all the above posts, so excuse me if this has been covered. My only safety concerns with anyone of any age riding in an open car be it Model T or late model Mustang convertible is no one can predict the future. You can be the safest, most capable driver in the world and accidents can happen that are not your fault and beyond your control.
Now, I know there are people that say "that you can't live your life in fear", but how would you feel if a child or an adult died because they were riding with you when another driver did something stupid. As an adult, I have driven a few miles in my T's, but never long distances, across country like some owners on the Forum. I have never had an accident in any antique car, but I've been in accidents in later model cars that were built much better and safer. I look back last year to the Model A crash in Victoria, Texas that took the lives of a Houston couple in their seventies; just beginning their Golden Years.
It is a driver's choice to let anyone ride that is willing to take the risk and who understands the risk. If I let any child ride with me, they are going to be securely restrained and the drive is probably not going to be on a public thoroughfare. That's my thoughts; your's and other's may differ.
I took my daughter in my Model T as early as age two. Granted, I have a closed car, but my car has rear seatbelts, making it easy to install the car seat. Washington state law requires that, no matter what the age of the car is. In my opinion, if your son is strapped into the car seat and the seat is strapped to the car, you will be just fine.
As a side note, if you deal with traffic and lights, I would highly recommend installing side mirrors, turn signals and brake lights, and external rear brakes, whether they be Rocky Mountain, AC, etc. I live in a fairly urban area (Puyallup, WA) and I drive my T every week - to the store, to the park with my daughter, to the dentist - even to work, which is twelve miles away. Most folks do not realize how much braking distance a Model T needs, even at 35 mph - and the traffic lights show no sympathy either. Before I added turn signals, I would have people waving back at me when I was making a right turn! If you are concerned about the safety of your family, I would strongly urge you to add these features, if you haven't already.
Seat belts added to an old car is a fairly common topic on car forums, and gets debated pro and con.
The good is that seat belts will keep you from getting ejected from the car, and if you're driving keep you from sliding away from controls, so you can at least maintain some control of vehicle.
The bad is that the old cars weren't designed for seat belts, so in some instances they're more dangerous than having none. Correct anchorage of belts, loose seat cushions, body deformation are all issues.
Harold Sharon, in his book "Understanding your Brass Car", discussed the ejection or jumping from a car. His comment was that your expectation is you're ejected and you land on a cushy blonde in a haystack, but the reality is you land face first on the concrete. Almost every vehicle fatality in my area is due to no seat belt, occupant or occupants ejected from car.
I have a non-T, 1931 Pierce phaeton. I've installed seat belts for front and rear passenger, as we've been taking our son since he was 6 or so on tours. Me, driving, I have no belt, so I drive very, very defensively.
My earliest memories are of riding in one of the Model T's with my back to the firewall, head next to the coil box staring at my Mom holding my baby sister who was then too little to walk. We went all over, on tours with the local and national clubs. No one said anything because back then cars didn't normally have seat belts, even new cars.
Nowdays someone would call child protective services if they see you forget to click one of the latches on the child seat. It's a different, and not better, world.
Let's agree that seat belts in a T will keep a kid from bouncing around. Let's agree that seat belts in a T will keep people in place in a minor collision. But are seat belts in a T legal? Dn't the seat belt laws refer to properly installed belts, meaning their installation has passed all sorts of government requirements about anchor points? If someone gets injured in a collision, do you have a defense if your seat belts didn't comply? I suspect that seat belts around a kid will satisfy a cop looking for seat belts around a kid, but I wonder whether they're LEGAL seat belts.
I like the freedom of our model T that never will have seat belts as long as i have it!!!!!! Bud in Wheeler,Mi.
I have been been driving children in my Ts since I bought my first one in 1975. It's one of the pleasures of being T owner. They are definitely not the safest car to be in. You have to use some common sense. Make sure the car is as mechanically safe as possible, keep your speed down and keep to back roads. I took my grandson on his first T tour when he was a year old. I did install hooks for his car seat, but really don't know if you're better to be hooked in the car or thrown out. I guess it depends if the car flips or not. Bottom line, anything you do is a crap-shoot. You can get killed going to the grocery store in your modern vehicle, so what do you do stay home any never do anything?
My wife and I have discussed this a few times. One of those times came right after the '11 MTFCI International tour. Each time we discussed it, we determined that the pleasure of driving the old cars outweighs the risks. Our kids have grown up in Model T's and they're looking forward to earning driver's licenses, so they can drive on the public roadways instead of just our property. Their interest, spawned at an early age, is the seed of the future of the hobby.
Royce got it. And I think most are missing the point.
We're all safe drivers. We all know what roads to take the car on and which ones not to mitigate most accidents.
What I'm worried about is a stranger or a neighbor seeing a youngster in the car without a child seat or seat belt and reporting it to the police.
This is the kind of "It takes a village" world we live in.
As long as there is a second adult in the car to watch the child age is not an issue,however if it is just you and the child in the car I would say it depends on the maturity of the child. My grand daughters were much younger than my grand son when they got their first ride.
Dexter, how about starting out by taking your car out to a large open area and having your wife follow with your son. Then in a safe situation begin with slow rides paying attention to how he behaves and any potential problems, preferably with momma sitting with him. This may have the effect of getting the boy used to the experience and what is expected of him and hopefully slowly winning your wife over to the idea. Heck, she may get to a point of saying " Why don't you guys go for a ride and get out of my hair for a while!"
With life, comes risk. My father had us in his Ts as soon as we could sit. Dad is gone now, and those wonderful memories remain, and I still own Model Ts.
In Tennessee you must have a child safety seat, no exceptions.
As a 6 year old I can remember riding in the front seat with my Dad, doing 45 along the highway and the door flung open and I followed it out. Luckily Dad was able to reach over and pull me back in. Must have been a faulty latch!
We have the same car seat laws here but my 5yo daughter comes along without a belt as long there is another adult in the back.
I would be very careful with a small child in a Model T due to the flex in the frame. On more than one occasion I have had the right front door on my 1919 Touring pop open when slowly turning on uneven ground. I have worked many times on this door making sure it is properly straight, the hinges are secure and have even tried a new latch. It has only popped open twice in 15 years but if someone had been leaning on it in a left hand turn they probably would have tumbled out. it is just a reality I have to be cognicent of all the time.
Dexter - If you base your decision on people's experience from 40 years ago you're gonna be in trouble.
Any time you take anyone for a Model T ride you are putting them at risk. Is the experience and fun worth that risk? You are going slower and are more visible and driving fewer miles than you might in something more modern. "We pays our money and takes our chances." We might also worry that the sky is falling.
I believe if you have to ask the question then the answer is NO. Our old cars are as safe as they were when built. If exposing your child to that risk scares you, then by all means be prudent.
Life is dangerous. Yesterday my son and his friend were driving up a narrow country road, in a 15 year old Isuzu Trooper, as a bicyclist came careening down the hill from the opposite direction and smashed into their stopped SUV crashing through the windshield. Remarkably there were no serious injuries, but it proves the point that as long as morons exist, absolute guaranteed safety is a fantasy.
My opinion and worth exactly what you paid for it: I wouldn't strap a child seat into a touring car unless that seat could keep every part of the child WELL below the upper edges of the body tub and frankly I don't believe there is a seat that would do that. If the T turns upside down, what part of the child is going to be trying to hold the car up off the ground? Seat belts and a car seat may make you legal, but that don't mean it's what's best. Again, just my opinion.
Good thread ....
Do what your Wife and your Conscience tell you to do ...
You have to live with one - the other - or both ....
Freighter Jim probably has the best answer here. Whatever you decide, it isn't worth starting WWIII over it.
In Illinois, as in probably a lot of States, we have conflicting laws. The grandfathered seatbelt law says you don't need seatbelts. But the child restraint law assumes you have them and therefore children MUST be in a restraint seat. And it has no provision or reference to the non-seatbelt possibility. So you sort of take a chance with what kind of cop you'll encounter. It has been my experience that I get ear to ear grins from the cops as the kids in my cars wave to them as we pass by. They've got better things to do than pull over a car that isn't going much over 30.
I married into the hobby, so my wife was in T's since birth and our kids have had the same treatment. We ended up never having car seats (except for one of the infants because he was more comfortable there - but the car seat wasn't belted in, obviously).
Is it a risk, yes. But my dentist just recommended my 10 year old wear a mouthguard for baseball. That ain't going to happen either......
annie went across the country with her grandparents on the ocean to ocean tour in 2009. she had a wonderful time as we did playing with her etc. they had her strapped in a car seat in the back of the touring car.
There is "pro & con" concerning seat belts in a Model "T", and I'm only going to point out a couple things that I personally think are important considerations if you decide to install seat belts:
1) The way that Model "T" bodies are attached to the frame, it is not unheard of for the body to become either partially or completely separated from the frame in an accident.
2) There are those that would advise that if installing seat belts, they should be securely attached to the frame, and I believe this is a serious mistake.
3) I would attach seat belts to the seat, or seat riser, or body, NOT the frame, as I believe that in most cases, that will probably satisfy most "enforcement" personnel, and will greatly lessen the possibility of a small rambunctious child falling out of the car, whether from just "kids being kids", or from a minor or "semi-serious" accident.
4) Securely attaching a seatbelt to the frame could, in a serious accident, possibly result in a child's mid-section with a seatbelt around it, being the only thing left that's trying to keep the Model "T" body and frame together. (....not a pleasant thought, but nonetheless, something to think about.)
For what it's worth,......harold
I haven't had a chance to watch the whole thing yet, but there has to be some relevance here.
I haven't installed belts in any of my T's, but I should at least put in lap belts and eventually I will. When it comes to risk reduction you have to play the odds according to reality. "I'd rather be thrown clear" and "Better to jump if something happens" are not reality. The former assumes landing on something soft. Reality usually means being splattered on the concrete like a bug on a windshield. I wish I had a dollar for every time I've read "died when he was ejected from the vehicle" in the paper. The odds say you're better off fastened down and holding onto the wheel. The latter unreality assumes having the time and presence of mind to jump. Collisions happen so fast that you're unlikely to have either. Can you be killed or injured because you're wearing a belt? You bet. The obvious example would be in an open car turning over and having it land on you. But again, what are the odds? Do most cars roll over in a wreck, or not? I think in a majority of cases the answer is not, especially at Model T speeds. There are all sorts of anecdotes that argue for and against belts. I'll go with the odds, based on actual numbers.
Seat belts eliminate what is called the "secondary collision" of the passengers within the vehicle. They are really effective if there is "room to live" in the passenger compartment after the collision.
This can be done in two ways:
1) the vehicle is so heavy and well constructed that it doesn't get damaged when hit by another vehicle and the passenger compartment remains intact. Automobiles are not designed this way.
2) the vehicle is designed with crumple zones that absorb the impact and end up damaged leaving the passenger compartment relatively intact with room to live. This is how modern vehicles are designed.
Antique automobiles are not designed like modern vehicles. While seat belts may eliminate ejection from the vehicle, that doesn't do any good if the passenger compartment is crushed.
When you drive an antique car, you are taking a gamble. If you want protection, you are probably better off wearing motorcycle armor and a helmet rather than installing seat belts.
This is interesting, I'm am a fairly new parent and the thought of which age is acceptable for my child to begin to ride in my T has never crossed my mind. My Daughter was 10 days old when she had her first Model T ride. I have encouraged her to ride with me whenever possible. She is now nearly 2 and every time she comes out to the garage she climbs on the T's and loves to twist the wheel, pull the levers, and flip the key. When I ask if she'd like to go for a Model T ride, she gets very excited and chants "Model T, Model T".
We do live out of town a little way, so the fear of an overreaching authoritative figure doesn't come into play where I live; But my Wife and I have driven the T's to club meetings in town and have often wondered if we would be harassed for driving our T with the baby next to us. We have done it a couple ways, with a car seat and without car seat(both without seat belts). Both have there own set of logistic issues.
My opinion is each case should be based on the riders maturity level and the drivers competence of the workings of a Model T. This isn't a one shoe fits all situation. I feel though the more you allow your young rider to be around the vehicle the better they will understand and appreciate its complexities, making it a less stressful situation for all involved.
Get out, have fun, and play nice!
My grandkids aren't that small anymore, but these parents chose to place car seats for their kiddos. Makes sense to me to do what you may to help prevent incidents, little kids are always in motion, having them strapped in any kind vehicle seems reasonable to me. Most states require it, a motor vehicle is a motor vehicle regardless of age.
It's funny how these things come up. I had the car out last night for everyone to ride in following a fancy family dinner. We had a great time, but then again I was on the side streets.
Dan Treace, I like those pictures! (my wife & kids, and my parents car)
Use some common sense and take a back road at a slower speed and let the kid have some fun.
Chicken Little has been to many folks roll model for way to long.
Just dont haul it around on the lawnmower as you are mowing. Heard about another kid being hurt up bad enough to be airlifted this morning from that act of stupidity.
I think I ask once before but never hurts to ask again.
Is it possible for a engineer to design a suitable seat belt system for a T? Let them look over old accident photos and such and determine if it is better to be bolted to the chassis or the wooden floor or?.
Also could this same engineer come up with some good side impact beams for the doors. Maby some rollover protection?
Gets complicated in a hurry.
I installed a new radio antenna on a 2001 Nissan pickup 1 day. Requires digging around in the cab corner and under the dash. The truck has a heck of a heavy rollover bar built into the cab. Out of sight,out of mind. Never saw that in any other truck cab before.
For those that think T's don't turn over at T speeds, there used to be a frequent poster here named "Brent in Tennessee", whose kid turned over a Model T on what looked like a very narrow road through the middle of a field. Maybe someone will search the archives and post a link. I don't remember the exact circumstances, but the kid was just barely driving age and it is possible that inexperience played a part, but I do not believe speed played a part based on the photos and what was said at the time. Roll overs can and do happen. As a matter of fact, it seems like most of the accidents that have been posted on here involved roll overs. I wasn't keeping score, but it sure seems that way just going by recollection. When I see these pictures of child seats in a Touring Car, I can't get the picture out of my head of that thing upside down with the kids head half scraped away. Sorry to be so graphic, but that is indeed the picture I can't get out of my head when I see those photos.
I agree that jumping isn't going to happen. That's fantasy. Ejection probably IS going to happen. I don't see it much different than riding a motorcycle. How old does your kid have to be to ride on the back of a motorcycle? I remember dropping my oldest off at school (Kindergarten, actually) on my bike. He liked carrying his helmet to class. He's got his own Harley now.
Here is the link on Brent Terry's son, the T was being driven by a more inexperienced friend.
I was driving a [Farmall] Super C when I was 6. A ride in a Model t would have been a lot safer.
When I was under 3 years old I wrecked my motorcycle and busted out all my front teeth.
It was before helmet laws took affect.
In all honesty and in retrospect,I was to busy turning the crank on top of the gas tank to make the roaring sound to pay attention to where I was going. Distractions while driving can lead to accidents.
Yes I am 48 and still have my first motorcycle.