Look how far we’ve come in the car seat world!

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Bobby-Mac 2 in 1 Car Seat

Bobby-Mac 2 in 1 Car Seat

Ever wonder how car seats came about and what choices parents had at the beginning of production?  We’ve been given the chance to review a seat from back in 1978 and would like to cover some of the basics of what has changed since we were kids.

Introducing our newest car seat added to the CSFTL stash, the Bobby-Mac 2 in 1 Car Seat, manufactured September 25, 1978.






Seat stats

rear facing collage Forward facing collage

Features (according to the booklet that comes with the seat):

  • Proven safe through dynamic testing including frontal, rear, and side impact testing
  • Truly versatile seat that can used in conjuncture with a high chair and stroller conversion kit
  • Features a safety shield to keep the adult belt off the child’s abdomen with a safety latch to help with side impact protection
  • 3 in-car recline positions for child comfort (all safety tested)
  • Safety extension to make the seat untippable when in used out of the vehiclefeatures collage

Old vs. New Technology

Besides some of the obvious differences, let’s take a look at what has changed since that time.  I will say that the Bobby Mac was definitely ahead of the game when it comes to car seats from that time period, considering most weren’t actually safety tested for cars and just a place to put the child.


lap belt with tailSeat belt with just ELR (emergency locking retractor – only locks in a crash, you can’t pre lock it) or lap only belt with tail.

Today’s seat belts lock before a crash happens, so the seat is always secure, or the seat can be installed using LATCH, which is standard in vehicles made after September 2002.

SAM_4801 24 point harness – The more points of contacts between the child’s body and the seat means they will be more secure in the seat.  This harness contacts both hips, between the legs and one contact on the back of the seat for over the shoulders.SAM_4803 25 point harness – This harness contacts both hips, between the legs, and a contact on each shoulder.

Shield to lock the belt to help with side impact protection, by reducing side to side movement in the event of a crash due to non pre locking belts.

SAM_3975Lock offs on the base or seat itself to lock the belt instead of using the pre locking belt.

SAM_4805Plastic shell with no EPP/EPS foam to help absorb crash forces.

SAM_4810EPS/EPP foam to help absorb crash forces along with soft foam for comfort.

SAM_4808Plastic or vinyl seat pad for easy clean up, but can get hot in hot weather.

SAM_4814Plush cloth cover for comfort and doesn’t get as hot in hot weather. Can easily be hand washed or in a washing machine (please refer to car seat instruction manual for specific instructions).


No chest clip to keep straps positioned correctly in a crash.

SAM_4496Chest clip to keep shoulder straps close to help with ejection risk.

SAM_4817Several metal clips to adjust all the straps that can be cumbersome to adjust.

harness adjustFront or back adjust harness adjuster for easy adjustment, which in turn helps with better fit.

PicMonkey CollageStickers attached to the bottom of the seat with seat instructions. This can make it hard to remember exact directions without uninstalling the seat.

PicMonkey Collage 2Instruction manual as well as stickers attached to the side of the seat to help with installation and easy reference.

We’ve come a long way in the last 35 years!  It’s amazing how fast technology changes over the years between both car seats and vehicles.  It’s a good thing it is changing though.  Comparing fatal crash test data between then and now, makes it all the more obvious.  Unfortunately, the earliest data I could find on the number of fatal crashes was from 1988.  According to the U.S. Dept of Transportation in 1988 there were 42,119 fatal crashes compared to 29,757 fatal crashes in 2011.  It’s nice to know our kids are so much safer on the road than we were as children.

We fully encourage parents to keep up to date on all current laws, car seat, and car technology.  To find out more about the history of car seats you can check out this SafeRideNews article.  Also for more information on past car seats and to see what other options have been available through the years, check out Vintage Car Seat Guy’s Pinterest board and feel free to send him an email with any questions on vintage car seats.


Originally written by Angela Tastad. Edits maintained by CSFTL.