It's not the gas prices that bother me in this photo...
Yeah, what are they thinking? That baby needs to be lower to the ground for better handling.
You see much "worse" in India - and I would think anywhere in the 3rd world countries. First the 2 wheelers are the most common vehicles there. You regularly see whole families riding on a vehicle that size. One of the most astonishing I saw was Dad driving, 8 yr old Son standing on the floorboard, 6 yr old Sister riding behind Dad, and holding 2-3 yr old Sister in her lap. None of them wearing helmets. In the heaviest traffic you could imagine. Another I saw was a guy carrying a load of branches, they were piled on the floorboard and piled so high he couldn't sit on the seat but was lying on top of the pile of branches hanging on while operating the scooter controls.
This - uh - this is mild compared to the things people in India do.
We need to be reasonable here. If the parent rides defensively, the child will be fine.
This obsession with absolute safety is how we ended up with so many big and dangerous-to-others, SUV's on the road.
In my old-fashioned, rust-belt city, I occasionally see parents carry their children on child carriers - and even on those child trailers on bicycles - and on streets, not bike trails either.