Air Bag Warning for Children
Children face entirely different risks associated with Supplemental Restraint Systems. And, these risks can be deadly! CHILDREN HAVE SPECIAL RISKS!
Infants less than one year old and/or weighing less than 20 pounds do not have strong enough neck muscles to survive a frontal crash if facing forward. In such a crash, the head would snap forward and cause serious neck and spinal cord injury. Therefore, infants must be in a rear-facing child restraint device installed at a 45 degree angle to spread the force of the crash across the whole body, to support the infant’s head, and maintain an open airway. This rear-facing safety seat must not be installed in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger-side air bag! The deploying air bag would crush the safety seat and seriously injure or kill the infant. A rear seat is the safest spot in any vehicle. The rear-facing child restraint device should always be installed in a rear seat, regardless of whether or not the vehicle has a passenger-side air bag; however, this rear seat installation is absolutely essential if the vehicle does have a passenger-side air bag. In vehicles with passenger-side air bags and no rear seats, such as pickups and some personal sport cars, do not transport infants! Do not use rear-facing safety seats in the front seats of such vehicles. REAR IS REQUIRED!
Toddlers, over one year of age and over 20 pounds, are developed enough to ride in forward-facing safety seats. In the front seat, these safety seats typically place the child several inches closer to the dashboard than the normal adult seating position and could, therefore, place the child within the air bag’s deployed space. This is extremely risky! By far, the safest position for toddlers in forward-facing safety seats is in the rear seat. If the toddler must ride in the front seat, the passenger seat must be back as far as possible from the dashboard and air bag. REAR IS PREFERRED!
For older children in booster seats, the same rationale applies as for toddlers in forward-facing safety seats. REAR IS THE SAFEST!
NHTSA now recommends all children, ages 12 and under, ride in the back seat and be properly restrained, initially in safety seats and then by safety belts. Unfortunately, surveys indicate up to 35 percent of children ride unrestrained. Pre-crash braking and crash dynamics turn unrestrained children into missiles and throw them against the dashboard, air bag, or other passengers. This can place the child and the other passenger directly into the air bag’s deployment space with deadly results. The inflating air bag and plastic cover can violently impact the out-of-position occupant with sufficient force to injure or kill. SECURED IN THE REAR IS WITHOUT FEAR!