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Air Bag Safety: Buckle Everyone, Children in Back
Air Bags Work – They Save Lives
They do their job best when everyone is buckled and kids are properly restrained in the back seat. Air bags have saved thousands of adult lives. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that tragically, about 100 children have been killed or injured by the force of a deploying air bag. In most cases, the children were riding in the front seat either in a rear-facing child safety seat or “out of position,” either unbuckled or not wearing the shoulder portion of the safety belt.
An air bag is not a soft billowy pillow. Rather, to work effectively, an air bag comes out of the dashboard at rates of up to 200 miles per hour — faster than the blink of an eye. Drivers can entirely eliminate any danger to children from a deploying air bag by placing kids properly restrained in the back seat.
With or without an air bag, the back seat is the safest place for children to ride. As the number of motor vehicles equipped with air bags increases, the risk to kids riding in the front seat will also increase. That is why we must all work to educate people now that air bags save lives and work best when everyone is buckled and kids are in back, properly buckled up.
Air Bag Safety Tips
Kids ride in back. Infants in rear-facing child safety seats should NEVER ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger-side air bag. Children five feet or shorter should also ride buckled up in the back seat.
Child safety seats. Young children and infants should always ride in age- and size-appropriate child safety seats. The safety seat should be held properly in place by the vehicle’s safety belts and the child should be correctly buckled in the child safety seat. A child who has outgrown a convertible child safety seat will need to ride in a booster seat in order for the vehicle’s safety belts to fit properly.
Wear both lap AND shoulder belts. The shoulder strap should cross the collarbone, and the lap belt should fit low and tight on the hips. The shoulder strap should never be slipped behind the back or under the arm.
Move the front seat back. Drivers should position the seat as far away from the dashboard as is practical to operate the vehicle.