Airbags are such a common safety feature in cars that parents can’t be completely blamed for not knowing they could be dangerous. For airbags to cushion the occupants of a vehicle and prevent them from injury during a collision, they must fully inflate rapidly with considerable force.
At what age and size are airbags safe for children?
In a split second, an airbag can inflate at speeds of around 260km/h and even faster. This is why child passengers under the age of 13 years old or weighing 30kg should not be allowed to sit in the front passenger seat of a car with airbags, unless the airbags were deactivated.
Airbag safety measures with children
Airbags are not substitutes for seat belts – the two work together to provide vehicle occupants optimal safety. That being said, because children are smaller and lighter, airbags can actually lift them from their seat. This is one reason why the safest place for them is buckled up in the middle of the rear passenger seats. Children under twelve years old should be safely strapped in a child car seat or booster seat, depending on their size and weight.
If your child passenger must ride in front, then you should take the time to slide the front seat as far back as possible. Before buckling them up, make sure they are sitting upright with their backs against the back seat. No slouching, or the belt will not be properly secured.
These are four key rules to follow:
- Don’t place a child in the front with a rear-facing child seat.
- Don’t place infants in the front seat, even with a front-facing baby seat.
- Place infants in a baby seat in the back facing the rear of the car.
- If you have no choice but to ride with a child in the front, secure them properly in their seat and slide it as far back as it can go.
With all the precautions in place, one last thing you may want to do is check your car’s manual or the vehicle manufacturer about the use of airbags and child safety.
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How to use airbags safely
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