Airbag Safety

Vehicle airbags save lives. There’s no denying that. Airbags are responsible for reducing driver fatalities by 29 percent and passenger fatalities by 32 percent in frontal crashes according to the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). That’s a significant reduction in traffic-related fatalities. Side airbags provide additional reductions in fatalities when deployed. There are, however, a few risks involving airbags that are important for all drivers to understand.

Rear-Facing Child Safety Seats

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges parents to never place a rear-facing child safety seat in the front seat period. You should especially avoid doing so in cars that have airbags. These seats place the baby’s head too close to the location where the airbags literally explode from the dashboard at a rate of up to 200 MPH, causing massive, potentially fatal trauma to the child’s head and neck.

Children Ages 12 and Under

Children, age 12 and under, should also sit in the back seat whenever possible. The velocity of a deploying airbag can easily injure or kill young children. In fact, a recent release from Harvard states that the likelihood of a child between the ages of 0 and 12 being killed in a crash are 31 percent greater if they are restrained in the front seat with an airbag than without one. Unrestrained children suffer an 84 percent greater likelihood of fatality in front seats when airbags deploy.

Small Adults

Small adults should arrange their seats so that their breastbones are at least ten inches from the airbag covers in their vehicles in order to avoid potentially serious injuries.

If it is unavoidable to drive with an infant or child under the age of 12 in the front seat or impossible to reach the steering wheel while keeping the breast bone ten inches from the airbag cover, adults may obtain permission from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) to have an airbag switch installed in the vehicle allowing the adult to turn the airbag off. In order to do this, you must obtain the proper paperwork from the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), turn it in, and receive authorization.

The fact that it is not easy to get this switch installed in cars is another sign of just how effective airbags are as a safety feature in today’s vehicles. Now that you know about airbag safety, make sure you contact Gee-Schussler Insurance with any questions you have about insurance and other ways to protect your loved ones while on the road.