An air bag can save an adult life, but be fatal to a young life.
Here is what you need to know to protect your kids from these safety devices that we encounter every day. For young children, a car safety seat is the best defense against air bags and crashes.
- The safest place for infants and children younger than 13 is to ride in the back seat.
- Never put an infant in the front seat, exposing them to the passenger airbag.
- Properly secure children of all ages in a car safety seat, booster seat, or seat belt correct for their size.
- Infants and toddlers should ride in a rear facing safety seat until the age of 2 years.
- Children older than 2 years, or those who have outgrown their rear facing seat should use forward-facing seats with a harness as long as possible.
- Those whose weight and height is above the forward-facing limit for their safety seat should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the seat belt fits properly.
- Children typically reach 4 feet 9 inches in height between the ages of 8 and 12. At this point they can properly fit in a standard car seat and seat belt. Make sure the seat belt crosses the lap and shoulder.
Don’t forget about side air bags located in the back seat. A side air bag can cause serious injury to children who are not properly restrained. Make sure to read your car owner’s manual to locate them.
Plan ahead when car-pooling. Ensure your child’s safety seat accompanies them if traveling in a different car, or confirm that an extra safety seat is available for your child.
Do not turn off airbags unless recommended by a doctor for a particular health issue. Disabled airbags provide no protection to those who do need them in case of a crash.
If it can’t be avoided and an older child must ride in the front seat, push the seat as far away from the air bag as possible. Keeping in mind that they can still be at risk of injury.
Remember, children should always be in the back seat restrained by the size appropriate car safety seat at all times!