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Airbag Safety and Children

By: Sally Aquire - Updated: 4 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Safety Children Child Car Seat Booster

The introduction of in-car airbags has undoubtedly saved lives, but there is currently a big debate as to whether they are safe for children. According to some experts, airbags have contributed to injuries and even deaths due to their weight and the speed at which they inflate.

This article discusses the safety of car airbags in relation to children, and offers advice on keeping your children safe if they are present in your car.

The dangers of airbags

The biggest danger associated with airbags is their inflation speed. If the car is involved in an accident (or even if you have to brake very sharply), the airbags is designed to inflate at very high speed. If your child is sitting in the front passenger seat without being adequately secured in place, they can easily be injured or killed by being too close to the airbag at the time of the impact. You must always ensure that your child is using the correct car seat or booster seat for their height, weight and age. We've found a great range of child car seats at kiddicare.

The main reason for this is an ill-fitting seatbelt. Seatbelts are supposed to fit tightly across the chest and stomach areas so that you are pulled backwards into your seat (to counteract the fact that a crash or sudden braking will almost always send you hurtling forwards). However, depending on their height and weight, children aged under twelve may find that adult seatbelts do not fit them properly.

This can cause them to slide forwards in the seat. This would not normally be a big problem, as the seatbelt would still protect them in most circumstances. If your car is fitted with airbags though, things are slightly different.

If the front seat passenger is adequately secured by their seatbelt (and thus sitting the correct distance away from the airbag), the airbag will simply cushion them from possible injury during an accident. If they are not adequately secured by their seatbelt, the force of the impact caused by the airbag inflating can actually do more damage than the accident.

There have been several cases of children being injured or killed by airbags, but these could have been avoided if the children had been adequately restrained.

Airbag safety

Despite the horror stories in the press in recent years, airbags rarely cause problems if the front seat passenger is properly secured. If you suspect that your child is too small to be adequately restrained in the front seat, you should move them one of the rear seats instead.

This is by far the safest place in the car for them to be. As most cars are only fitted with front seat airbags (to avoid the driver and front seat passenger going through the front window screen), this avoids the problems associated with rapidly inflating airbags.

Rear-facing child car seats must never be put in the front passenger if an airbag is fitted, unless the airbag has been deactivated. The impact of the airbag inflating can crush them into the back of the seat, which can easily suffocate them. If your child has a child car seat or booster seat, put them in one of the rear seats instead.

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@Reggie. It usually stands for Electronic Brake Assistance.
SaferMotoring - 24-Apr-12 @ 9:45 AM
What does E B A stand for? It is in the spec of a late model Vauxhall Corsa and is shown next to "ABS"
Reggie - 24-Apr-12 @ 12:20 AM
Hi, Here in the UK one of the things that we use to help educate our children about the importance of wearing a seat belt at all times is a fun and memorable seat belt safety song called...Put Your Seat Belt On. http://bit.ly/itFo92 Bob
Bob - 4-Jun-11 @ 2:33 PM
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