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Airbag Safety

Since 1998 airbags have been standard on all new cars and are a critical safety feature that can prevent injury and death in the event of an accident. However, without proper use, airbags can be the cause of serious, secondary injuries and in some instances, result in death. To make airbag technology as effective as possible follow these safety guidelines to ensure you and your passengers are safe in the event of an accident.

Driver Safety

  • Always wear your seatbelt. Airbags are designed to supplement the protection seatbelts provide. Seatbelts are your frontline of defense in an accident and will keep you secure and prevent you from hitting a rapidly inflating airbag.   
  • Keep your distance. Drivers should sit at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel. If 10 inches is too far, tilt the steering wheel down.
  • Hold the steering wheel in the proper 10:2 or 9:3 position.

Passenger Safety

  • All passengers not in a child or infant seat should be secured with a seatbelt that has both lap and shoulder capabilities. Proper seatbelt position is over your hips and across your collarbone.
  • Always sit in an upright position in the seat and never place legs or feet on the dashboard. If an airbag deploys the rapid inflation can cause serious injury by thrusting legs at strange angles and crushing them into the person’s face and torso.
  • Children or adults under 90 pounds should ride in the back seat.
  • Never ride with a pet in your lap. Airbag deployment could kill the animal and force it into the passenger’s abdomen and cause internal injury.

Child Passenger Safety

  • Children under 13 years old should ride in the back seat. Never place an infant or small child in the front seat.
  • Infants and children under 2 years of age should be in a backward facing restrained child seat.
  • Children 2 or older should be in a forward facing restrained child seat or booster in the back seat.
    • Note: Weight, height and age are all determining factors of whether a child requires a rear facing child seat, forward facing child seat or booster seat. Please consult manufacturing safety guidelines for proper usage.
  • Side airbags are designed for adults. Children not properly restrained may be at risk for serious injury in the event of a side airbag’s deployment. Consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual for safety specifications and guidelines.
  • If a child must ride in the front passenger seat, make sure their lap and shoulder belt fit securely and correctly, or place them in a front-facing booster seat. Move the seat as far away from the dashboard as possible and, if possible, disable the airbag.
  • Many newer model cars offer the option of on/off switches for airbags to accommodate younger passengers. Always check to ensure the setting is correct for the passenger riding in that seat.

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