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Home > Safety Restraints > Air Bags > Air Bag Safety

Air Bag Safety

Adults

  • Adult Air BagMove seat to the rear as far as possible, while still being able to reach the pedals comfortably, especially shorter people.
  • Slightly recline the back of the seat.
  • If the steering wheel is adjustable, tilt it downward. This points the air bag toward your chest instead of your head and neck.
  • Pedal extenders can be used to help get further away from the air bag.
  • Both lap and shoulder safety belts should always be used in vehicles equipped with air bags.

Children

Children and air bags do not mix

  • Baby Air BagAll children under the age of 12 should ride in the back seat.
  • Air bags can seriously injure or kill children who are sitting in the front seat. Children can easily slide off the seat during pre-crash braking, throwing them against the dashboard where the airbag can strike them on the head or neck with tremendous force before it is fully inflated.
  • A rear-facing infant seat should Never be placed in the front seat of a vehicle equipped with an active passenger air bag.
  • If a child over one year old must ride in the front seat with a passenger side air bag, put the child in a front facing child safety seat, a booster seat, or a correct fitting lap/shoulder belt-- AND move the seat as far back as possible.

On/Off Safety Switches & Deactivation

  • Some vehicles are equipped with a special switch on the dashboard that lets the driver control the passenger air bag. Federal requirements allow the switch only for vehicles with no rear seats or those with rear seats too small to safely accommodate a rear-facing infant seat.
  • The federal government now has procedures allowing the very few people who may be at risk of serious airbag injury to get switches. Minor adjustment to seating position will usually resolve safety problems
  • On/Off Switches are allowed for medical reasons, pregnant women, continuous transportation of many children at once, and other rare occasions.
  • To get an air bag deactivated, you must obtain an information brochure and submit a request form (?). If the form is properly and completely filled out, NHTSA will then send you an authorization letter that you can take to your dealer or repair shop.

You should check with your auto dealer or repair shop to see whether an on-off switch is available for your vehicle

VEHICLE Safety Hotline

  • 1-800-424-9393