When used with seat belts, airbags work well to protect teenagers and adults; however, airbags can be very dangerous to children, particularly to those riding in rear-facing seats and to preschoolers and young school-aged children who are not properly restrained.
Front airbags are installed in all new cars.
If your vehicle has a front passenger airbag, infants in rear-facing seats must ride in the back seat. Even in a relatively low-speed crash, the airbag can inflate, strike the car seat, and cause serious brain injury and death.
Vehicles with no back seat or a back seat that is not made for passengers are not the best choice for traveling with small children; however, the airbag can be turned off in some of these vehicles if the front seat is needed for a child passenger. See your vehicle owner’s manual for more information.
Side airbags are available in most new cars.
Side airbags improve safety for adults in side-impact crashes. Read your vehicle owner’s manual for more information about the airbags in your vehicle. Read your car seat instructions and the vehicle owner’s manual for guidance on placing the seat next to a side airbag.
The following information will help keep you and your children safe:
- The safest place for all infants and children younger than 13 years to ride is in the back seat.
- All children should be properly secured in car seats, belt-positioning booster seats, or the seat belts correct for their size.
- All infants and toddlers should ride in a rear-facing car seat as long as possible or until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer.
- All children who have outgrown the rear-facing weight or height limit for their car seat, should use a forward-facing car seat with a harness for as long as possible, up to the highest weight or height allowed by the car seat’s manufacturer.
- All children whose weight or height is above the forward-facing limit for their car seat should use a belt-positioning booster until the seat belts fit properly, typically when they have reached 1.5meters in height and are between 8 and 12 years of age.
Source: healtychildren.org (Copyright © 2021 American Academy of Pediatrics)