Feel like you live out of your car? We spend a lot of time running our kids around. Car buying is about your family’s safety just as much as comfort and driveability. Just like seat belts your vehicle’s airbags restrain your family in the event of an accident. It’s not about the number of airbags a vehicle has, it’s about where they are placed. Do your homework ahead of time.
There are basically two types of vehicle airbags offered. Frontal and various side airbags. Look for these letters: “SRS”, “IRS”, “SIR”, “SIPS”, “SIAB”,”IC” or the words “Air Bag” on the glove box, dashboard, or visors. They show the different types of airbags that vehicle has.
Frontal airbags ~ Frontal airbags come out of the steering wheel or dash of a car. they are mandatory on all new vehicles. Many car’s sensors read the size and positioning of a passenger now to ensure the proper amount of force needed during deployment. The smallest dummy tested on frontal airbags is around 5 ft and 100 pounds. If your child is under 12 and smaller than that, they should not ride in the front seat.
Side-impact airbags ~ Side-impact airbags(SABs) are broken down into three different types (head, chest, and combined head/chest SABs). Don’t pay more money for two separate head and chest SABs. Opt for combined SABs. They are just as safe and usually less money. Taking your time and shopping around will ensure the best price and safety options for your family.
Curtain airbag ~ If you drive a Minivan or SUV look for a whole curtain airbag. The curtain will protect a few rows of seats. The side SABs are the airbags that will be protecting your precious back seat cargo, your kids.
Consumer affairs reported that frontal airbags in conjunction with seat belt restraints have saved an estimated 20,000 lives since 1997. Torso SABs have reduced vehicle crash fatalities by 27% according to The Insurance Institute. Even better was the introduction of head/torso SABs which reduced crash fatalities by up to 37%.
Airbags are a great safety device and necessary to ensure your family’s safety. There are things you can do to ensure that your airbags will keep your kids safe:
- Children riding in any car seat or booster seat should never be placed in the front seat of your car.
- Be sure your child’s car seat is properly secured. Many county Agencies like the Sheriff’s Department offer free car seat checks.
- Kids under 12 need to ride in the back and they must wear both shoulder and lap restraints.
- In most states it’s the law, but even if it is not law, it’s a good idea that everyone buckle-up (Shoulder and lap belts).
- Turn off the airbag if a car seat is being used in a truck or sports car. If you can not turn off the airbag then that child should not ride in that vehicle.
Shop around and do your homework before you buy your next vehicle. Know the airbag features you are interested in. Remember, that different makes and models offer different airbag safety features. More airbags is not always better. Good airbag placement and proper child restraint will mean safer travels for you and your family.