Air bags. Are they safe for children and children in car seats?

jeep1988jeep1988 Member Posts: 40
edited March 2014 in Buick
Are they really that safe? For children sitting in the back seat in a car seat of not?


  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Two things I know for sure about this subject:

    1. Children under 12 years of age should not sit in the front seat of cars with passenger side airbags UNLESS said vehicle has a "weight-sensing airbag" which will deploy more slowly based on the weight of the child passenger. Children have been killed by "adult size and speed" airbags in very slow crashes. A few years ago in Phoenix a young boy (I think age 8 or 9) was killed by an airbag in a minor frontal crash where the Mom was going slower than 15 MPH. He had leaned over into the floorboard right at impact time and the delpoyed airbag broke his neck and killed him.

    2. As far as car seats go, it is never a good idea to position any kind of infant who is sitting in a car seat in a location where the airbag deployment will affect them.

    Good luck....
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    Safest place for children under 12 is in the back seat. This eliminates any problems with frontal impact air bags.

    The only airbags which are designed to give protection to back seat passengers are typically called 'curtain' airbags. These airbags typically deploy down from the ceiling next to the window. What are typically called 'side' airbags are mounted in the sides of the front seats and deploy to protect the torso of the front seat occupants (although apparantly Mercedes also fits chest protecting airbags for rear-seat passengers also).

    This article may be helpful:
  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    Most cars with side torso airbags for the rear seat offer these as options, with the exception of Mercedes. The reason is that people with small children should not get the optional torso bags.

    The curtain airbags are intended for head protection, and these generally do not inflate with much pressure, so they are okay for children. Still, owner's manuals warn that passengers shouldn't lean their heads against the windows or C-pillar areas.
  • jeep1988jeep1988 Member Posts: 40
    So, bascically side curtain airbags are only good for people that are tall? If they inflate from the ceiling, one that shorter probably will not? Am I correct in my assessment?

  • carlisimocarlisimo Member Posts: 1,280
    I don't believe so but I'm not sure. They drop down far enough that they should protect almost everyone's head, and they inflate very quickly.
  • rorrrorr Member Posts: 3,630
    Re - the curtain airbags.

    I've seen those same warning regaring curtain airbags and leaning heads against the windows/C-pillars. But I've always wondered; is the warning because of possible danger from the curtain airbag inflating downward onto the passenger's head possible causing neck it because the passenger loses the protection the curtain airbag is intended to provide and therefor can be injured from the object impacting the side of the vehicle?

    In other words, is the potential danger internal (from the curtain airbag) or external (from the impacting car)?
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaMember Posts: 1,173
    I've heard a rumor of some manufacturer's working on a rear seat airbag designed to come out of the front seat headrest, but you will have the ability to set them to on or off with your key (kind of like some pick-ups have for their passenger seat) so if you would have a child seat in that location.

  • cpsdarrencpsdarren Member Posts: 265
    In general, rear seat airbags are safe for all passengers including children. There are some early designs, especially torso side airbags, that may not be safe for improperly restrained passengers and/or children. In the case where side impact airbags may pose a risk to children, vehicle manufacturers are supposed to voluntarily disable them when shipped from the factory and require the purchaser to have the dealer enable them. This should also be noted on labels and in the owner's manual. I have not heard that this applies to any mainstream models from recent model years.

    Almost all major auto manufacturers meet voluntary guidelines on side airbags systems to avoid injuries to out of position occupants. Conformance to to these guidelines is noted on the individual vehicle safety report pages at . Also see for the fine details.

    The current consensus is that side curtain airbags are not only safe for properly restrained children, but should improve their safety in a side impact. So far, there has not been any kind of epidemic of injuries as there was with early, full-force frontal airbags. At recent conferences on child passenger safety, it is still noted that no serious injuries to children have been attributed to side impact airbags. To my knowledge, only one or two serious injuries to adults have been reported.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 13,994
    I believe the new Dual Stage airbags
    (I think that's what their called ?) appear to be alot safer, but yes kids still aren't reccommended for front seat occupancy. The Lucerne/DTS I know has these new airbags. ;)

  • nimnim Member Posts: 1
    Hi all,

    I was wondering if anyone knows any source where I can get all the technical information about airbags in cars from the beginning till now. Any help will be appreciated.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaMember Posts: 12,726
    Yeah, and just about EVERY other new model sold today! Dual stage airbags have been around for a few years now. ;-)

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 13,994
    I read somewhere the Lucerne and DTS, were the first cars out with them nippon. :confuse:

    Okay if you say so pal.

  • 210delray210delray Member Posts: 4,721
    Actually, you're both right! GM has made something called "dual depth" frontal airbags available on the passenger side of the 2006-07 Lucerne and DTS. These inflate to different lengths ("depths") depending on crash severity, belt use, and seat fore-aft position.

    Dual-stage airbags are now nearly universal (typically deploying at different pressures depending on crash severity, and in some models, belt use and/or seat fore/aft adjustment). Also, the frontal passenger airbags now must be able to tailor inflation pressure (or whether to deploy at all) for small persons, in particular children, in the front seat. This is typically done with some type of weight sensor in the seat.
  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 13,994
    Okay I had my wording wrond "dual-depth" is what I meant. The second airbag deploys slower or faster depending on the impact, right ?

  • rockyleerockylee Wyoming, MichiganMember Posts: 13,994
    Safety devices that offer head protection prevent even more crash deaths each year. 1148

  • ownerof525xiownerof525xi Member Posts: 12
    That is why Have all kinds of airbags and have the car seat in center seat on the back. Its the safest seat for infants
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