Air Bag Safety

By: Sabrina Wu
By: Sabrina Wu

Even though many parents know airbags can be deadly for kids, surveys show 11 percent of parents still say they let their little ones ride in the front passenger seat.

"I know that you're less apt to control your child when you put them in the back, but the consequences can be severe." Wisconsin State Patrol Lt. Tim Carnahan says.

"The reason you should never put a child in the front passenger seat of a car with an airbag is because an airbag blows back with a certain degree of force." Carnahan explains.

"Any child that's under the age of 12, we prefer that they ride in the back seat." V & H Automotive Manager Bill Arndt says.

Arndt says that second generation airbags will only open with the same amount of force as the car impact, whereas first generation airbags open with only one speed. Car manufacturers are also putting out side impact airbags, which come out with less force.

He says there are also devices called "latches" being installed in cars, to which car seats can be anchored, as well as built in car seats in family cars.

Despite the new technology available, however, he says the safest place for a young child is always in a car seat in the back seat.

State Patrol Lt. Tim Carnahan says, however, that parents have to be careful to read the instructions that come with car seats. He says officers frequently see car seats improperly installed, and that can be as dangerous as not having one at all.