Airbag Safety Tips for Family Road Trips

This may be the summer of road trips! Family road trips are fun for all, but safe travels are crucial to ensuring a smooth experience. 

Driving poses many risks and one of them is found inside your vehicle. The airbags inside your car are useful safety tools, but they can also be dangerous for yourself and your children. 

While airbags have saved more than 50,000 lives, they have also claimed some and caused injuries from suffocation and the direct impact of airbag deployment.

They are especially hazardous to children because airbags are designed to support adults. This increases the likelihood of a complication resulting from your airbags because your children are vulnerable to how they function. 

Fortunately, you can eliminate the dangers posed by airbags if you understand the situation and ensure that your children are riding safely. We’ll point out a few tips for managing this below. 

Know the Locations of Your Vehicle’s Airbags

You should begin by learning the locations of your vehicle’s airbags.

Every car is a little different and modern cars tend to have more airbags than older vehicles. Likely locations include your steering wheel, your dashboard on the passenger side, inside your seat to protect your sides, and the roof. 

teen driving

It’s important to understand where your airbags are because you can anticipate where they’ll deploy from in a crash. With this information, you can adjust where your family members sit so that nobody is in danger by being near an airbag. 

Children Must Sit in the Back Seat

Any particularly small or young children must sit in the back seat. This is part of why you want to know where your airbags are located. Almost all vehicle’s airbags are located in the front seats, but curtain airbags may extend around the sides of the back seats.

Children under the age of 13 or less than 65 pounds should not be sitting in the front seat. They are simply too small for the location of the airbag and this makes the chances of suffocating high. 

Because the back seat is airbag-free, you’ll want to ensure that your kids sit back there. The middle seat is safest, so place your littlest one there. Avoid driving with children in the front seat and never place a baby seat in the front. 

Sit Away From Airbags

Another important tip is to ensure all passengers make a point to sit away from airbags throughout the entire trip. This is the other reason why you want to know where the airbags are. When airbags are deployed, an enormous amount of pressure is released. If you are directly in front of the airbag when it deploys, then you can sustain significant injuries. 

With this in mind, you want to sit as far away from airbags as safely possible. Your passenger should move their seat back and avoid leaning forward or resting on the door. 

You should also move your seat back but keep it close enough to reach the pedals. Avoid leaning close to the steering wheel.

If you have curtain airbags, make sure that your kids aren’t leaning against the doors. Even if you are sitting away from airbags, you’ll still be close enough to benefit from them. Being too close is dangerous, so keep your distance by ensuring that you and your family’s backs remain against your seats.

Verify That Your Vehicle’s Airbags Are Safe to Use

Finally, it’s critical to verify that your vehicle’s airbags are safe to use.  There are two components to this.

First, you’ll want to replace any used airbags as soon as possible. Airbags can only be used once and must be replaced afterward. If you don’t, then no airbags will activate the next time you get into an accident. 

The other aspect is that some airbags are unsafe. In particular, Takata airbags have been recalled due to being defective. These are found in many different vehicles commonly found on the road, so your car may have defective airbags.

This is problematic because defective airbags can cause serious injuries or even death. You can avoid this by checking to see if your vehicle is involved and getting them swapped if they are.

Airbags are highly useful and can prevent serious injuries during an accident, so they’re certainly worth having in good working shape.

If you want to ensure the safety of your family during a road trip, you need to consider your airbags. The deployment of airbags is forceful enough to cause injuries for both adults and children.

You can avoid any issues stemming from airbags by understanding how to address them. This includes learning where the airbags in your vehicle are, having all young children in the back seat, sitting away from all airbags, and verifying that your airbags are safe to use.

Safety is never fun to think about, but you must prioritize it when it comes to your family. This includes your airbags, so prepare your family and limit their risk while they enjoy the trip! 

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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