Air Bags + Infant Car Seats = Recipe for Disaster
You’re ready to leave the hospital with your new baby and the hospital personnel accompany you to your car to make sure a rear-facing infant car seat is safely in place. You can’t leave if you don’t have one and it has to be in the back seat. They even make sure you know how to strap your infant in properly. Once you leave the hospital, however, you are on your own. You know about colic… but do you know about infant car seat safety?
Every car manufactured since 1999 has a front passenger seat air bag that carries a warning about child safety seats and the danger of air bag deployment with one in place. Yet many parents continue to place their child at risk because they want their child in the front seat next to them, rather than in the rear seat, facing backward, which is the safest place.
National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator, Dr. Ricardo Martinez, a Board-certified emergency physician, warns, “An infant in a rear-facing safety seat must never be placed in the front seat of a motor vehicle with a passenger-side air bag. During a forward impact, the rapidly inflating air bag could strike the safety seat with enough force to seriously injure or kill the infant. Infants less than one year of age and under about 20 pounds must ride in a rear-facing safety seat placed in the back seat of the vehicle, especially if the vehicle is equipped with a passenger-side air bag.”
Your child is precious; for safety sake, follow these guidelines whenever you ride in an automobile with a child:
- Never allow any passenger to ride without a safety belt firmly in place.
- Children under the age of 12 years should ride in a rear seat; if it is necessary, for any reason, to have a child ride in the front seat, moving the seat back as far back as it will go will put as much distance as possible between the child and the air bag.
- Children under the age of one year, or under 20 pounds, should be in a rear-facing child safety seat.
Accidents can happen even on short rides. Never take a risk that you could live to regret!