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Airbags inflate in moderate to high speed impacts. Along
with seat belts and pretensioners, front airbags work with
the instrument panel knee bolsters to provide improved
protection for the driver and front passenger. Side airbags
also work with seat belts to improve occupant protection.
The seat belts are designed to protect you in many types
of collisions. The front airbags deploy in moderate to
severe frontal collisions. If your vehicle is equipped, the
side airbag on the crash side of the vehicle is triggered in
moderate to severe side collisions. In certain types of
collisions, both the front and side airbags may be trig-
gered. But even in collisions where the airbags work, you
need the seat belts to keep you in the right position for
the airbags to protect you properly.
Here are some simple steps you can take to minimize the
risk of harm from a deploying airbag.
1. Children 12 years old and under should always ride
buckled up in a rear seat.
Infants in rear facing child restraints should NEVER ride
in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger front airbag.
An airbag deployment can cause severe injury or death to
infants in that position.
Children that are not big enough to properly wear the
vehicle seat belt (see Section on Child Restraints) should
be secured in the rear seat in child restraints or belt-
positioning booster seats. Older children who do not use
child restraints or belt-positioning booster seats should
ride properly buckled up in the rear seat. Never allow
children to slide the shoulder belt behind them or under
If a child from 1 to 12 years old must ride in the front
passenger seat because the vehicle is crowded, move the
seat as far back as possible, and use the proper child
restraint. Refer to the section on Child Restraint.
You should read the instructions provided with your
child restraint to make sure that you are using it properly.
42 THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE STARTING YOUR VEHICLE