Air Bag Safety

Q: I have heard that some people have been injured when an air bag inflates. What can I do to minimize the risks from being injured?

A: Air bags save lives. However, given that air bags inflate rapidly, injuries can occur if an occupant is not properly seated. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration even with advanced systems, the key to being safe is that you should always: (a) use your seatbelt, (b) stay at least 10 inches from the air bag cover, (c) remember that children 12 and under should sit in the back seat, and (d) never use a rear facing infant seat in the front seat of an air bag equipped vehicle. The back seat is the safest location during a crash. Some vehicles without rear seats (e.g., two seat sports cars and pickup trucks) have a manual override to turn the air bag off if it is necessary to transport a child. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions in the owner’s manual. For more information about air bag safety, go to