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Airbag deactivationBack

Many people are unfamiliar with the rules about airbag deactivation, but it is essential that if you have children, you become aware of how important it is to deactivate your front seat airbag if and when necessary.

If used correctly, airbags are a proven and effective safety device designed to save lives and prevent life-threatening and debilitating head and chest injuries. In fact, a study of real-world crashes conducted by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that the combination of seat belts and air bags is 75% effective in preventing serious head injuries and 66% effective in preventing serious chest injuries.

However, there are some important facts to remember when considering the effectiveness of airbags, the main one being that in order for the airbag to work properly, occupants must be positioned a certain distance away from it. So, if you are a shorter driver, it’s important to adjust your driving seat position so that you are no less than 10 inches or 24.5cm back from the centre of the driver airbag cover.

If you are a front seat passenger, it is essential to make sure you sit at a safe distance away from the airbag. Wearing seat belts is the main way to ensure you remain in the correct position whilst a car is in motion or for infants and children under the age of 12, it is important for them to be seated in the back of the car and positioned in the appropriate child car seat for their age.

If you are not able to house all of your children in the back seating area, the next step is to deactivate your front seat airbag. Some cars allow you to simply turn a key to deactivate the front airbags whereas some cars will require assistance from a garage to complete the airbag deactivation process successfully. Some vehicles can even have an on-off switch installed into their car by a garage or dealer if they fall into a specific risk group. Risk groups include the following:

  • Individuals with medical conditions whereby the risks of deploying the airbag exceeds the risk of impact.
  • Individuals who cannot position themselves in the correct position of at least 10 inches away from the airbag to successfully operate their vehicles such as people with disabilities.
  • Individuals who need to transport a baby in the front seat using a rear-facing car seat because their car has no back seat or the back seat is too small to accommodate the appropriate child car seat.
  • Individuals who need to carry children between the ages of 1 and 12 years old in the front seat because they have more children than can fit into the back seat or they own a vehicle without a back seat.

It is well worth remembering that if you require the airbag to be deactivated permanently, you must always notify your insurance company. It could be seen as a modification to your vehicle and therefore may make a difference to your car insurance premium.

Posted by Leana Kell on 31/05/2012