The safest place for children younger than 13 is in the back seat. This is because the back seat is furthest away from the point of impact in a frontal crash (frontal crashes are the most common and most dangerous type of collision), and because most vehicles have an airbag that will pop out with a lot of force. Children have been killed or injured by airbags.
If there is no back seat, consider the following:
- Never place a rear-facing car seat in front of an airbag when there is a possibility that it might deploy. Infants and young children have been seriously injured and killed by the front passenger airbag.
- If possible, shut off the airbag. (Ensure that the airbag is on for adult passengers when they are seated in that position). Please note that many airbags cannot be shut off.
For a child who is in a booster seat or seat belt:
- Adjust the front passenger seat back as far as it will go.
- Make sure your child is properly buckled up, with the lap belt low and snug over the hips and the shoulder belt across the chest. If your child is too small for the seat belt (under 145 cm) use a booster seat.
- Make sure your child sits up straight.
- Make sure the area between your child and the airbag is clear of all objects, including toys, which could harm your child if the side air bag inflates.
- Check your child’s position frequently throughout the car ride.