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  1. #1
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
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    Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    I was reading a government document about changes to CMVSS standards after getting a question today, and came across this blurb:

    A concern was also raised by the CVMA regarding the option allowed in the proposed Regulations for vehicles to be fitted with a manual air bag deactivation switch for the front passenger seat. This option is allowed for vehicles having only one row of seats, such as a truck or sports car with no rear seating positions, or vehicles with very small rear seats. While this was permitted previously in Canada and the United States, the U.S. regulation will not allow this option after September 1, 2012. The CVMA was concerned that this difference could prevent a vehicle purchased in Canada with this option from being exported to the United States at a later date. This option existed in the previous Regulations, and provides flexibility to manufacturers in those cases where a user may want to place a child restraint in a vehicle having small or no rear seating positions. Transport Canada is not aware of any concerns with this option for Canadian vehicles currently in operation; thus no changes have been made to this amendment.
    For those of you who follow the US regulations more closely than I do - can you give me more details? What do people who have a pick-up truck without a back seat do if they're buying a model made after Sept 1, 2012 and need to transport kids? Have there been other options put in place or are they just out of luck if they have a rear-facing infant or child?
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
    Janeen - 17 yrs and learning to drive!
    Jillian - 11 yrs, 80'ish lbs, 5-stepping in each car. :O
    Jonas - 8yrs, 65lbs, Riding in an Oobr in each car.
    Both safely riding in either a 2007 Outlook or a 2015 Subaru Legacy depending on the day.


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  3. #2
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    Out of luck, unless they get a waiver AND convince someone to install a switch, if the manufacturer doesn't allow installation of a rear-facing car seat because they don't trust the sensor not to malfunction. I have seen a few trucks already with this issue.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  4. #3
    Senior Community Member unityco's Avatar
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    Just as a tangent to this thread... I've always wondered why the Smart car never had switches. I asked their CS once and was told it wasn't allowed.
    Last edited by unityco; 05-09-2013 at 11:17 PM.


  5. #4
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    Yeah, they've been being phased out for a while.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  6. #5
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
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    Re: Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by unityco View Post
    Just as a tangent to this thread... I've always wondered why the Smart car never had switches. I asked their CS once and was told it wasn't allowed. :scratches-head:
    The Smart Cars don't allow car seats in them period because of the rigid frame and the design of the seatbelt system to manage the energy transfer in a collision.

    I watched a really cool documentary once on the smart car where they talked about how they first made a car that had a super strong frame so that the passenger space was protected even without a substantial crumple zone - but then they had to figure out a way to reduce the energy transfer to the passengers.

    So there are all sorts of "high tech" things in a smart car - load limiters, the airbags, the stretch of the seatbelt system, pre-tensioners... they all work together to allow a safe "ride-down" time. But they don't work together with a car seat...
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
    Janeen - 17 yrs and learning to drive!
    Jillian - 11 yrs, 80'ish lbs, 5-stepping in each car. :O
    Jonas - 8yrs, 65lbs, Riding in an Oobr in each car.
    Both safely riding in either a 2007 Outlook or a 2015 Subaru Legacy depending on the day.


  7. #6
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Re: Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by unityco View Post
    Just as a tangent to this thread... I've always wondered why the Smart car never had switches. I asked their CS once and was told it wasn't allowed. :scratches-head:
    That's a lie, plain and simple. The ForTwo doesn't have a back seat and therefore they are allowed (not required, but allowed) to install airbag shutoff switches. The ForFour would have to meet the "too small back seat" definition that some compact pickups do.

    As for the original question, there are already some trucks that do not have a back seat, do not have switches, and do not prohibit rear facing children. The vehicle manufacturers in those cases are confident that their sensors will work to prevent an airbag deployment when there is a rear facing child.
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pixels View Post

    That's a lie, plain and simple. The ForTwo doesn't have a back seat and therefore they are allowed (not required, but allowed) to install airbag shutoff switches. The ForFour would have to meet the "too small back seat" definition that some compact pickups do.

    As for the original question, there are already some trucks that do not have a back seat, do not have switches, and do not prohibit rear facing children. The vehicle manufacturers in those cases are confident that their sensors will work to prevent an airbag deployment when there is a rear facing child.
    Ot but I was thinking about you today. Nice to see your around!

  9. #8
    Admin - CPS Technician LISmama810's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowbird25ca View Post

    The Smart Cars don't allow car seats in them period because of the rigid frame and the design of the seatbelt system to manage the energy transfer in a collision.

    I watched a really cool documentary once on the smart car where they talked about how they first made a car that had a super strong frame so that the passenger space was protected even without a substantial crumple zone - but then they had to figure out a way to reduce the energy transfer to the passengers.

    So there are all sorts of "high tech" things in a smart car - load limiters, the airbags, the stretch of the seatbelt system, pre-tensioners... they all work together to allow a safe "ride-down" time. But they don't work together with a car seat...
    I thought Smart Cars do allow forward-facing seats. I saw one at an auto show, and it had a top tether anchor.

  10. #9
    Senior Community Member unityco's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LISmama810 View Post

    I thought Smart Cars do allow forward-facing seats. I saw one at an auto show, and it had a top tether anchor.
    Yeah, I thought there was a TT too.


  11. #10
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
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    Re: Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by LISmama810 View Post
    I thought Smart Cars do allow forward-facing seats. I saw one at an auto show, and it had a top tether anchor.
    Hmm, it's possible that this could've changed. I've never worked with one, and the documentary I watched was quite awhile ago - but the engineers interviewed explicitly said that car seats weren't allowed in there. Maybe they've further developed the energy management methods? The car was very new when I was watching the show and it stuck in my mind as fascinating for all of the unique things about it. (Or could it be a case of not exempt so has to have them, but doesn't allow it in the manual?)
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
    Janeen - 17 yrs and learning to drive!
    Jillian - 11 yrs, 80'ish lbs, 5-stepping in each car. :O
    Jonas - 8yrs, 65lbs, Riding in an Oobr in each car.
    Both safely riding in either a 2007 Outlook or a 2015 Subaru Legacy depending on the day.


  12. #11
    Admin - CPST Instructor murphydog77's Avatar
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    Re: Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    Someone at Lifesavers mentioned that starting next year, GM (I believe) won't allow children to ride in the front seat of their trucks. I didn't catch the entire conversation, but that part was repeated to me. Of course, they won't be around to police that, but is it something salespeople are going to be telling truck buyers?

  13. #12
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    Probably not, if they're as clueless as most salespeople.
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  14. #13
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
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    Re: Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    I've been reading the Smart car manual. I'm going to start a thread in the tech forum about it because I have some hypotheticals.
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
    Janeen - 17 yrs and learning to drive!
    Jillian - 11 yrs, 80'ish lbs, 5-stepping in each car. :O
    Jonas - 8yrs, 65lbs, Riding in an Oobr in each car.
    Both safely riding in either a 2007 Outlook or a 2015 Subaru Legacy depending on the day.


  15. #14
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
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    Re: Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by LISmama810 View Post
    I thought Smart Cars do allow forward-facing seats. I saw one at an auto show, and it had a top tether anchor.
    Quoting you to correct myself - the smart cars sold in the US haven't had a blatant prohibition in them against child restraints, so I don't know what the guy in the show I saw was talking about.

    That being said, the sensors spoke about in the manual sound vague enough that I wouldn't put a rf'ing seat in there even though the manual doesn't outright prohibit it.

    For pick-ups that no longer have keyed "off switches" what is the wording surrounding rear-facing seats?

    I honestly don't think I could trust the advanced sensors to be accurate. There are too many unknowns... It kind of seems like a really bad thing for the government to quit allowing. Does anyone know the justification?

    I wonder if we'll still have the switches in Canadian vehicles or if they'll discontinue them in our models too now?
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
    Janeen - 17 yrs and learning to drive!
    Jillian - 11 yrs, 80'ish lbs, 5-stepping in each car. :O
    Jonas - 8yrs, 65lbs, Riding in an Oobr in each car.
    Both safely riding in either a 2007 Outlook or a 2015 Subaru Legacy depending on the day.


  16. #15
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    The ones I've seen have outright prohibited it. They say, "Even with advanced airbag sensor systems, it is not safe to place a rear-facing child seat in a seating position with an active airbag. Do not place a rear-facing child seat in this seating position." Same as the ones with back seats do- they just don't offer an alternative place to put it (most with a back seat would say "place the rear-facing child seat in the rear seat of the vehicle.")
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  17. #16
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jessica61624 View Post

    Ot but I was thinking about you today. Nice to see your around!
    Hi! I pop in every once in a while, usually when I'm PMed or I'm looking at a link I've come across on the Web somewhere. I am still active in the CPS world, but my online time is much more limited. Two under two, both with some special needs, is crazY.




    All vehicles must have three tether anchors (or two in a three seater vehicle, one in a two seater). The only exemptions to this requirement are for convertibles and very large vehicles. There is no exemption for having the tether anchor if the vehicle manufacturer prohibits installations. You have to actually read the manual to determine that you can't use the tether anchor that you're looking at.

    I know there is one manufacturer at least that has a three seater pickup with two tether anchors, but no restraints are allowed in the center seat. Reading the manual is interesting. "Here is the tether anchor. Do not ever put a child restraint here. Here is how to use the tether anchor. Do not ever put a child restraint here."

    Most vehicles do say like KQ said, that even with the sensors you cannot put a rear facing child there. There are a few exceptions to that, though. I wish I could remember who allowed it. It was discussed a long time ago.
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

  18. #17
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    Sorry for the serial post. I'm mobile and can't see the replies while I'm responding.

    The keyed shut off switches were a compromise of sorts. At the time, the sensor technology did not exist to rely on sensors alone to disable the air bag for a young child. Yet people will rear face a child in their vehicles anyway, because it's the only vehicle they own. So they allowed the switches.

    The government doesn't really like the switches, because they are in the wrong position too often. Either left on for a child when it should be off, or more commonly, turned off for an adult. So they compromised and allowed the switches for a while, to give the vehicle manufacturers time to develop reliable sensors.
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

  19. #18
    CPST and ketchup snob ketchupqueen's Avatar
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    Re: Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    Unfortunately, it seems most of the manufacturers haven't gotten their sensors to a place where they feel comfortable accepting liability should a rear-facing seat be there and the sensor malfunction. I believe Pixels that there are a few and would love to find out what brands, especially if we could find out what they are doing differently!
    CPST and Mom to Emma, 15, Bridget, 13, Maggie, 11, Katie Sue, 6, Jimmy, born May 2019,
    and Becky, waiting for us as part of our eternal family.
    Our '02 Odyssey, car seats, and seatbelts saved our lives. Now riding in a '13 Odyssey!

  20. #19
    CPS Technician Pixels's Avatar
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    http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/regr...te/809689.html

    Forty-eight percent of the air bags were left on when only child passengers 1-12 years old were in the front seat and 62 percent when a child and an adult passenger were in the front seat, potentially exposing these children to a deployment. There is also a problem when drivers ride with only adult passengers (age 13 and older). While 83 percent of the switches were on, as they should be, 17 percent were switched off.
    Even if the sensors fail some of the time, I can't imagine that it would be more than 48% of the time, meaning that the average child would be safer in a vehicle that relies on sensor technology than in one that relies on a keyed switch.

    Of course, it shifts responsibility to the vehicle manufacturer to make reliable sensors and off of the driver, which opens the door to wrongful death suits.
    Melissa, CPST and Mom to three

  21. #20
    Moderator - CPST Instructor snowbird25ca's Avatar
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    Re: Airbag "off" switches not allows in the US anymore?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pixels View Post
    http://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/regr...te/809689.html



    Even if the sensors fail some of the time, I can't imagine that it would be more than 48% of the time, meaning that the average child would be safer in a vehicle that relies on sensor technology than in one that relies on a keyed switch.

    Of course, it shifts responsibility to the vehicle manufacturer to make reliable sensors and off of the driver, which opens the door to wrongful death suits.
    I guess my argument to this would be that with the exception of extreme collisions, a properly seated adult occupant wearing their seatbelt correctly is not looking at an airbag being the difference between life and death. If they forget to turn on the airbag, but still wear their seatbelts, I would argue that the adult (again with the exception of high speed collisions,) is more protected than a rf'ing child in that position if the sensor malfunctions.

    The smart car manual talks about the passenger airbag being deactivated when the weight of a typical 12 month old child and child restraint or lower is detected. What do they consider typical? What weight of child restraint are they using? Even though they allow it, it doesn't sound all that reliable to me...

    I guess it just really bothers me that there are going to be a lot of vehicles on the road that really can't transport kids. We're in the age where we're finally getting more and more parents to erf - and sensors are being designed based on the age of a child under one year old. Factor in that usually when I see families with single row pick-ups, they've bought the truck used, and we could be looking at people down the road who have no clue that they can't use a car seat in it until they've already been driving it for a few years or longer.

    I know that NHTSA has a lot of requirements surrounding testing of our of position occupants, unbelted, and children - and I believe there is even a test with a rear-facing seat installed. But still - are you going to trust your child's life to a sensor where even the vehicle manual is telling you to watch the light while you're driving because if it goes out, the airbag has become active?
    Trudy - Canadian CPSAC certified CRST Instructor-Trainer and mommy to:
    Janeen - 17 yrs and learning to drive!
    Jillian - 11 yrs, 80'ish lbs, 5-stepping in each car. :O
    Jonas - 8yrs, 65lbs, Riding in an Oobr in each car.
    Both safely riding in either a 2007 Outlook or a 2015 Subaru Legacy depending on the day.


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