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  1. #1

    front seat passenger air bags

    I have a 1996 Toyota Avalon (has front air bags) and we are considering replacing it in 0-3 years. We are in the research stage right now. I may need the front seat to transport my 10-year old (50-60 lbs) if carpooling. Are aftermarket "on/off" switches for front passenger airbags considered safe? In new cars/SUVs/minivans, do all front passenger air bags come with weight-sensing capabilities? Is it safe to transport children in front seat if necessary? Thank you!

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  3. #2
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003

    Quick answers-

    If you meet the NHTSA requirements, a dealer or mechanic can install an airbag on/off switch. If installed properly, the only safety issue is the operator making sure to turn it on or off as needed.

    Very few, if any, frontal airbags have advanced sensing for weight or position. Some vehicles do have this for their side-mounted airbags in the front seat. Manufacturers will begin phasing in these new advanced airbag systems with sensing starting in the 2004 Model year, with 100% compliance by model year 2006. That assumes an extension is not granted.

    The front seat is always a last resort for kids 12 and under. The risk of fatal injury is 30% higher than the back seat even without an active airbag, and higher with an active airbag. Obviously, in some situations there is no choice. You should contact a local child safety technician to find which child would be most suitable for a front seat in this case.



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