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Thread: Side airbags

  1. #1
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    Side airbags

    Ok, so DH and I were talking about this last night. We are car freaks!! We talk about cars ALL the time. Anyhoo........So are the side airbags that we paid extra for totally useless to our kiddies in the back in carseats. I thought I heard on here someone say they have no safety benefit to kids in carseats because they don't reach the bags themselves. Thanks in Advance!
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

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  3. #2
    Admin - CPS Technician Emeritus Jeanum's Avatar
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    I don't have any data to back it up, but I really doubt they would be useless in a crash for any type of properly restrained passenger. Even for a properly restrained passenger or child in a safety seat, especially forward facing, there's still a chance their head could come into contact with a pillar or glass or other part of the car in a severe collision, KWIM? Having side curtain airbags would offer additional protection. The curtain airbags would also likely offer some measure of protection from flying glass or other debris intruding into the passenger space in a side impact even for passengers who weren't in an outboard seating position.

    I wouldn't consider them a waste of money, and view them as money well spent.
    Last edited by Jeanum; 10-03-2006 at 03:48 PM. Reason: d'oh! correcting typo
    Regards,
    Jean

    DD1 Age 16, 66" Driver's Ed
    DD2 Age 12, 64" 5 steps

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  4. #3
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    The amount of benefit of side curtain airbags depends on the vehicle, child and carseat. In general, it probably increases with age. Minimal for an infant in a RF child restraint, moderate for a taller child in a booster and significant for adults. If you'll never have adults or older kids in back. As you said, reducing flying glass and other flying objects is a benefit for passengers of any age.

    I don't know that we'll ever see statistics on this, but it's mostly related to how high the pasenger's head is vs. how low the airbags extend.

  5. #4
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeanum View Post
    I don't have any data to back it up, but I really doubt they would be useless in a crash for any type of properly restrained passenger. Even for a properly restrained passenger or child in a safety seat, especially forward facing, there's still a chance their head could come into contact with a pillar or glass or other part of the car in a severe collision, KWIM? Having side curtain airbags would offer additional protection. The curtain airbags would also likely offer some measure of protection from flying glass or other debris intruding into the passenger space in a side impact even for passengers who weren't in an outboard seating position.

    I wouldn't consider them a waste of money, and view them as money well spent.
    Excellent, Excellent point. I never thought about that! Yeah if I were to hit a pole or something unexpected like that, the airbags could just be extra cushion for their heads, bodies, or carseats. What about in a rollover also? They could benefit there too. Ok, now I am definitely not feeling like it was a waste of money. We know that we will be getting a new vehicle before the kids are out of carseats. And yes, occassionally we do have adult passengers in back. I was just mainly wondering about the benefits of it for kids in carseats. They are just sooo far from the side curtain airbags.
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

  6. #5
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    As the others have said, don't forget that your kids will grow up quickly and someday they will even be in a seatbelt in the back! That is, assuming you will still have this vehicle 10 yrs down the road! LOL!!! I'd rather have them than not- right now we don't but our next vehicle will.

  7. #6
    Senior Community Member smurf's Avatar
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    Re: Side airbags

    This is an old thread, but I am shopping around for a new car and wondering if I should get side airbags. I'm pretty much set on a VW Rabbit in which I can miraculously fit 3 seats across (yes, we tried it at the dealership, 2 FF Radians and 1 RF Regal Ride, independently rock solid).

    Should I get side airbags or are they potentially dangerous, as my kids will be right next to them?
    DD 7, 52" 48# Maxi Cosi Rodi XR and Britax Parkway SG
    DS 5¾ 46" 45# Britax Parkway
    DS 3 1/2, 40" 36# SK Radian
    3 across in a '07 VW Rabbit and a '09 Acura MDX

  8. #7
    CPS Advocate lovinwaves's Avatar
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    Re: Side airbags

    Quote Originally Posted by 2maybe3 View Post
    This is an old thread, but I am shopping around for a new car and wondering if I should get side airbags. I'm pretty much set on a VW Rabbit in which I can miraculously fit 3 seats across (yes, we tried it at the dealership, 2 FF Radians and 1 RF Regal Ride, independently rock solid).

    Should I get side airbags or are they potentially dangerous, as my kids will be right next to them?
    I personally would get the airbags.
    Melissa
    Peyton 10
    Camden 9
    And a new baby on the way

  9. #8
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    Re: Side airbags

    Quote Originally Posted by 2maybe3 View Post
    This is an old thread, but I am shopping around for a new car and wondering if I should get side airbags. I'm pretty much set on a VW Rabbit in which I can miraculously fit 3 seats across (yes, we tried it at the dealership, 2 FF Radians and 1 RF Regal Ride, independently rock solid).

    Should I get side airbags or are they potentially dangerous, as my kids will be right next to them?
    great choice in car!! we almost got that car, but ended up with a mazda3 S hatch.

    i personally would not purchase a new car that did not come with SAB and all row SAC. the added cost is usually minimal (less than $400 option on my mazda3).
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  10. #9
    Senior Community Member smurf's Avatar
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    Re: Side airbags

    I'm sorry, I'm acronym illiterate, what's SAC?
    DD 7, 52" 48# Maxi Cosi Rodi XR and Britax Parkway SG
    DS 5¾ 46" 45# Britax Parkway
    DS 3 1/2, 40" 36# SK Radian
    3 across in a '07 VW Rabbit and a '09 Acura MDX

  11. #10
    Senior Community Member smurf's Avatar
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    Re: Side airbags

    SAC (sound of intense brain activity) = Side air curtain?
    DD 7, 52" 48# Maxi Cosi Rodi XR and Britax Parkway SG
    DS 5¾ 46" 45# Britax Parkway
    DS 3 1/2, 40" 36# SK Radian
    3 across in a '07 VW Rabbit and a '09 Acura MDX

  12. #11
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    Re: Side airbags

    SAB = side air bags (usually refers to front driver and passenger torso-height bags, and usually seat- or door-mounted)

    SAC = side air curtains (usually mounted along the roofline) SAC may be for front row passengers only, or for all seating rows...
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  13. #12
    Senior Community Member smurf's Avatar
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    Re: Side airbags

    Thanks!

    My 2000 VW Golf has standard SAB (in the seats), and so does the new Rabbit. I guess it's the SAC that are optional and that I should get. Most people (myself included) assume that airbags and small children are a bad mix. I guess this only applies to front air bags?
    DD 7, 52" 48# Maxi Cosi Rodi XR and Britax Parkway SG
    DS 5¾ 46" 45# Britax Parkway
    DS 3 1/2, 40" 36# SK Radian
    3 across in a '07 VW Rabbit and a '09 Acura MDX

  14. #13
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    Re: Side airbags

    Quote Originally Posted by 2maybe3 View Post
    Thanks!

    My 2000 VW Golf has standard SAB (in the seats), and so does the new Rabbit. I guess it's the SAC that are optional and that I should get. Most people (myself included) assume that airbags and small children are a bad mix. I guess this only applies to front air bags?
    that's my understanding as well-- that it's only the frontal airbags that are the danger.

    so the new rabbit SAC are optional? that surprises me. i thought VWs came with all advanced safety features standard (seeing as they were very early adopters of SAC way back in like 2001 or 2002). in fact i thought the new jettas and passats even came with rear torso SAB...

    how much does the SAC package add to the rabbit? is it rolled into other features or is it a standalone option? either way, if you like the car, i would opt for the optional SAC if possible.
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  15. #14
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    Re: Side airbags

    i just checked VW USA and front SAC are standard on the new rabbit but rear SAC are optional @ $350. and stability control is also optional. at $450 i would also definitely opt for it.
    Two girls, 7 and 6. Trek Mountain, Specialized Hotrock, Soma Buena Vista, Bike Friday tandem, and multiple other bikes. Oh, and a Mazda5.

  16. #15
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    Re: Side airbags

    Before buying a car with rear side torso airbags, you should make sure that those airbags meet the guidelines for "out of position occupants." That means that they have been tested to ensure that someone leaning against the door, or otherwise not in the proper position, will not be injured by the bag's deployment. (This does not apply to side-curtain airbags, which are generally considered safe for all occupants.)

    I'm pretty sure that most side airbags do meet the "out of position occupant" guidelines, but it's important enough that it is worth checking. That information used to be available about each car from www.safercar.gov under "available features", but I can't find it now. But this link has more information:
    http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/ncap/airbag.../SABFAQs.htm#7

    As for VWs, I considered buying an 06 Passat wagon that had rear side airbags . I'm almost positive that their side airbags did meet the guidelines, but I don't know whether that applies to all VWs. I assume so.
    DD#1 (7 y, 5 mo, 54 in, 68 lbs ) Clek Olli
    DD#2 (4 y, 2 months, 43 in, 42 lbs) Britax Marathon

  17. #16
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    Re: Side airbags

    The VW website is confusing on this. It looks the following airbags are standard for the Rabbit: frontal airbags, side impact (torso) airbags for front passengers, side curtain airbags for front passengers. Rear side impact (torso) airbags appear to be an option on the four-door. What I cannot tell is whether the side curtain airbags protecting front passengers also protect rear passengers. (Often it is a single curtain protecting multiple rows.) Another possibility is that the rear side impact airbags are head and torso airbags, not just torso airbags. You are going to have to ask the dealer about this, and make sure you get an informed answer. I spent a lot of time car shopping this summer, and sadly, found that I often knew more about a car's safety system than the salesperson did.

    I think side-curtain airbag in rear seats are a no-brainer if you can get them. They appear to pose no risk, and while it's unclear how much they help young children in seats, they certain benefit adults or older children. Rear side torso airbags are more controversial, because of the concerns about deployment right next to a child. But the out-of-position occupant testing I mentioned in the last post was aimed at addressing those issues. I wouldn't have any qualms about installing seats next to rear side torso airbags that do meet the standards.
    DD#1 (7 y, 5 mo, 54 in, 68 lbs ) Clek Olli
    DD#2 (4 y, 2 months, 43 in, 42 lbs) Britax Marathon

  18. #17
    CPS Technician AdventureMom's Avatar
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    Re: Side airbags

    Well... we just spent months looking at cars before deciding on one last weekend (Subaru Outback wagon).

    One of our questions to many of the dealers was why can't we find a car with side impact bags in the rear seats? And what the different (other than placement) of a side impact bag vs a side curtain bag?

    What we learned was that front air bags and side impact bags are true place holders, not only cushioning a person but shooting out at them in an accident to hold them in place. Most manufacturers (at least the ones we were looking at) will not put side impact bags in the rear seat because of the danger to a small child/car seat, just like front air bags (I imagine in the future they may turn on/off like the front passenger airbags do now). Side curtain airbags, however, are only a buffer and are not there to hold you in place. Therefore, they drop down from the ceiling above the window to form a curtain of air between the passenger and the window, which they're assuming will be broken in a side-impact collision.

    Hope this helps!

    Maria

    DS|2002|FF in Britax Frontier 85 and Graco TurboBooster
    DD|2007|FF in two Britax Frontier 85's

  19. #18
    Senior Community Member smurf's Avatar
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    Re: Side airbags

    Quote Originally Posted by twokidstwodogs View Post
    I spent a lot of time car shopping this summer, and sadly, found that I often knew more about a car's safety system than the salesperson did.

    My feeling exactly, it certainly applies to any person selling carseats. Basically all salespersons I talked to told me that airbags are a no-no if children will sit next to them.

    Quote Originally Posted by twokidstwodogs View Post
    I think side-curtain airbag in rear seats are a no-brainer if you can get them. They appear to pose no risk, and while it's unclear how much they help young children in seats, they certain benefit adults or older children. Rear side torso airbags are more controversial, because of the concerns about deployment right next to a child. But the out-of-position occupant testing I mentioned in the last post was aimed at addressing those issues. I wouldn't have any qualms about installing seats next to rear side torso airbags that do meet the standards.
    I think I will get them, it's a $400 CDN option and worth it as I am the one usually lugging the kids around (even though I have the smaller car, never figured that one out).

    Thanks for all the info!
    DD 7, 52" 48# Maxi Cosi Rodi XR and Britax Parkway SG
    DS 5¾ 46" 45# Britax Parkway
    DS 3 1/2, 40" 36# SK Radian
    3 across in a '07 VW Rabbit and a '09 Acura MDX

  20. #19
    CPSDarren - Admin SafeDad's Avatar
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    Re: Side airbags

    Quote Originally Posted by AdventureMom View Post
    Well... we just spent months looking at cars before deciding on one last weekend (Subaru Outback wagon).

    One of our questions to many of the dealers was why can't we find a car with side impact bags in the rear seats? And what the different (other than placement) of a side impact bag vs a side curtain bag?

    What we learned was that front air bags and side impact bags are true place holders, not only cushioning a person but shooting out at them in an accident to hold them in place. Most manufacturers (at least the ones we were looking at) will not put side impact bags in the rear seat because of the danger to a small child/car seat, just like front air bags (I imagine in the future they may turn on/off like the front passenger airbags do now). Side curtain airbags, however, are only a buffer and are not there to hold you in place. Therefore, they drop down from the ceiling above the window to form a curtain of air between the passenger and the window, which they're assuming will be broken in a side-impact collision.

    Hope this helps!

    Maria

    Very good description. I will add that even though they usually deploy downward from the ceiling, they still deploy with a lot of force. As mentioned previously, is still worthwhile to check the safercar.gov side to make sure they meet the voluntary standards for Out Of Position occupants. For properly restrained passengers, side curtain airbags have not been shown to pose a risk.

    Side curtain airbags with a rollover protection feature can help hold a passenger inside the vehicle. They stay inflated longer to help keep occupants from being thrown from the vehicle if the car rolls.

    Rear seat side airbags that might pose a risk to children are sometimes disabled from the factory and enabled by a dealer upon request.

  21. #20
    CPS Technician AdventureMom's Avatar
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    Re: Side airbags

    Actually, I think they told us that's why the front and side air bags are called "SRS" - supplemental restraining system...? The side curtain airbags are not designed as a restraint but as a cushion/buffer.

    Maria

    DS|2002|FF in Britax Frontier 85 and Graco TurboBooster
    DD|2007|FF in two Britax Frontier 85's

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