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Air bags can kill kids

Author: Canadian Living

Travel

Air bags can kill kids

Air bags are safety devices that supplement the protection provided by seat belts. But In order to protect the head and upper body in high-impact crashes, air bags must inflate so quickly, and with such force, that they can cause injuries, especially to children. While most of these injuries are minor, consisting only of bruises and abrasions, some are more serious, such as broken arms. In extreme cases, such as when the head or chest is against the module when it opens, fatal injuries can result.

Here is some advice from Transport Canada on how to prevent yourself and your kids being injured by a deploying air bag. And for a graphic demonstration of how powerful air bags are, check out the video clip below from Transport Canada's video Car Time: A New Attitude On Board: "The Kid Zone" (In The Back!) Then brush up on the four stages of safety restraint for kids in cars.

General guidelines:
&#8226 Always wear your seat belt. 
&#8226 Adjust the seat belt properly. Place the lap belt as low as possible over the hips—not over the abdomen. Ensure the shoulder belt lies on the chest and over the shoulder. Do not leave any slack in the belt.
&#8226Adjust the vehicle's front seats as far to the rear as possible to give the air bags as much room as possible in which to inflate.

Guidelines for children:
&#8226 Children under the age of 12 should be seated in the back of the vehicle
&#8226 Make sure the infant restraint system, the child restraint system, or the booster cushion is properly suited to the child's height and weight.
&#8226 Always ensure that the restraint system is properly secured by the seat belt to the vehicle.
&#8226 Secure the child properly in the restraint system.
&#8226 Never install a rearward-facing infant restraint system in a seat equipped with an air bag.
&#8226 Never place the shoulder strap of a seat belt behind the child's back or under the arm.

Side air bags
Transport Canada has conducted extensive tests on side air bags with child crash test dummies. While testing is still ongoing, two main conclusions stand out:

1. Children who are leaning against a side air bag when it inflates are at risk of serious injury.
2. Children who are kept away from the path of the side air bag — for example, children travelling in age-appropriate, correctly installed child restraints — are not at risk of serious injury.

For more information on child restraints and other road safety issues, check out the Transport Canada website or call their Information Centre at 1-800-333-0371 (998-8616 from the Ottawa area).

STAGE ONE (Infants, birth to 1 year)

Rear-facing car seat

Rear travel
&#8226 The safest place for your infant in this seat is in the rear seat of the vehicle in the centre position whenever possible.
&#8226 Make sure you have the proper size seat for your infant. Check weight manufacturer's weight recommendations.
&#8226 Be sure to install the seat according to the manufacturer's instructions.
&#8226 Be sure to secure the seat tightly with no more than 2.5 cm (1 inch) of give in any direction.
&#8226 If you do instal the seat beside a door, clear the area between the infant seat and the door of any objects (eg. toys, pillow, blankets, etc.).

Front travel
&#8226 NEVER put a rear-facing infant seat in the front seat without DEACTIVATING the air bags.
&#8226 Make sure the seat is adjusted to it's rearmost track position.
&#8226 Follow instructions for rear seat travel.

STAGE TWO (approximately 1-4-1/4 years)

Forward-facing car seat

Rear travel
&#8226 The safest place for your child in this seat is in the rear seat of the vehicle in the centre position whenever possible.
&#8226 Make sure you have the proper size seat for your child. Check weight manufacturer's weight recommendations.
&#8226 Be sure to install the seat according to the manufacturer's instructions.
&#8226 Be sure to secure the seat tightly with no more than 2.5 cm (1 inch) of give in any direction.
&#8226 If you do instal the seat beside a door, clear the area between the child seat and the door of any objects (eg. toys, pillow, blankets, etc.).

Front travel
&#8226 NEVER put a rear-facing infant seat in the front seat without DEACTIVATING the air bags.
&#8226 NEVER place a child seat in the front seat of a vehicle with out a tether anchorage location.
&#8226 Make sure the seat is adjusted to it's rearmost track position.
&#8226 Follow instructions for rear seat travel.

STAGE THREE (approximately 4-1/4-8 years)

Booster seat

Rear travel
&#8226 The safest place for a booster seat is in the rear seat of the vehicle.
&#8226 Make sure you have the proper size seat for your child. Check manufacturer's weight recommendations.
&#8226 Place booster seat away from air bags whenever possible. Install according to the manufacturer's instructions, ensuring your child is properly buckled in.
&#8226 If you do install the seat beside a door, clear the area between the child seat and the door of any objects (eg. toys, pillow, blankets, etc.).
&#8226 Check on your child's position often throughout the journey.

Front travel
&#8226 If you have no alternative but to place your child in the front seat make sure the seat is adjusted to it's rearmost track position.
&#8226 Follow instructions for rear seat travel.
&#8226 Remind your child during the ride to keep his head, arms and feet away from the door.

STAGE FOUR (approximately 8-12 years)

Seat belt

Rear travel
&#8226 The safest place for a child 12 or under is in the rear seat of the vehicle.
&#8226 Whenever possible place your child in a seat away from a side air bag. Make sure your child is properly buckled with the lap belt low over the hips and the shoulder belt across the chest (never place it behind the child or under her arm). Do not leave any slack in the belt.
&#8226 If you have no alternative but to put your child near an air bag fasten seat belt as above. Remind your child to sit up straight - no leaning on the door. Also, clear the area between the child and the door of any objects (eg. toys, pillow, blankets, etc.).
&#8226 Check on your child's position often throughout the journey.

Front travel
&#8226 NEVER let your child sit in the front seat without DEACTIVATING the air bags.
&#8226 If you have no alternative but to place your child in the front seat make sure the seat is adjusted to it's rearmost track position.
&#8226 Follow instructions for rear seat travel.



Tips for Travelling With Kids

&#8226 Provide activities (books, music, games, favourite soft toys, etc.);
&#8226 Provide interesting things for older kids to do (counting trucks, helping you to "navigate," etc.);
&#8226 Encourage comfort (proper clothing for the situation);
&#8226 Be straightforward with older children about safety — and about why the back of the car is the safest place for them to be.

For more information on child restraints and other road safety issues, check out the Transport Canada website or call their Information Centre at 1-800-333-0371 (998-8616 from the Ottawa area).

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