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to warn a stranger of the dangers of rear-facing car seats and airbags?

(45 Posts)
GoodWitchGlinda Thu 18-Jun-09 13:16:36

I just spotted a rear-facing baby seat in the front passenger seat of a car with a passenger airbag in the dash in front of the seat.

I know this is extremely dangerous and can risk causing fatal injuries, so I put a note on the windscreen.

Maybe it could be considered a little interfering on my part, and not sure if the driver will take kindly, but I just couldn't walk past knowing that that baby was in potential danger.

I hope the driver will see that I was trying to prevent something awful happening.

But was I BU to do this? Wondering now if I should have kept my nose out...

LynetteScavo Thu 18-Jun-09 13:18:17

I think you wre reasonable, but the air bag might have been turned off.

fucksticks Thu 18-Jun-09 13:18:36

how did you know it had an airbag active though?
All the cars I know (mine and friends and familys) have a switch that you can de-activate the airbag for when you put a child in the seat

LynetteScavo Thu 18-Jun-09 13:19:03

What exactly did your note say?

deepinlaundry Thu 18-Jun-09 13:20:32

A lot of cars can have it disabled- in my previous car I just flicked a switch. Well meaning of you I suppose but I would have driven home in such a rage would probably have crashed and killed everyone anyway!

onepieceofcremeegg Thu 18-Jun-09 13:20:41

I always assume (perhaps incorrectly) that the parent will know from the warnings both in the car and on the seat that this is a risk. So if they do have a car seat they will have turned off the airbag, or don't have one. (I don't have one in my Ka). In dh's Focus there is one but it can't be turned off afaik so we don't put the seat in there.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 18-Jun-09 13:28:00


We specifically ordered a car without a passenger airbag so newborn DD could travel in the front (switchable wasnt available then). One day at lights a lady drew up, wound down her window and beckoned me to do likewise, and queried whether I knew that front seat could be dangerous if there was an airbag (she couldnt see if there was or wasnt but as it was a volvo it would have been standard). I told her we had deliberately got a car without one, but thanked her for asking. I was quite impressed that someone had bothered and had the bottle - I could see she was a bit embarrassed to do it.

I can't see why anyone who cared about their kids would mind such a warning. Better safe than sorry.

LovelyTinOfSpam Thu 18-Jun-09 13:29:37

Wasn't the airbag probably switched off though? Was it a very old car/one which you are familiar with?

2madboys Thu 18-Jun-09 13:32:03

The person may have thought you were being unreasonable, but may have still made them think. My car is seven years old and has a passenger airbag that cannot be turned off. I have never put children in the front (even DS who is 8 and just uses a booster cushion). It is always better to be safe than sorry.

zeke Thu 18-Jun-09 13:34:14

I agree, I think it would have been highly likely that the air bag was turned off.

However, the person may not have known - especially if it was a grandparant (I have had to tell the IL's on several occasions about this/the fact that young children still need booster seats etc).

It's a difficult one to call really. I had a car with headlights that turned off and on automatically (before they were pretty standard) and loads of people would call out/chase me to tell me I had left my lights on (look a few seconds to go off). I was always grateful to them for making the effort though.

screamingabdab Thu 18-Jun-09 13:36:03


Now what do I do about the, almost daily sightings of parents without their children in car seats, or, worse, without a seat belt on ?

zeke Thu 18-Jun-09 13:48:13

I know screamingabdab. I just do not get that.

One of my friends - very sensible in most other ways, lets her 4 yr old DS ride on the bench in their land rover. Not even a seatbelt then! I'm alway a bit shock but wouldn't say anything because it's not like she doesn't know!

SummerHeightsHigh Thu 18-Jun-09 14:01:30

Sorry to go against the grain, but if you left a note on my car I'd be furious. Then afterwards I'd be really upset as I would think that someone thinks I'm such a bad mum that I need strangers to advise me. Then after that I'd be furious again.

Unless your note was really really friendly, I think YABU.

My car can't have the airbag de-activated so DD is always in the back btw.

suwoo Thu 18-Jun-09 14:05:09

I think I would also be upset by this. When DS was little he was always in the front seat but the airbag was disabled.

I know your motivation was for all the right reasons, but I would be so offended if a note was put on my windscreen.

Please tell us what you wrote.

Paolosgirl Thu 18-Jun-09 14:09:43

If you'd left it on my car I'd have been bloody furious tbh. Unless you actually witness a child in danger, then you're in no position to assume anything.

PigeonPair Thu 18-Jun-09 14:57:37

I would haven been furious and upset and wondering all the way home how I could tell whoever had left the note that the airbag was switched off and that I am not a complete idiot!!

GoodWitchGlinda Thu 18-Jun-09 15:09:49

Well thanks for all the balanced opinions. That was my concern afterwards, that the person might think I assumed they were an idiot. I didn't, I was just worried in case they were not aware. Also, I myself was not aware until you all let me know that you can turn off airbags. You can't in my car. So I'm sure that must have been the case in this car. In which case, I was indeed sticking my nose it where it was not needed. But, as many have said, better safe than sorry I suppose.

As zeke said, I wondered if maybe it was a grandparent who was not aware. I witnessed a while ago a pair of grandparents driving with a toddler on their knee in the front seat! I was horrified, and always wished afterwards that I had said something. I often wonder about that child, and hope nothing goes wrong there.

I do hope the driver wasn't furious, or at least will later understand that my only motive was to try to prevent what I honestly thought was the potential for a horrible accident. My own ignorance about air bags has been rectified, so that is something good that has come out of it. I think I will write a letter to my local paper apologising to the person, hopefully they will print it and she (or he) will read it and realise my intentions were good, if misplaced.

deepinlaundry - I'm a bit taken aback at your message, I suppose you are of course joking, but still a bit much. hmm

Anyway, thanks everyone - I will leave well alone next time. smile

belgo Thu 18-Jun-09 15:11:31

It's a difficult one. Not everyone knows about the dangers of this, even people with cars and small children, who you would expect to be informed. But in my experience not everyone knows, so who knows, maybe you did the right thing and the baby is now safer because of it.

mumsiebumsie Thu 18-Jun-09 15:18:26

As long as the note was written in a tone that was sure to not offend the driver I'm all for it.

If we heard that someone's child had died due to an injury caused by an airbag - we'd all be on here saying what a tragedy - but when someone sees a "potential" tragedy and takes steps to avoid it we get all offended! Makes no sense!

GoodWitchGlinda couldn't stand there all day waiting for the driver to return to the car to see whether the airbag was activated or not so she did the next best thing - good on ya.

glitterstar88 Thu 18-Jun-09 15:25:49

When i had new neighbours move in next door to me, they had a 7month old son(their fourth child). I noticed that his rear facing car seat was somehow strapped in facing forwards. Told my neighbour and lent her one of my car seats as the one she had was almost falling apart anyway. I felt quite awkward approaching her about it. She said she didn't realise it was meant to be rear facing.

So it shows some people really dont seem to understand the dangers of this.

Also saw another family with a newborn baby in a rear facing seat, again strapped in the car the wrong way round. That family didn't look very approachable and i thought that they wouldn't like to take advice from a 17 year old first time mum so i left them to it.

mumof2222222222222222boys Thu 18-Jun-09 15:35:16

In my old car you couldn't disable the air bag...i loved it so much, but once DS arrived, it had to go. Almost thought about sending DS back instead...but he won wink

PS It was an MX5, so not exactly compatible with family life!


Nekabu Thu 18-Jun-09 15:35:22

I've been told that even if the airbags are switched off that they still can go off in the event of an accident and that car manufacturers won't guarantee that they won't do so. How true that is, I don't know but I'll put mine in the back just in case as loads of other bits of my car don't behave as they should all the time so I don't think I could trust the airbags to behave themselves perfectly!

I wouldn't have got even slightly offended by your message and would be pleased someone had thought to warn me to the extent they wrote a note. Whether I needed the warning or not would be irrelevant, the thought behind it was kind and I'd have taken it as such.

GrimmaTheNome Thu 18-Jun-09 15:38:30

I'm quite amazed by those of you who would be furious. Glinda wasn't thinking that anyone in particular might be a bad mum - just that someone might not have realised the issue.

Well, all I can say is that I'm glad that it was me who was on the receiving end of friendly, well meaning advice from a lady in person and I was able to take it as it was meant. grin

Sure you can't make assumptions... so why assume that the driver did know there might be a problem. Erring on the side of a childs safety versus an adult's potentially hurt feelings seems like a good call to me.

edam Thu 18-Jun-09 15:42:20

Agreed Grimma, I really don't get why people would be so furious if the note was polite and nicely-written. Are there really all these people going around with hair-trigger tempers, ready to take offence at the slightest thing? No wonder there's such a concept as road rage, then...

If someone left a note on my car AND I was actually aware of the issue and had dealt with it, I'd just think, brave of them to bother.

deepinlaundry Thu 18-Jun-09 15:46:39

Yes of course- the major cause of road rage ( mostly perpetrated by men) is people reacting to ' kindly' tips on parenting

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