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car seats and air bags

(15 Posts)
Reastie Wed 19-Feb-14 19:29:25

DD has a britax duo plus front facing car seat.

We have so far only ever used it in my car with isofix but with DD starting nursery will need to use it in DHs car which only has 2 seats in the front (ie his and a passenger) and so will be fit by the belt and not isofix. They both have airbags. I can't find online if he will need to disable his airbag or if it's fine as it is. Can anyone shed any light please?

sherbetpips Thu 20-Feb-14 11:40:57

It needs to be disabled should be easy to do, dependent on how modern the car is it may disable itself. (my Honda would sense the weight on the seat and turn it off). It's the force of the airbag that is dangerous to young children when they explode whether it is rear or front facing.

GoodEggSafetyAdvice Thu 20-Feb-14 12:27:03


Have you checked the car manual?

Some vehicles require the airbag to be switched off for a forward facing restraint, other cars state to leave them active and other cars do not allow children in the front at all. Your car manual will be able to tell you what to do.

Good Egg Safety

Thurlow Thu 20-Feb-14 12:29:55

Yes, they need to be disabled in some form for a child to be in the front seat. The force of an airbag is quite extreme - my DF crashed the other day and has impressive burns on his hands from the pressure of the bag inflating, and I imagine that would be near a child's face in a similar situation. Check your manual, or possibly take it to a local garage for advice?

Reastie Thu 20-Feb-14 12:30:45

Interesting, argh, have to sort it out quick as DD at nursery next week! DH has a van so now I'm worried he might not be able to use it for a car seat at all confused


fieldfare Thu 20-Feb-14 12:52:17

Google the make and model of there can to find the online manual. There should be details in there of how to turn it off. Some cars you can do yourself but some require the garage.

fieldfare Thu 20-Feb-14 12:52:39

There can? The van! Fgs!

ilovepowerhoop Fri 21-Feb-14 16:14:34

if you cannot disable it then move the seat as far back from the dashboard as possible (not all airbags are easily disabled)

AliceMum09 Fri 21-Feb-14 20:30:15

If you are moving a front seat back as far as possible in order to fit a child seat just make sure you do not move it any further back than the seatbelt shoulder anchorage point.

If the seatbelt has to go back towards the rear of the car/van before then feeding forward into the child seat it's not safe - the seatbelt will not work properly.

Reastie Sun 23-Feb-14 17:42:28

Thanks. I've been looking online at the van manual but it says it isn't suitable for child car seats (or infact a child up to the age of 12 confused ). I'm unsure as to whether that's because it has airbags or another reason, but DH says it's weird it gives a blanket non suitability if the reason was airbags as he chose it as an option when buying the van so not all vans would have them. Genuinely no idea what we'll do if he can't pick up DD from nursery confused

Reastie Thu 27-Feb-14 07:19:10

Hmm, the plot thickens. We ran Vauxhall customer services and the local garage and neither could give us an answer. We emailed customer care and they have replied that no car seat at all is suitable for DHs van, air bag or no air bag. They also implied that no car seat should go in the front of any car confused - is this true?

AmandinePoulain Thu 27-Feb-14 07:27:50

Did they say why? confused Dd2 is in the front of our camper in a rear facing Britax First Class - Halfords fitted it and had no issues. We don't have airbags though.

Have you tried phoning Britax? They may be more helpful. Or did the car seat come with a vehicle compatibility list? Our Britax seats did - it gives pictures of cars and shows which seats in the car fit your seat. In it there are clearly cars which can have seats on the front passenger seat!

Reastie Thu 27-Feb-14 12:40:01

Good idea amandine will go down the britax route. We have no idea why they say it's not compatible and I'm sure it's not the case that all car seats shouldn't be in the front seat of all cars?

GoodEggSafetyAdvice Thu 27-Feb-14 13:10:25

It really does depend on the car/van - if they have said no children under 12 in the van at all, it will be because something has shown in testing that it is not safe/suitable.

It's not the case with every car that children cannot go in the front, the only way to be 100% sure is to consult the manual.

For example, I have a Ford Ka 2003 (the very, very basic model) and I am unable to switch my airbag off - my manual states that with an active airbag no child under 12 can go in the front, regardless of pushing seats back etc.

It may be worth contacting Britax, however I would stick with what the van manufacturer has said.

Reastie Thu 27-Feb-14 18:42:32

Thanks, have checked withbritax, it's not compatible so a no go sad

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