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Children in the front and air bags - come and talk to me please!

(11 Posts)
Ceolas Sat 30-May-09 14:50:22

I am expecting DC5 in August. We have a Vauxhall Zafira. We cannot afford to buy a new car at the moment.

In order to fit the pram in the car, I must have a seat folded down. Most of the time I'll only have DD3 and the baby with me as the older 3 are at school and we usually walk there and back. The occasions when I will have all 5 children in the car will be about 2-3 short (10 mins) trips a week.

DD1 is 9.5 at the moment and is 137cm tall. If it's of any consequence she weighs about 4 stones (25.5kg). She travels in the back seat at the moment in a booster seat.

I know that legally she can travel without a car seat and can go in the front, but what are the safety implications? I can only find legal stuff on this. We do have a passenger airbag which cannot be disabled.

If you were me, would you allow DD1 to travel in the front (with a booster) or take the pram out and rearrange the seats every time?

LyraSilvertongue Sat 30-May-09 14:55:01

I let my boys (4 and 6) travel in the front occasionally. The main danger, as you probably know, is with rear-facing car seats. I don't think it's too much of a risk for an older child to sit in the front. Just make sure their seat is pushed well back to lessen any impact if the airbag should go off.

Ceolas Sat 30-May-09 15:04:19

I seem to remember discussion on here about airbags being lethal to children as they're the wrong height. But I don't remember whether it was younger children and typically can't find the threads.

I'm sort of rationalising that at 137cm with the added 20cm or so of a booster seat, there are plenty of adults around the same height travelling safely in the front seat hmm

sazm Sat 30-May-09 15:05:31

could you not put the pram in the front seat and have all the kids in their child seats in the other seats?

LyraSilvertongue Sat 30-May-09 15:06:18

Exactly, there are no warnings about short adults not travelling in the front. I'm sure your dd would be fine but then I'm not an expert.

3littlefrogs Sat 30-May-09 15:09:06

The biggest risk of airbags and children/short people in the front is being blinded by the chemicals used to inflate the bags. There was an awful photograph in a recent British Medical Journal of a passenger whose eyes were destroyed by this. You can get the airbag disabled by the manufacturer.

LyraSilvertongue Sat 30-May-09 15:12:14

Found this:

Infants and children under 12 should never ride in the front passenger seat, even in a child safety seat or booster chair. It is dangerous to allow a child to sit in the front seat of a car because of the harmful affects an airbag can have on them, but it is unavoidable in many two-seater trucks with no back seats, which is why many truck companies have created a switch device that can turn an airbag off for a passenger -- in the instance of a child in the front seat.

Read more: "Vehicle Airbag Safety" -

sazm Sat 30-May-09 15:13:47

theres only some cars that can have the airbag de-activated,
there was a thread about it the other day,a lady phoned vauxhall and they said they wouldnt do it,
my sister had to get her zafira secially made without a passenger airbag as they couldnt de-activate it,

nobodyputsbabyinacorner Thu 04-Jun-09 22:50:08

Is it just because of airbags that children should not travel in front seat? My 5yo dd travels in the front all the time, with a car seat (not booster) - i dont actually think i have a passenger airbag - better recheck. My question was going to be, would it be ok to have her in the front on a long, motorway journey - is that a big no-no? And is it just because of airbag?

JimJammum Fri 05-Jun-09 20:59:51

I think the general consensus is that it is safer for them in the back, but that they can travel in the front with disabled airbag at any age. My ds used to loads when he was smaller as the view of the road kept him occupied and it was easier to give him food, drink etc etc rather than keep turning round to check on him.

3littlefrogs Sat 06-Jun-09 10:02:25

The key point is that the air bag must be disabled.

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