Car Airbags 101

Air bags are often a forgotten car essential until they are needed. However, it is important to understand why air bags were created and how to properly use them while riding in the car. Keep in mind, air bags were designed to work alongside seat belts, not to replace them. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, “Air bags reduce the chance that your upper body or head will strike the vehicle’s interior during a crash. All new cars are manufactured with frontal air bags while some vehicles are designed with both frontal and side air bags. It is important to check your car manual to determine which air bags your car has. Air bags were designed to protect adults and children over the age of 13.

Please adhere to these guidelines concerning air bag safety:

  • Children under the age of 13 should always be seated in the back seat when riding in the car.
  • All children should be properly secured in a car seat, belt-positioning booster seat, or a seat belt that is designed for their age and height.
  • With advance frontal air bags, NHTSA recommends keeping at least a 10 inch distance from your chest and the air bag cover to avoid a potential injury.
  • It is against the law to install a rear-facing car seat in the front seat of an active air bag. states, “Vehicles with no back seat or a back seat that is not made for passengers are not the best choice for traveling with small children; However, the airbag can be turned off in some of these vehicles if the front seat is needed for a child passenger. See your vehicle owner’s manual for more information.”


Air bags and seat belts are tools given as a supplement tool for car safety. Learning to utilize these tools correctly can really make the difference in the lives of everyone. Please share these tips with family and friends. To find more information about driving safety, please visit Ford Driving Skills for Life here.