They do their job best when everyone is buckled and kids are properly restrained in the back seat. Air bags have saved thousands of adult lives. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that tragically, about 100 children have been killed or injured by the force of a deploying air bag. In most cases, the children were riding in the front seat either in a rear-facing child safety seat or "out of position," either unbuckled or not wearing the shoulder portion of the safety belt.
An air bag is not a soft billowy pillow. Rather, to work effectively, an air bag comes out of the dashboard at rates of up to 200 miles per hour — faster than the blink of an eye. Drivers can entirely eliminate any danger to children from a deploying air bag by placing kids properly restrained in the back seat.
With or without an air bag, the back seat is the safest place for children to ride. As the number of motor vehicles equipped with air bags increases, the risk to kids riding in the front seat will also increase. That is why we must all work to educate people now that air bags save lives and work best when everyone is buckled and kids are in back, properly buckled up.