Automotive air bags are supplemental passenger restraint systems designed to cushion the contact between a vehicle passenger and the steering wheel, dashboard and, in some cases, vehicle doors. Air bags do not restrain the passenger in the seat, nor do they prevent backseat passengers from being thrown forward during a front-end collision.

Clearly, air bags save lives. Unfortunately, some drivers assume that air bag safety reduces the importance of seat belts. This simply isn't true. In fact, the lack of seat restraint can actually reduce the air bag safety due to the increase in the potentially damaging impact force between the vehicle occupant and the deploying air bag.

Remember, air bags are deployed with explosive power. To practice good air bag safety, place children 12 years and under in the rear seat, with seat belts securely fastened.

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