Dog on driver's lap + airbag deploys = what?

It seems to be a more common occurrence now where I see someone driving with a small dog on their lap with the dog usually looking out the driver side window or just sitting in front of the steering wheel. What would happen to the dog and the driver if the car was involved in a minor accident where the airbag deployed, assuming no serious injuries would have occurred otherwise? I’m thinking the dog has a better chance of surviving the airbag than the driver who had a 10 - 15 pound projectile slammed into their head/chest. Has something like this ever happened?

I have no idea if it has happened but it is certainly spoken about in dog welfare circles as a really bad, cruel and stupid thing to do. The airbag will probably kill the dog who may well kill you in the accident they distract you into having

If it can kill drivers under 5’4" to be hit in the chest with a driver’s side airbag, I’m pretty sure it’d kill the dog too.

Dead dog.

A friend of my wife was driving with her small dog on her lap when she got into an accident that caused the airbag to deploy. The dog was killed. The friend didn’t have any serious injuries.

I didn’t know they were so powerful until i heard the story of a child being decapitated by an airbag. So…dead dog.

This is why I let the dog drive and I sit in back.

In the last year, I have been nearly hit twice by distracted drivers with small dogs in their laps. It’s almost as bad as the grandmas that now text and drive.

Oh, please. One in five drivers? Millions upon millions of dogs in drivers’ laps? With the survey funded by a dog seat-belt company?

It’s a shovelware story. But it’s in the Grope & Flail, so it must be true.

I doubt that many people drive with a dog in their lap on any kind of regular basis, simply because most people don’t drive around with their dog on any kind of regular basis. But I have no problem believing that many have driven with a dog in their lap, because I work at a vet clinic, and more than half of our small dog patients show up riding in the owner’s lap. (Ditto very young large breed puppies.) I also have no problem believing someone would word a survey so it’s basically asking if you’ve ever driven with the dog in your lap and then reporting the results in a way that makes it sound like everyone who answered “yes” drives with a dog all the time. As the saying goes, figures don’t lie, but liars do figure.

As for the OP, you ever read those warnings about what an airbag can do to a 15# baby, even one in a car seat? It’s pretty horrible. Now imagine that baby is sitting a whole lot closer to the airbag with no protection whatsoever…

Thank you. I needed a laugh out loud moment this morning.

You must drive a Subaru!

I don’t deny the danger of driving with a dog on a driver’s or passenger’s lap. I take issue with the story’s bullshit to sell dog restraints.

According to, (so it must be true) estimates are 202 million to 240 million licensed drivers in the United States in 2006. Using the more conservative figure still means 404 million people or passengers occupying the front seats — one in five — drive or have driven with dogs on their laps.

A reader is left to interpret that silly story to account for all those people because of a lack of any facts pertaining to who was asked and what the question was. They are conspicuous by their absence, probably because they wouldn’t serve the dog seat-belt company’s purpose — selling dog seat belts. For all anyone knows, the “pollsters” asked only five people with dogs who showed up at a vet clinic.

According to this, (for what it’s worth) in 2012 there were 75.8 million dogs in the U.S., so nearly half had been driven in a vehicle’s front seat.

Since the story involved at least 404 million people and about 70 million dogs, guestimating 2006 figures, I’ll quote Click and Clack, the Tappet brothers: “Bo-oh-GUS!”

And since I’m on a roll (in my own mind) the leed stinks, too, which put me on my guard for the rest of the filler.

No, “we” haven’t all seen it (and driving down the road is redundant).

It’s akin to those newspaper stories we’ve all seen: “We all have those smelly fast-food hamburger bags, wrappers, fries boxes and sticky, empty drink cups that filled the back seat during the winter.” No, we all don’t.

Hurrumph. And something about my lawn (covered in hamburger wrappers). We’ve all seen what’s that’s like.

When I had 20-pounds dogs, I’d let them ride in my lap (one at a time) if I was only driving five minutes down the street to the vet. If I was going to be in the car for much longer, I had doggy seat belts they were required to stay in. Now I have a 75-pound dog and not only can she not ride in my lap, but she weighs enough to trigger the seatbelt chime so I pretty much have to strap her in. She face-planted into the dash a couple times when I had to stop short and she slid right off the seat, so when I finally got her a seatbelt, it was clear to me that she understood what it was for and she seems to like it. I still worry about what air bags would do to her because they were not designed to protect dogs; they were designed to protect humans. So I’m not sure a dog will act like a human body in an accident. I might have to start making her sit in the back seat.

My 50lb dog rides in the front seat, but only in our little rural subdivision at low speeds. As soon as we get to the main road he jumps into the back seat.

I’m really glad weef started this thread. My dog uses a seat belt harness because I don’t want a 60 lb projectile flying around in case of an accident. I honestly never thought about the air bags. She will ride in the back seat from now on.

Thank you weef.

Those numbers are way off because there are only 314 million people in the entire country.

The answer is obvious: carmakers MUST come up with doggie air bags.

and they must do it before a real catastrophy happens!

:wink: Yer Welcome!

Not me! Besides, I told you, the dog drives!