"Kids in the back seat" because of air bags?

The prevailing wisdom seems to be that putting a small child in the front seat of a car – even if (s)he is restrained by a child safety seat – is a sure-fire death sentence, on par with cramming the kid head-first into a running wood chipper.

This notion emerged soon after passenger-side airbags started appearing on new cars, and at about the same time that studies came out showing airbags have a good chance of injuring smaller people.

Which got me to wondering: Are passenger-side airbags the only reason children are now banned from “riding shotgun”? If I get a car without a passenger-side airbag, or disable the passenger-side airbag in a car that has one, can a child now ride in the front seat without fear of instant death? If so, I think consigning the kiddies forevermore to the lonely, harsh world of the back seat is the wrong way to fix this problem.

Quick-N-Dirty Aviation: Trading altitude for airspeed since 1992.

From Babycenter.com The government site on airbags wouldn’t open for me.

**Do air bags pose a danger to children? **
They can. Air bags are required because they save lives, but as of 1998, they had also killed at least 34 children, 10 of them infants in rear-facing seats. Even worse, some of those deaths occurred in what should have been mere fender-benders. Passenger-side air bags were required by law in all 1997-model cars and 1998-model trucks.

How are they dangerous?
To be protective, an air bag must inflate almost instantly after a crash, so it’s released from the dashboard at 200 miles per hour — more than the force of a heavyweight fighter’s knockout punch. The clearest risk is to babies in rear-facing seats. When placed in the front seat (against makers’ strict warnings), rear-facing infant seats are so close to the dash that they’re directly in the air bag’s line of fire. Air bags can also be deadly to older children in the front seat. Because children have weaker back, neck, and stomach muscles, as well as a head that is larger relative to their body size, it’s harder for them to maintain an upright position in even a gentle collision. So they face a greater risk of coming face to face with the blunt force of the bag as it expands.

Where’s the safest place for my child to sit?
The National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) urges parents “in the strongest possible terms” to insist that children 12 and under ride belted in the back seat. If possible, have your child ride in the middle of the back seat (or of the center seat in a van or station wagon) — the safest spot in
any car. If a full car forces you to seat a toddler or older child up front, slide the front seat as far back as possible before installing an appropriate child seat or booster. If the front passenger
seat has an air bag, under no circumstances place a rear-facing infant car seat in that spot — it’s simply not a safe option.

** Will I have more choices in the future?**
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has changed its regulations to allow consumers to deactivate
passenger-side air bags in two instances: 1) in two-seater cars or trucks and 2) when the child has a medical condition that requires close monitoring by the driver. If you meet either of these criteria, you can ask a dealer or car repair garage to disable your passenger side air bag. The NHTSA is also working with automakers to create air bags that expand with less force. Future options include on-off switches and “smart” air bags that won’t inflate if a child, or even a bag of groceries, occupies the passenger seat. And in some models the air bags are positioned farther from the edge of the
dash to reduce the chances of injury.
We all sat in the back seat as a kid. Sure it is boring. It is the passage of childhood. Teach your kids to entertain themselves by reading or possibly coloring. Playing “I Spy” ,singing songs, Liscense plate alphabet, listen to books on tape, etc. Do not, and I repeat, do not put/get a TV in back for anything other than long driving vacations. For short trips ( running errands, going to school…etc) it will teach your child to be a constant consumer and they will not be able to associate as with the people around them as much. ( I just read this in the Detroit News about the “Disney” van by GMC and what the constant TV watching is going/doing to our kids.)

the “Disney” van???

What in the name of Motown is that?

If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error.

The Disney Van is a giant amusement park crammed into a 5 by 10 square foot area.

From the Detroit News 11/7/99

Women and Cars: Drive time offers kids talk time

                                     In-vehicle entertainment systems create antisocial behavior for parents and children, therapists say.

By Ann Jobs

**Q. My sister just got a minivan with a video and game-playing station in it. She has it on all the time! I say that’s wrong and I hate to think how it will affect my two nephews. What do you say? **

A. Several communication and child development experts that we checked with here at the Women’s Auto Help Center agree with you. They warn parents about the dangers of media saturation and recommend moderation in the use of such entertainment systems. A couple even urged parents to avoid these in-vehicle systems altogether.

While children are engaged in movies and video games, “they’re not relating to people,” said Michael Gurian, a family therapist and author in Spokane, Wash. “We’re cutting off their social and moral development.”
He sees in-vehicle entertainment centers as unnecessary and says they could creating more
tension within a family. The devices cut children off from nature as they focus solely on the screen inside the vehicle rather than the scenery outside)."
In his book, The Good Son: Shaping the Moral Development of Our Boys & Young Men
(Tarcher/Putnam), Gurian encourages parents to set limits on time spent in front of TV, movies and on video games – in and out of vehicles.
Joanne Cantor, mother of a 10-year-old boy and professor of communication arts at the
University of Wisconsin, said she would resist buying a van with an entertainment center. Author of Mommy, I’m Scared: How TV and Movies Frighten Children and What We Can
Do to Protect Them (Harcourt Brace), Cantor said she doesn’t want to condemn parents who
use a vehicle entertainment center to keep kids busy. But she’s concerned that high media exposure can “develop your child into a constant consumer.”

She said car-shopping parents should realize that if the entertainment center is inside the van, “there’s going to be a tendency to use it all the time. There’s going to be this pressure to use it maybe more than you want to.”

Mark Singer, professor of social work at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, was blunt: “Parents should not be using a television set as a baby-sitter. There are a whole number of ways that children can be entertained (while traveling).” But Ellen Galinsky, a mother of two grown children and president of the Families and Work

Institute and author, said she could see how keeping children occupied in the car could
contribute to safer driving.
“I didn’t want (my children) to be fighting while I drove,” said Galinsky, author of Ask the Children: What America’s Children Really Think About Working Parents, (William Morrow).

On the other hand, she said car time can be very important, particularly to older children with whom parents often struggle to relate.
“You’re not staring at each other, yet you’re trapped in this capsule,” she said. “Parents need to develop their conversation skills with their children. I would hate for parents to miss an opportunity to talk with their children in the car.”
(Emphasis mine) I think it ironic that the autor of this book, Asking Children, would say this. Of course the kids want a tv/vcr/videos in back.What kid wouldn’t. This is where the parent steps in and decides what is best in the long run and short run for the developement of their child. The cite of highway safety is silly and she is justifying her own inability to control her children through games, conversation and interaction. If you asked a kid every night what they wanted for dinner, they’d probably say candy, pop and pizza. I suppose she’d give them that too.

Dang. I saw the commerical for this van with all the media bells and whistles inside of it to keep the kids in a coma whilst driving and I thought it was a GMC. I did a web search and cannot find it. Hmmm.Might be a 2000 model. I dunno, all vans look alike.

There will be a little Disney Logo above the automakers to distinguish it from all the other minivans.( Yes, why not advertise to the theives that you have a little bit more money than the average soccer mom and better goods inside to steal?) It’s like the Eddie Bauer Explorer. You pay more for the green explorer and get a few additional bells and whistles.

Crap…now that I think about it, maybe it wasn’t Mickey Mouse above the car logo I saw, it might have been Bugs Bunny. Eh, mouse, rabbit. They are both rodents.

Mouse - Family Muridae, Order Rodentia
Rabbit - Family Leporidae, Order Lagomorpha

(Sorry, I only know this because I was caught on the same error a couple of years ago.)

Bet you are thinking about the 2000 Chevy Venture Warner Bros. Special Edition.

Haven’t seen it, but it is listed on carprices.com.

Shirley Ujest quoted babycenter.com:

Does this mean that, for a small child, the front seat without an airbag is just as safe as the back seat? The citation doesn’t make that clear.

And if the back seat is safer overall, shouldn’t we also be encouraging adults not to ride up front?

The VCR- and PlayStation-equipped mini-van is a sign of the impending Apocalypse. My kids (should I ever have any) will ride in one over my dead cold body.

From the above quoted gubbamint source:

I have no opinion on what level of risk airbags pose to children, nor on how getting hit by one compares to getting hit by a heavyweight fighter. But I’m always peeved by statements like this coming from official sources, because IMHO, even if their conclusion is right, it diminishes their credibility. Their statement reads sort of like, “A pitcher’s fastball can travel at up to 105 MPH - more than the height of the empire state building”.

Back to your regularly scheduled thread.

peas on earth

Tomndebb…mice, rabbits and seagulls (ITAPIMM*) are all rodents. Mice cost me $1700 in repairs to one car. Rabbits ate two new lilac bushes causing me to hum, " Kill the wabbit" whenever I see one and seagulls, well, all they are is rats with wings.

In The Amusement Park In My Mind.