Auto Industry Statement on Air Bags in Rear Seating Positions

Safe Ride News asked the Global Automakers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (auto industry groups that, between the two, represent the U.S. divisions of every major vehicle brand) about the safety of children seated near side air bags in the rear seating area, including torso air bags.   The following is a joint statement from these organizations:

“Automakers that offer vehicles with side airbags for the rear row(s) evaluate these protective systems to minimize the likelihood that they introduce additional serious injury risk for occupants, including both adults and children.  In 2000, automakers and restraint system suppliers worked with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to develop a document entitled “Recommended Procedures for Evaluating Occupant Injury Risk from Deploying Side Airbags.”

These test procedures evaluate the inflation-injury risk of side airbags, including side airbags that deploy from the seatback (e.g., torso airbags), the door panel, the rear quarter panel, and the roof rail.  These test procedures use 3- and 6-year-old child test dummies positioned in various positions close to the deploying airbag(s), in which the child test dummy is not in a child restraint system (CRS).

These test conditions represent situations that are more severe than a child seated in a CRS because a child properly seated in a CRS is positioned further away from the deploying side airbag.   As part of automakers’ efforts to minimize the risk from deploying side airbag(s), automakers continually consider ways in which to enhance safety both to children in CRS and adults.”