Airbags reduce serious head and chest injuries in frontal accidents of considerable force. According to the Michigan State Police, "for an air bag to do its job, it comes out of the dashboard as fast as 200 miles per hour--with a tremendous force that can hurt those who are sitting too close to it."
Adults should sit at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel. Drivers shorter than 5 feet 5 inches tall should recline as far back as comfortably possible to reach the gas pedal. Steering wheels should be tilted in the direction of a person's chest--not his head.
A child age 12 years or younger needs to be safely strapped in the back seat of a car. If he sits in the front seat, his little body can slide forward or hit the dashboard during an impact and get hurt or killed if the passenger-side airbag blows up. Babies in a rear-facing car seat placed in the front seat are at risk for injury or death from a deployed airbag and should always ride in the back seat.
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