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What are the differences between side and front airbags? Why is it better for children to travel on the rear seats?

Diferencia entre airbags laterales y frontales, ¿por qué es mejor que vayan detrás?


Before we begin, we would like to remind you that underage children under 135 cm tall must travel on the rear seats, unless one of the three exceptions to the legislation applies —which you can take a look at here. Apart from being compulsory, we will explain exactly why it is particularly important for children to travel on the vehicle's rear seats.

One of the most compelling reasons for making it compulsory for children to travel on the rear seats in child car seats suitable for their physical characteristics is because of the different types of airbags installed in cars. If we put our child on the front seat in a rear-facing child car seat we must disable the front passenger airbag otherwise it is extremely dangerous for the child. This is because the airbag would catapult the child seat backwards and the child could suffer serious injuries or even die in the event of a crash.

However, there are no airbags in the rear of the car. Although there are indeed side airbags in this area of the vehicle, they do not interfere with the child car seat. This is not the case for the front passenger seat. Side airbags do not obstruct the child car seat and offer full protection for the child. When the side airbag inflates it will come into contact with the child but nevertheless protects him or her effectively, in contrast with the front airbag which displaces the child car seat.

Accordingly, child car seats with side protection are best placed to provide full protection in the event of a crash. They also provide additional safety on coming into contact with the airbag and in terms of side displacement. 


Our main recommendation is to place the child in the central rear seat. In this position the child is better protected from injury from the side airbags, above all if the child car seat does not have side protection or the airbags are not designed for small children.

If your child is sitting in the front seat due to one of the exceptions contained in the legislation, you will need to disable the front airbag if your child is in a rear-facing car seat. 

If the child is sitting in the passenger seat but only needs to use a seat belt, it is important to ensure that the child is at a safe distance from the dasboard. We should never rest our hands, arms or feet on the dashboard.

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