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Airbag theory (355/360 with child in front seat)

Discussion in '348/355' started by Uonlyhave2seats, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. Uonlyhave2seats

    Uonlyhave2seats Karting

    Feb 25, 2004
    52
    South East, UK
    Full Name:
    Tone
    I am interested in knowing why a child in a forward facing child seat with pasenger airbag is dangerous. My understanding is that very small people should also not sit in the passenger seat. I believe it is distance to the airbag which is the problem. So in a 355/360 can the seat be pushed far back enough that the child would be safe? Or the correct distance be calculated and the seat positioned as such.

    I may have totally misunderstood the issue with airbags. I have searched the archives on this subject and am still not sure whether I feel comfortable with a child in the passenger seat or not. It is fairly crucial to my purchasing decision.
     
  2. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Jan 5, 2002
    18,582
    Portland, Oregon
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    Don
    I believe you can legally install a switch to shut off the airbag on the passenger side, in two seat cars only. You might look into this as an alternative.
     
  3. lockyer

    lockyer Formula Junior

    Dec 19, 2004
    250
    Cas Vegas
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    Jon Newall
    It can be done in any car, my A8 has it and my S3 before that. nothing in the 360 though.
     
  4. sparetireless

    sparetireless Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2003
    1,342
    The 430 has a switch built in.
     
  5. dbcooper

    dbcooper Formula Junior

    Feb 7, 2005
    278
    Costa Mesa,Ca.
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    Tim Romero
    you can disable the passenger side airbag,You have to install a 2 ohm resistor in place of the airbag to fool the ecu into believing that the airbag is still present.(you didnt hear that from me)
     
  6. Trevor L

    Trevor L Formula Junior

    Jul 21, 2004
    315
    OKC, USA
    i dont think id trust my kids life to a $.35 resistor.

    there is a thread that tells how to get the dealer to install a switch.

    as i remember u have to get DOT approval and i think FNA, in the usa.

    dig its there some where.


    btw, its my recolection that the air bag has enought velocity to kill children,
    it gives adults broken noses and black eyes sometimes.
     
  7. Steve R

    Steve R F1 Rookie
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    Sep 15, 2004
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    Wow.....now there's some added incentive not to crash!
     
  8. Uonlyhave2seats

    Uonlyhave2seats Karting

    Feb 25, 2004
    52
    South East, UK
    Full Name:
    Tone
    "its my recolection that the air bag has enought velocity to kill children,
    it gives adults broken noses and black eyes sometimes"

    that is what I was wondering. if that is the case then surely you could move the passenger seat far enough back that this would not happen?
     
  9. Gershwin

    Gershwin F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 21, 2005
    5,974
    Kentucky
    I had and still have the same concern w/ my purchase of a 355 w/in the next week. I had discussed it with several dealers and told by one it could be done but would take 3 months worth of paper work and two others said it could not be done w/out turning off both airbags. I will only be taking my 5 year old for short trips around the neighborhood and such. I will await the day I invest in a Scag or Aston Martin before we can joy-ride together or they become of age. In the end, my children should be big enough to ride in a 2 seater w/ air bag at age 7-8 give or take depending on weight/size.
     
  10. pma1010

    pma1010 F1 Rookie

    Jul 21, 2002
    2,558
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    Philip
    I had an airbag on/off switch installed in a Miata several years ago. From memory, there was an application for modification, and, once approved, a list of licensed installers was provided. A small keyed box was added to the car (not untastefully) which once (de-) activated (by turning the key one way or the other) rendered the airbag in question (in-) operative.

    One question, are Ferrari airbags common across markets? In the US, the airbags are (or were) of a primary "high-powered" type, at least in other cars, due to the lack of seat belt wearing by Joe Public. In Europe, where seat belt wearing rates have been higher, (I thought) the airbag has been used as a secondary "crash" device and therefore deployment rates (force) is reduced with less occupant risk of injury as a result.
    Philip
     
  11. Uonlyhave2seats

    Uonlyhave2seats Karting

    Feb 25, 2004
    52
    South East, UK
    Full Name:
    Tone
    Thanks for all the discussion but there does seem to be a lack of definitive knowledge. I still dont understand the reason why kids cannot sit in the front in a forward facing seat? Also if the seat is pushed as far back as it goes then there must be little risk from the airbag?
     
  12. lukek

    lukek Formula 3

    May 2, 2003
    2,046
    San Francisco
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    LK
    I have done extensive research, and I actually started the thread you want to dig up.
    Here are the facts from NHTSA and other sources:
    You should never put a kid in the front seat if you have rear seats. In a pickup or a 2 seater you should never put a rear facing child seat in a passenger airbag equipped car. Why? The rear facing seats puts the head extremely close to the airbag. Tested, plenty of fatalities, and no you cannot move the seat back far enough...
    With a front facing child seat or a booster, things get a bit more gray, but it is still not recommended to put a child there if the airbag is present, unless you have the Merc style weight sensing, variable deployment force setup, not the case with the 355 and 360. Even then, the lawyers say no. If you have no choice and want to transport a child, you need the Factory provided disabling kit. A couple of owners have posted that the part costs under a grand and count on another half G to install it at the dealer. Not cheap, but worth the piece of mind. Double check those numbers.
    I am looking at purchasing a Modena or a Gallardo in about 2 years. One of the things that might sway the decision towards the Lambo is that it comes with a pass airbag cutoff from the factory.
    For now, I have a Maserati 2+2 and a Ferrari 2+2. At a point at which they grow up and hate being around dad and car shows, I will be all over the fully depreciated 2 seaters !
     
  13. losang

    losang Karting

    Feb 11, 2005
    153
    Two years ago I saw a four year old girl die right under my second floor office window as the result of a fender bender at a stoplight. Her grandmother had her in the front seat and she rear ended the car in front of her at less than 10MPH. I can not begin to describe how heartbreaking the scene was as they pulled her limp body out from under the exploded airbag and attempted to resusitate her on the hood of the car. I have two daughters aged 10 and 12. They will wait awhile before they ride in the 360. I'll never forget that experience.
     
  14. Uonlyhave2seats

    Uonlyhave2seats Karting

    Feb 25, 2004
    52
    South East, UK
    Full Name:
    Tone
    That is a very sobering story. Was she wearing a seat belt though?
     
  15. Rifledriver

    Rifledriver Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 29, 2004
    25,431
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    Brian Crall
    I don't know if that particular child was wearing a seatbelt or not but many similar cases exist and the child did have a belt. That is why in this country so many laws have come about pertaining to carrying a child in a car. Airbags have killed too many kids already. Don't try to find a way aroud it, either keep them out or disconnect the bag.
     
  16. teak360

    teak360 F1 Veteran
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    Nov 3, 2003
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    I remember a very young child being killed in Denver a few years ago when her mom bumped into a light pole in the parking lot at a McDonalds.
     
  17. Gershwin

    Gershwin F1 Veteran
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    Feb 21, 2005
    5,974
    Kentucky
    You didn't mention if the factory ordered disconnect disables both airbags or just the passenger?
     
  18. lukek

    lukek Formula 3

    May 2, 2003
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    LK
    It was not me, but the factory kit disconnects just the passenger airbag.

     
  19. Kram

    Kram Formula Junior
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    Jul 3, 2004
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    Mark
    As I understand it, the reason children are killed by exploding air bags is because they are too near the bag when it goes off. Why? Well, the seat belts only lock when a weight is thrown against them and a child is a light weight - compared to an adult. Thus the child has lurched quite near the airbag - irrespective of the seat position - by the time the belts checks his forward movement. The bag then comes out and snaps the child’s neck. The earlier bags deployed at about 200 mph (they slow down within inches of emerging) the later ones are down to about 120 mph, or so I hear. There are cases of the child’s head being thrown into the back seat - if you believe what you read on the net.
    I’m not an expert, but I am a dad and just the thought of having your kid killed in a small fender bender chills the blood. Frankly I find it amazing that between ABS and airbags legislators have made us pay a lot more money to buy cars that can kill our kids and usually take a longer distance to stop. Now before someone writes to tell me how both devices save lives let me add that I'm sure they have and will, but I would still prefer to have active safety restraints and full control over the break pedal rather than several bombs on board and wheels that won't stop turning.
     
  20. Jas

    Jas Formula Junior

    Mar 2, 2005
    953
    Kent, UK
    Full Name:
    Jas
    Reading all this, I would NEVER take the risk now. I hadn't realised how dangerous it is (although it's not an issue for me as I have no passenger airbag).

    However, does anyone know the answer to the question posed above: are UK airbags less powerful, or smaller, than US ones?

    Jas
     
  21. lukek

    lukek Formula 3

    May 2, 2003
    2,046
    San Francisco
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    LK
    I think they started using the low pressure ones earlier in EU. But for stuff like this...you really want the dealer, and you want to see it in writing, as opposed to relying on anecdotal evidence of this online crew.
    :)
    Or get a Gallardo, or a Corvette....They both have a key operated disabling switch for the passenger airbag. Ferrari has been very slow with this...I think both versions of the 430 finally have it built in, while the retrofit kits are available for the 355 and the 360, as of a year ago, I would say...


     

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