Manual Air Bag On-Off Switch. Vehicles with no back seat, or a back seat that is too small to hold a child seat, may be equipped with a special switch that lets the driver control the passenger air bag. The switch has a warning light that must be clearly visible to all front seat passengers that will tell them when the air bag has been turned off. A rear facing child seat should NEVER be placed in the front seat of a vehicle equipped with an active passenger air bag. Infants and children can be injured - or even killed - if the air bag deploys. Refer to the vehicle owner's manual for information on the proper use of the air bag on-off switch. Please note: Children are safest when properly restrained in the back seat, whether the vehicle has an air bag or not. In addition, drivers and passengers fitting certain risk profiles can get authorization from NHTSA to have an on-off switch installed by a dealer or repair facility if a switch is available for the vehicle they own. The four risk profiles are:
You can get a brochure about on-off switches and an installation request form from local vehicle dealerships, AAA offices, state motor vehicle offices, and NHTSA. Since on-off switches are not available for all vehicles, verify availability of a switch for your vehicle before you request authorization for its installation. Some manufacturers offer vehicles with a system that deactivates the passenger air bag when a special child restraint, sold by these manufacturers, is properly installed. At the time of publication, two vehicle manufacturers offer these systems: Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.
Rear Center Seat Lap and Shoulder Belts. All rear center seats must be equipped with at least a lap belt. As an added feature, some manufacturers include lap and shoulder belts in rear center seats. This benefits older children and children in booster seats who are often seated in the rear center position.
Built-in Child Seats. These permanent seats are designed to restrain children at least 1 year old and over 20 pounds in a forward-facing position. Because they are built into the vehicle, these seats are an effective restraint system for children. Built-in child seats have an advantage over add-on child seats because they do not have compatibility problems with the vehicle's seat design or seat belt systems.
Adjustable Upper Belts (Rear). Because seat belts must fit people of various sizes, including children, some manufacturers offer adjustable anchors that allow you to change the height of the shoulder strap. This feature allows adjustment and may improve the fit for the passenger. Check the manufacturer's instructions to adjust seat belts in your vehicle properly.
Lower Anchorages (Rear). Each lower anchorage will include a rigid, round rod or bar, onto which a hook or jaw-like buckle or snap can be connected. The bars will be located at the intersection of the vehicle seat cushion and seat back. This feature allows a child safety seat to be securely connected into the vehicle instead of being held by the vehicle's belt system.
Interior Trunk Releases. This feature is intended to benefit individuals, especially children, who inadvertently lock or trap
themselves in the trunk of a vehicle. These systems are designed to be easily seen inside a closed trunk so that victims trapped
inside a trunk will be able to quickly locate the release mechanism. As of September 1, 2001, all passenger cars with trunks will
be required to come equipped with internal trunk releases.
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