Automotive air bags are designed to help save lives, but should not used as the sole source of protection while driving.
Air bags are supplemental passenger restraint systems designed to cushion the contact between a driver and the steering wheel, dashboard and, in some cars, vehicle doors. Air bags do not restrain the passenger in the seat, and they do not prevent backseat passengers from being thrown forward during a front-end collision.
Air bags save lives, but they do not reduce the importance of seat belt use. Because air bags deploy at explosive speeds, they can harm an unrestrained person — not using a seat belt or restraint can reduce air bag effectiveness due to the increase in the potentially damaging impact force between the vehicle occupant and the deploying air bag.
To practice good air bag safety, place children 12 years and under in the rear seat, with seat belts securely fastened. If a child is riding in the front seat when an airbag deploys, the impact potentially could be fatal.