Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2002 01:10:50 +0200
From: Robert Brown <rjbnopsamnet.se.nospam>
Subject: Re: 9-5 and front airbags


JD wrote: > Hi, > I have a 2000 9-5. I wanted to know what happens about disabling the front > passenger airbag. I want to use a rear-facing baby car seat and I need it > disabled. Presumably this is something that a dealer has to do ? This is done here (Sweden) quite often. Dealer must do it. Don't know whether this entails removing the bag, disconnecting wires, or reprogramming. Dealer will know. May be a small charge. You can probably insist on the bag and explosive being removed completely from the car. > Is it then > easy to re-arm the bag when I want to put a normal sized adult in the front > seat ? Or do I have to go back to the dealer when i want it armed again ? Dealer only, again (programming, explosives, etc.). OTOH I now drive an Audi, which interestingly enough comes with an option to enable/disable the passenger airbag via a key lock in the glove box. I didn't take that option but am entitled to two changes to the airbag settings free of charge - presumably to disable the bag when the kid arrives, then later on to enable it again when he/she grows up a bit and is promoted to the back seat ;-) But I don't think either Swedish car maker has a key activation option, probably due to the risks and consequences of setting it wrongly. My wife drives a 9-3 which she ordered specifically without passenger bag so we avoid the problem that way. Not sure if the Saabs can be ordered without passenger airbags in all markets though. It's an option in Sweden due to many people's fear of a botched disconnection job resulting in an airbag detonating in a crash, with a rear-facing front-seat child passenger. Some poor kid got killed in Germany this way, about three years back, and that attracted a lot of press here. > > Also (but slightly OT) can anyone recommend a rear facing baby car seat > available in the UK. You may find Britax and Akta available in your market. We use both in our cars and are happy with them. Thankfully have not had them subjected to an ultimate test, knock on wood . . . Britax have a seat known as "two-way" which is placeable facing either forward or backwards as the name suggests ;-) We own one because of that feature. Best to chase up and read the consumer report magazines to get a better idea. Check a good library for back issues - that's where I found the info I needed. > There seem to be lots of options like travel systems > etc but being my first one (baby that is) I'm slightly at sea without a > paddle. > TIA > JD Yeah, we who raise kids all go through that one huh ;-) You'll find some people that are really phobic about putting rear-facing kid seats in the front. But it's very common in Scandinavia, especially with Saab, Volvo, BMW, Mercedes, Audi owners (and Swedes tend to drive these cars a bit more than other nationalities do), since they're pretty good at protecting front-seat passengers in a crash. Some people have suggested that having a kid in the front seat is a traffic safety risk because the driver can be distracted. Other people will argue that having the rear-facing kid in the back seat causes the driver to turn his/her head, which is just as dangerous. My wife puts our youngest (2 yrs) in the front seat of the Saab facing backwards, and I put him in facing backwards in the middle *rear* seat of the Audi. I have full confidence, safetywise, for my wife's decision. I think I was a safer driver having my hand on my infant son or daughter in the front seat of my wife's car, rather than having the kid scream his arse off in the back of *my* car, where I could do nothing to comfort him. I probably should've disabled the front bag on my car and had the kid ride up front. If you travel around Europe by car, it may be good to know that kids under 12 years old may not travel in the front seat (even with a child seat facing either forward or back) in Albania, Bulgaria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Czech Republic, Liechtenstein, Croatia, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Yugoslavia (Serbia-Montenegro). The age limit is 10 for France, Greece, and Monaco. All other European countries permit kids in the front seat (albeit using a proper child seat for many countries) so in the UK you have no problems, legally. N.B. This info is from 1999, so check to see if there are any late changes to the rules. Hope all this might be of help. Regards, Robert Gothenburg Sweden (2001 A4, 1999 9-3, 1983 900 GL R.I.P, 1983 99 GL R.I.P.)

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