Disconnect Air Bag?


My wife and I have three kids, ages 4, 7, and 10. We are expecting another kid any day. When we go somewhere as a family we usually take our Dodge Caravan and the addition of a fourth child won’t be a problem. Occasionally, however, my wife will have the van and I have our other car, a 2002 Dodge Ram Quadcab. Up to now this hasn’t been a problem because I can keep the three kids in the back. With the fourth, however, the ten-year-old will have to ride up front. According to the rules and regs, he’s still not tall enough to do this with an airbag so I think I have to disconnect the airbag on the passenger seat. I know my brother’s four-door Sliverado has a disconnect switch for the passenger side but mine does not.

So, is this possible? I know it’s not the best situation but can I disconnect the airbag? And, if I do, is it relatively safe?

--Big Family


I do not know if it is legal to disconnect air bags, and it would probably be difficult to get someone to do it for you. Personally, I chose to buy (older) vehicles that do not originally have air bags, therefore I do not have to defeat this “safety” feature.


It is not only legal to disconnect an airbag, but some safety experts recommend it for small passengers. The matter is still controversial.

Find out more over here: http://www.motorists.com/airbags/.


If you DO disconnect the passenger air bag, you will undoubtedly cause the whole system to shut down. If the air bag light comes on, the system will not go off in the event of an accident, even the remaining bag. It’s called a “fail safe” system, meaning if it fails, it can’t go off when it’s not supposed to. It’s safe from that standpoint, but not for the standpoint of working when you need it.


As a mom, there’s got to be a better way. Think about it!
If he’s not tall enough for the air bag, he’s not tall enough for the seat belt.
As much as it may hurt his pride, he may need a booster seat. You can disguise it with a seat cover.
Please look at where your son’s seat belt hits his neck & where his head MAY hit the dashboard in the event of an accident.
Maybe it’s time to buy a mini-van or something.


Amend that: another mini van.
(wish I could have edited it)


Very interesting link. Although disconnecting them may be legal, I still think buying older vehicles is the best way to avoid air bags completely (for both the kids and adults). That has the added benefit of avoiding ABS, daylight lights, and plenty of other nonsense.


Your '02 Ram should be new enough to have either a sensor in the seat to tell how much the passenger weighs(thus lessening the force put out by the bag), or have a key hole for selecting if you want the airbag off or not. look for it under the dash.