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AIR-BAG CUTOFF AIMS TO PROTECT INFANTS

SHARE AIR-BAG CUTOFF AIMS TO PROTECT INFANTS

National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator Ricardo Martinez says air-bag cutoff switches being offered on 1996 Ford Ranger pickup trucks will save the lives of infants.

Martinez said that while air bags generally prevent many deaths and serious injuries, "air bags and rear-facing infant seats do not mix.""The availability of a manual cutoff switch is an important step in preventing injury to infants who are in the front seat by necessity," he said.

The safest place for any child is in the back seat of a vehicle, but most pickup trucks and some sports cars don't have rear seats.

The sudden impact of an air bag can injure children under age 1 because their bone structure is not fully developed, so the federal agency is permitting manufacturers to temporarily air-bag cutoffs in these vehicles.

The switch turns off only the passenger-side air bag.