Should we get side-impact air bags for our new van?
Great question. Side air bags add to the car safety for older children and adults but can cause serious injury to young children, those in car seats and boosters. So eliminate that option for the best safety for your youngest passengers. The air bag off-switch option isn't really a good one for families with young children. This places the safety of the adults in the car in jeopardy, with the chance of secondary injury to the passengers as well. Remembering to turn the switch on and off at the appropriate time is hard to do with a carload of kids and a busy schedule. So your best choice is to decline the side air bag option and put the car seat crowd in the back seat in properly installed and tightly buckled seats that are appropriate for the age and weight of the each child.
For more information, see this site,
the American Academy of Pediatrics Web site,
and the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration Web site.
The last of these not only gives you all the latest safety information but also provides a list of certified technicians who can install that car seat according to the highest standards. Have safe and happy travel adventures in your new van.