Depending on the vehicle and the seat, it may not have any affect or it may not sense a passenger.
On rare occasions customers have informed us of the Tummy Shield interfering with the sensor in the passenger seat. In fact the first person to bring it to our attention was Taylor who was using the Tummy Shield with a subsequent pregnancy after she had lost her baby, Bailey, in a crash. (You can find more of Taylor and Bailey’s story here. ) Taylor chose to continue using the Tummy Shield after I explained the information below…
In a frontal crash, a properly positioned and restrained passenger may have very little contact with the fully inflated airbag, especially if you take the added precaution, as a pregnant woman, of moving your seat as far back as possible from the dash, which is recommended anyway.
While yes, the airbag is intended to keep you safe, remember it is deployed at a very high speed with a powerful punch. NHTSA says “Sitting as far back from the steering wheel or dashboard as possible and using seat belts help prevent drivers and passengers from being “too close” to a deploying frontal air bag.”
It could be considered OK to not have the airbag activated. Even if your airbag were activated while you are sitting there, we would recommend you sit as far as possible in the passenger seat to reduce actual contact should it deploy in a crash.
Also, remember airbags are considered “supplemental” restraints. In fact you may even see “SRS” embossed into the vehicle near where they are located. SRS stand for “Supplemental Restraint System”. Your seat belt is the “primary” restraint system. The Tummy Shield is made to make THAT system safer for you as an expecting mother because there is nothing in the Federal Safety Standards that actually tests for or documents it’s safety for unborn babies/pregnant women.
Air bags are a “passive” restraint system, meaning you as a passenger don’t have to take action in order to “engage” it. In 1969, the government proposed passive restraints in cars, largely to protect passengers not wearing seat belts. At the time the seat belt usage rate was merely 15%.