The recall, which will begin in late October, involves vehicles from the 2004-2005 model years.
Kia said the recall involved identical circumstances to a recall of the 2004-2005 Hyundai Elantra announced two weeks ago. Kia spokesman Ian Beavis said it was a "precautionary measure because the Spectra shares the same platform with the Hyundai Elantra."
Kia said it was possible the air bag system could misclassify a child seat in the front passenger seat as an adult passenger. It could only happen if a child seat was installed after an adult had been in the passenger seat and then the ignition was turned off.
Under that scenario, when the vehicle was turned back on, the system's memory would misinterpret the child seat as an adult passenger. That could lead to the deployment of the front air bag and side-impact air bag in a crash.
The air bags normally would not deploy if the system properly identified a child restraint seat because the impact of the bags could injure a child.
The government recommends that all children under 13 sit in the rear seats with seat belts fastened.
There have been no crashes or injuries connected to the issue, Kia said.