Airbags are meant to protect and save people from the risk of getting hurt inside the vehicle during an accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, airbags have saved over 50,457 lives from 1987 to 2017.
In the U.S., airbags are a mandatory car safety feature along with seatbelts, based on the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act. But, airbags may also cause injuries because of how they are deployed. This mechanism pops out of the dashboard at a high speed, and it may be warm, covered with chemicals, or dusty.
How Airbags Work
This safety device, which was first used during World War II and improved in the 1990s, is made of nylon. It’s kept behind the dashboard, or the panels of doors on the side and has a sensor that triggers the airbag to pop during a car accident.
The airbag mechanism uses sodium azide and potassium nitrate, as well as hydrogen gas for inflation. Imagine these chemicals launching at 100mph or higher at the driver or passenger’s skin and eyes.
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As an additional safety precaution, airbags are also featured with air vents for more cushion during an impact. Otherwise, the bag could be too hard, thus causing more injuries.
Common Injuries Reported on Airbag Deployment
Head or Face
The airbags may extremely hurt if it explodes too close to the person’s face, especially for babies, children or short people. Ideally, the distance between the person and the airbag must be 10 inches to get the best protection but, obviously, this cannot be anticipated during an accident. This can lead to unsightly facial injuries and scars. The good news is, you can have your face repaired and your scars removed at our facial plastic surgery in Miami.
Punctures and Wounds
Fragments of metal frames and other hard surfaces from the car can fly off during airbag deployment and these can cause punctures and wounds to the driver or passengers.
Eye, Ear and Skin
There is a risk to the eyes and skin when airbags, filled with chemicals, pop within the confines of a car. The chemicals may burn the skin and the eyes. Fragments from the car can also directly hit the eyes. The explosion can also get very loud and may cause temporary, or permanent loss of hearing, eardrum perforation or tinnitus (ringing of the ears).
The airbag chemicals may be inhaled, which could lead to inhalational chemical pneumonitis (chemical pneumonia) or trigger asthma.
Chest and Heart
The airbag’s deployment can result in sternal fractures, or injuries to the chest and the thoracic area of the body. Often, these injuries are not immediately visible to medical experts, thus a car injury patient will need to undergo a series of tests.
There are rare instances, however, when airbags’ sensors fail and deploy even when there is no collision. Though car manufacturers have safety measures ensured, airbag deployment remains a critical risk for a mandatory safety feature.
Preventing Airbag Injuries
A seatbelt can help lessen the impact of an airbag injury. According to reports, 80% of airbag-related injuries and death occur because the victims of the car collision did not wear seatbelts.
Children under the age of 12 should be riding at the backseat at all times. Younger children must also be strapped to a proper car seat in the back. The driver and the passenger seat must be 10 inches away from the dashboard at all times as well.
About Dr. Zaydon’s services – facial scars removal, Miami
Dr. Zaydon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. He is also a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. Dr. Zaydon serves as an expert witness on liability cases around the country. He has reviewed many cases and has served as an expert witness for both plaintiff and defendant.
Dr. Zaydon offers several ways to remove a scar so your options are not limited. For inquiries, Contact Us.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.