Most Common Airbag Injuries

Apr 23, 2021

Most-Common-Airbag-InjuriesAirbags are a lifesaving technology that are considered a standard safety measure in cars today, but in some cases, they can cause injury to a driver or passenger upon deployment. This is sometimes because of a defective product or design and sometimes just by chance in an accident. After all, they can deploy at up to 200 miles per hour, so you can imagine how that may require a trip to the whiplash chiropractor. However, there are ways to prevent serious injuries from occurring and to treat them when they do occur. Read on to understand common injuries and how to be as safe as possible.

How Do Airbags Work?

To understand how they can cause harm, it’s important to understand how an airbag is designed to work. They are made of a light fabric and inserted in various locations throughout the vehicle, including the steering wheel and behind the dashboard panel on the front passenger’s side. Some cars may also have airbags in the car doors to prepare for a side collision.

Crash sensors in your vehicle send a signal telling airbags to deploy when a significant collision is detected. This can include a head-on crash or one where your vehicle is going over 10 miles per hour. This sensor triggers a gas like argon or nitrogen to be released, filling up the airbag, forcing it to expand and deploy. This happens in about 1/20 of a second and the bag begins to deflate shortly after, which can release chemicals into the air.

The most common cause of airbag injuries is a defect in the airbag or crash sensor. This can occur for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • The sensor does not release the airbags when it should have
  • Airbags are deployed in a non-collision situation
  • Airbags are deployed too late in an accident
  • The sensor deploys only some airbags when a collision is detected

Types of Injuries Caused by Airbags

Even when they work as designed, airbags can cause harm in a variety of ways. Some common injuries are below, though others can occur.

Facial fractures: Airbags can hit a person’s face with significant force, enough to cause broken bones in the face. This can be painful, difficult to heal, or even cause disfigurement.

Brain injuries: Traumatic brain injury usually occurs when the head hits a hard surface during an accident, causing blunt force trauma. When an airbag hits the head, the same thing can occur which can cause headaches after an accident.

Fetal trauma or miscarriage: When a pregnant woman is in an accident and airbags deploy, there is added danger for the fetus. The force of the airbag can cause harm or even pregnancy loss.

Fractured ribs: If the chest is the area hit by an airbag, the delicate ribs can fracture. These injuries take months to heal and cannot be put in a cast like other broken bones.

Other common injuries include:

  • Abrasions to the upper portion of the body, commonly the neck or arms
  • Contusions to the arms, knees, chest, face, or even internal organs
  • Burns to the hands, arms, and chest
  • Sprained wrists and fingers
  • Cervical spine injuries, including whiplash
  • Lacerations to internal organs, including the liver and heart
  • Heart muscle rupture
  • Asthma attacks
  • Dermatitis, in which chemicals irritate the skin
  • Eye injuries
  • Hearing loss or ear trauma

Most of these injuries can be addressed by a whiplash chiropractor and healed with proper treatment, though any signs of internal damage or bleeding should be seen by an emergency provider.

Preventing Airbag Injuries

Just like any car accident injuries, the most important thing you can do to be safe from airbag injuries is to wear a seatbelt whenever you are in a vehicle. Seatbelts should also be worn properly, across the chest and the lap and not tucked under an arm or otherwise adjusted.

Children are particularly vulnerable to airbag injuries because of their fragile bones and smaller stature. Any child under 12 should ride in the back seat at all times, and children should always be in the proper car seat or booster seat. This is based on height and weight rather than age, so looking up the standards for your child’s size is critical.

For the driver, seats should be positioned at least 10 inches away from the airbag deployment area of your vehicle to leave enough room for deployment.

If you have suffered an airbag injury, visiting a whiplash chiropractor in Lithia Springs will be important to begin healing. At AICA Lithia Springs, our team of experts will be able to identify any common injuries and create a customized treatment plan for you.


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