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What You Need to Know About Airbag Safety and Children

Mon, 06/29/2009

Airbags and seat belts save lives. But airbags can cause permanent injuries and even death from spinal cord and brain injuries. These injuries can happen to children or any other person short in statue that sits close to the steering wheel or dashboard.

Children riding in the front seat can be seriously injured or killed when an airbag comes out in a crash. Airbags explode with great force and are equivalent to the power of a 12 gauge shotgun shell. Even when belted, it can kill or permanently injure those close to it.

It is important to realize that the energy in a collision increases by the square of the speed. For example, a car that crashes into a wall at 60 mph has FOUR times the energy of a car that crashes into a wall at 30 mph. If you double the speed of a car, from 30 mph to 60 mph, the energy released is squared (900 versus 3600).

Seatbelts and airbags are designed to work together and they perform most safely the greater the distance from passenger to dashboard or steering wheel. Follow these rules to minimize injuries in car:

  • Children 12 and under and adults short in statue, should ride restrained in the rear seat.
  • Infants should never ride in the front seat of a vehicle with a passenger side airbag.
  • Small children should ride in the rear seat in child safety seats approved for their age and size.
  • The safest position for a child safety seat is in the middle of the back seat.
  • Everyone should always use both lap and shoulder belts.
  • Drivers should sit back as far as possible from the steering wheel. Never closer than 10 inches from the center of the steering wheel to the breastbone.
  • Increase the distance from the steering wheel to increase the margin of safety in a crash and the risk of injury from both the collision and an airbag.
  • Buckle up and slide the seat back as far as possible to allow safe operation.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call the Law Firm of McWhirter, Bellinger & Associates, P.A. at 1-888-353-5513 for a free consultation.