Airbags are designed and placed in cars in order to protect you during a collision, and they save many lives every day and prevent even more injuries. However, in some cases, airbags themselves can cause injuries, either as a part of protecting you during a crash or as a result of a malfunction or improper installation of an airbag. Just because your airbag is deployed doesn’t mean you aren’t at risk of injuries that require you to see a car accident and whiplash chiropractor. Read on to understand how airbags work and what injuries they may cause.
How Do Airbags Work?
Airbags are placed strategically throughout your vehicle to ensure they offer unique protection to people in each seat. Front airbags are located in the steering wheel hub, with passenger-side airbags in the dashboard. The latter are slightly larger to make up for the greater distance. Newer vehicles also have airbags in the side panels of the car to protect you from impact during a rollover and potentially lessen your risk of car accident injuries. Some cars also have airbags that can deploy in the rear seats, though they are often less powerful.
The rapid deceleration that occurs in an accident is what triggers the front airbags to deploy. Nitrogen gas is produced and allows for inflation at speeds of roughly 300km/hour, meant to protect your head and chest in high-speed collisions. Seatbelts usually protect you in a low-speed crash, which is why it’s okay when front airbags don’t deploy in rear-end collisions or side-impact accidents often. The airbag provides a barrier between you and the hard dashboard or steering wheel, avoiding severe injury in many cases.
Common Injuries Caused By Airbags
Airbags can cause a range of injuries depending on the speed, angle, and type of crash. A lack of seatbelt can also cause more severe injuries as a result of the airbag deploying. Below are some of the most common injuries that are seen by accident and whiplash chiropractors.
- Facial injuries such as fractures to small bones or bruising as a result of the airbag’s impact.
- Chest injuries, including heart injuries in some cases, from the impact of the airbag on the chest.
- Injuries to the back and chest, either from the impact of the airbag itself or the spine being jolted during impact.
- Burns to the chest, hands, arms, or face because of the fabric moving against the skin.
- Fractures to the skull, rib cage, and wrist.
- Traumatic brain injuries such as concussions, brain swelling or bruising, and loss of consciousness.
- Asthma attacks and throat irritations as a result of the chemicals that release
- Eye injuries from either the pressure of the airbag or the chemical irritants.
- Ear trauma and hearing loss.
- Internal bleeding after organs are damaged by the airbag deployment.
- Fetal injury in pregnant women.
Preventing Airbag Injuries
Just like wearing your seatbelt helps protect you from severe injuries, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of airbag injury. Some precautions you can take include:
- Always wear your seatbelt for extra protection.
- Children under 12 years of age should always be in the backseat.
- Front seats should be at least 10” away from the front dashboard of your vehicle.
- Check for any airbag recalls on your car’s make and model.
- Make sure you are using the correct car seat for your child’s age, height, and weight.
- Children should always be properly secured and in the proper seated position.
- Do not place your arms across the steering wheel.
- Tilt your steering wheel slightly downward toward your chest, not towards your neck and head.
- Position both front seats as far as possible from the dashboard as is comfortable.
- Never install rear-facing car seats in the passenger seat.
Treating Injuries from Airbags
If you’ve been in an accident where airbags deployed, do not assume you haven’t suffered any injuries, even if none are visible. At AICA Snellville, our whiplash chiropractors and other specialists will be able to fully evaluate you after your car accident for signs of injuries as a result of the airbags in your car. We will then create a treatment plan that is designed to meet your specific recovery needs, offering access to not only chiropractors, but neurologists, orthopedists, physical therapists, and more specialists. Contact us today to ensure you haven’t suffered any severe airbag injuries and begin your proper treatment after an accident.