Airbags and Their Possible Dangers



Injuries caused by your Airbag

Air bags are designed to deploy in moderate or severe crashes. Over my 21 years of treating car accidents victims I have seen the damage an air bag can cause my patients. These moderate/severe crashes are defined in the following manner, by hitting a fixed barrier at 8-14 mph and or striking a parked car of equal size to the barrier at 16 to 28 mph. Air bags are intended to deploy to provide a cushion and prevent major injuries that would result from the driver or passenger hitting the dashboard at full force or being struck by a part of the car that intrudes enters the cabin as a result of the force from a car crash.

According to The National Institute for Highway Safety, estimates that as of 2013, 39,886 lives have been saved by frontal airbags. In frontal crashes, frontal airbags reduce driver fatalities by 29 % and fatalities of front-seat passengers age 13 and older by 30%. The fatality reduction in frontal crashes is larger for belted drivers (52percent) compared to unbelted drivers (21%). NHTSA estimates that the combination of an airbag plus a lap and shoulder belt reduces the risk of death by 51%, compared with a 45% reduction for belts alone in frontal crashes. “Although airbags save lives and reduce risks of major injuries, they are not entirely safe.

Airbags are known to cause injuries. In some brands, deployed airbags have had loose metal fragments that pierced through the airbags and injured the drivers. No matter how advanced airbag technology is, there is still risk for injury; whether due to a company’s negligence in the producing of poor quality airbags or the nature of the crash and impact with airbag.

To understand potential injuries, it is important to understand airbags work based off of sensors that detect trigger upon a sensed impact at a certain speed. This is important because one of the more common reasons airbag injuries occur is because of sensor malfunctions and airbag does not deploy. This can lead to major head, neck, and upper back injuries that may include cuts, fractures, broken bones or brain trauma. The severity of the injury depends on the speed and nature of the accident.

There are some minor injuries that airbags can cause two. These include abrasions or burns, and the locals released when it deploys can induce asthma attacks. Airbags have also been known to cause eye injuries, sometimes severe if the bag hit someone in the eye.


Air Bag Injuries

Unfortunately, airbags cannot always prevent death or result in minor injury. If someone is leaning very close or against the steering wheel or dashboard at the moment that the airbag deploys the force of the deployment could cause serious injury and even death. The recommended distance driver stay away from the steering wheel by the National Highway traffic safety administration is at least 10 inches. Listed below is a more comprehensive list of possible airbag injuries. The type and severity depends on several factors including speed, closest to their big, and nature of the collision:

  • Abrasions to the face, chest or upper extremities
  • Contusion of the face, chest, upper extremities, knees or internal organs
  • Strain, fracture or blunt trauma to the cervical spine
  • Burns on the chest, upper extremities her hands
  • Fracture or break in the face, upper extremities her wrists
  • Fracture in the skull or rib cage
  • Loss of consciousness or concussion injury
  • Laceration to the veins, arteries, heart. Lungs or brain stem
  • Laceration to the liver or spleen
  • Compression of the brain or traumatic brain injury TBI
  • Rupture inside the heart muscle
  • Eye injury such as rupture to the globe, retinal tear, corneal abrasion
  • Hearing loss or ear trauma
  • Trauma to the fetus of a pregnant woman or puncture in the placenta
  • Internal bleeding
  • Wrist trauma and sprained fingers
  • Irritation in the throat, asthma attack or coughing
  • Irritation of the skin, also called airbag dermatitis


Airbags are great safety addition to automobiles and can reduce the possibility of severe injuries and death. However, they can also malfunction, causing injury. Although the human body is amazing, it was not designed to withstand the impact of an automobile collision at any speed, so is important to keep a safe distance from the steering column and ensure the airbag is not under a recall and has a working sensor. This ensures that the minimum the airbag is in the best condition to protect and not injure.


We at Soli Chiropractic are experienced in the treatment of car crashes. If you or a loved one have been involved in a Twin Cities accident please feel free to reach us at:    OR Call:  763-560-0750