ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Airbags - Making Sure they Save and Don't Take a Life

Updated on October 23, 2011

Deployed Airbags

Deployed Airbags
Deployed Airbags

The Purpose of Airbags


Almost all new cars are equipped with air bags designed to provide the driver and other occupants’ supplemental protection in frontal crashes. This protection can only be supplemental to the safety provided by seat belts and it must be emphasized that air bags are not meant to replace safety belts. They are designed to provide a cushion between the occupant and the dashboard, steering wheel, windshield and other surfaces in frontal crashes and in so doing should limit neck, chest and head injuries. In most circumstances they will provide the occupants with a much better chance of surviving frontal crashes and reduce the risk of suffering serious crash injuries.

Despite the fact that airbags boast a good overall safety record and have saved many lives the public must be made aware of the risks posed by airbags.

Source

Airbags are Not Designed for Children

Most parents claim to always act in the best interests of their children, and most of us do. We take care to ensure that our young ones are kept out of harm’s way in and around the house. We fence in our swimming pools, keep firearms and hazardous substances out of their reach and generally ensure that our homes are a safe environment.

Why then do so many parents fail to take the same measure of precautions when their children travel in motor vehicles? Statistics show that a large percentage of children travel unrestrained.

If a child travelling in the front sea of a vehicle is incorrectly restrained, is too small for the seat belt to fit properly, or worse yet is completely unrestrained there is a very real danger that at the moment that the airbag inflates the child may be too close to the airbag and the impact of the airbag could cause serious, if not fatal injuries. Any unrestrained person, and even more so children, can be forcefully moved too close to the dashboard as a result of swerving and pre-crash braking.

Air bags are designed to provide protection to an average-sized adult by cushioning the head as it moves sideways or forward immediately after impact. Airbags are designed to deploy within five-tenths of a second after impact providing a cushion barrier between the occupant and any solid point of contact that could cause serious harm. The speeds at which airbags are deployed vary between 225 and 320 kilometers per hour which means that if the occupant is too close to the dashboard a minor 10mph crash can result in a 140mph head impact with the airbag.


Source

Children Under 12 Years Should Travel in the Rear of a Motor Vehicle

Forward-facing convertible safety seats that are generally used for toddlers should never be placed on front seats as they place the child closer to the dashboard than the normal adult seating position. In other words, closer than a safe distance from a deploying airbag.

Rear-facing safety seats should never be used in the front seat of a vehicle and particularly in vehicles with passenger side airbags. During a frontal crash the deploying airbag could strike the safety seat which such force so as to cause death or serious injuries to the infant.

In most of the accidents where over 100 children have been killed by deployed airbags the children were riding in the front seat, either unrestrained or without wearing the shoulder portion of the safety belt or seated in a rear-facing child safety seat.

Children and Airbags

Safety Precautions with Airbags

The chances of sustaining injuries from the deployment of airbags will be greatly reduced if the front seats of the vehicle are positioned as far back as possible and the occupants not only fasten their seatbelts but ensure that they are properly adjusted to provide maximum restraint. The centre of the driver’s chest should be at least 25cm away from the steering wheel to allow sufficient space for the airbags to inflate.

Some vehicles offer the option of deactivating the passenger airbag when children are travelling in the front seat. Make sure that you do select this option in circumstances where it is unavoidable to transport a child on the front seat of your vehicle.

Source

Faulty Airbags

During 2011 an alarming number of vehicles have been recalled due to airbag faults.

  • · 190,000 2007-2009 Hyundai Elantra sedans were recalled when it came to the manufacturer’s attention that the weight-sensing system, which is meant to prevent the deployment of the passenger airbag when a small child was seated in the passenger seat, was at risk of becoming faulty and causing the passenger airbag to deploy regardless of the weight of the passenger. Approximately 96,000 of these vehicles also required adjustments to the airbag system which could cause the driver’s side airbag to deploy when the driver’s seat was positioned in a particular way.
  • · Almost 400,000 2002 – 2003 Jeep Liberty SUV’s were recalled after several instances where airbags were deployed without any impact occurring. The unexpected inflation of the airbags poses a danger of severe injuries and an increase risk of collisions.
  • · 300,000 Chrysler Town & Country minivans were recalled in early August 2011 over the same type of problem when airbags were reported to have opened without cause. A failure in an air-conditioning drainage hose could cause moisture on the airbag control unit resulting in untimely deployment of airbags.
  • · Around 1.2million 2005-2006 Ford F150 pickups were recalled when it was found that a fault in the wiring inside the steering wheel was causing airbags to open for no apparent reason.
  • · Honda recalled 833,000 vehicles for airbag problems which cause the airbags to open with such force that the metal parts of the airbag assembly could blast through the airbag and cause serious injuries to the occupants. The vehicles at risk are those that had been refitted with airbags after an accident or repairs. This recall affects 2001 and 2002 Honda Accords and Civics, 2002 Honda Odyssey minivans, 2002 and 2003 CR-V compact SUVs, 2002 and 2003 Acura 3.2 TLs and 2003 Acura 3.2 CL models

Airbags of the Future

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 

      5 years ago from Dehra Dun, India

      Laura, it is a very useful information. There is a need of effective airbags in view of the speed with which we move and the number of accidents taking place on the roadside. It is true that safety of the children is equally important and any future designing of air bags has to consider this need seriously. Thanks for sharing this great information. Voted up and shared.

    • pftsusan profile image

      pftsusan 

      7 years ago from Eatontown

      Thank you for sharing Laura. There are some important things in there about kids and that I didn't know before and they are important. Thanks for sharing. Voted it up.

    • Paradise7 profile image

      Paradise7 

      7 years ago from Upstate New York

      VEry interesting and informative. A good warning for the safety-minded folk out here with kids, especially.

    • Laura du Toit profile imageAUTHOR

      Laura du Toit 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Thanks for dropping by Green Lotus. I would think that the front center airbag would be an additional safety feature and not meant to replace the dashboard airbag. The new innovation is designed to provide protection in the case of side impact crashes whereas the dashboard airbags provide protection in frontal crashes.

    • Green Lotus profile image

      Hillary 

      7 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Great information here Laura! I know airbags are lifesavers, but being a petite woman I'm still a bit wary of those in- your-face balloons with the power to break your nose. I really like the new "front center airbag"! I wonder if it will replace the dashboard bag?

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)