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How dangerous are airbags?
I know for the most part airbags are supposed to lessen injuries but they also say you're supposed to sit as far away from them as possible. For shorter people who have to sit the closest or second closest setting from the wheel is there more danger from an airbag? Have any studies been done with this kind of circumstance? Additional Details Why would it matter what age someone is? Shouldn't it just matter how big they are? I know 10 year olds that are bigger than 15 year olds.
Anyone on top of or very close to a frontal airbag as it begins to inflate may be injured.
Most deaths caused by frontal airbags involve people who were unbelted or improperly belted; about 62 percent were children.
Unbelted occupants, especially passengers, are likely to move forward if there is hard braking or other violent maneuvers before a frontal crash.
These occupants can end up on top of, or extremely close to, their airbags as they begin to inflate.
Short and elderly drivers can be especially vulnerable to inflation injuries from frontal airbags because they tend to sit close to the steering wheel. Infants in rear facing restraints are at a very high risk, because the infants' heads are close to the deploying airbag.
It is recommended that drivers sit with their chests at least 10 inches away from the center of the steering wheel.
Many of the newer airbags take into account seating position and deploy with less force if an occupant is sitting close.
However, for drivers of older vehicles who cannot get far enough away from the steering wheel, pedal extenders might be a consideration.
The safety issue is mainly because airbags in the US are more 'powerful' than in Europe and elsewhere, because they are based on the assumption that seatbelts may not be worn. The Euro/Asia bags are termed 'SRS' or Supplementary Restraint Systems and are designed to be used with seatbelts.
The greatest risk to users in the US is to children.
Airbags can be dangerous in two ways - (1) to children under 12 and small adults who sit too close to the steering wheel and (2) to front seat passengers that do not also buckle their seat belts.
Sitting too close to the steering wheel exposes one to more force of the expanding airbag - it is best to sit at a point where you can extend your arm, locking your elbow, and comfortably grasp the top of the wheel, while sitting so that your back is against the seat back.
Children under 12 should sit in the rear seat, properly restrained by a seat belt and/or in a child seat.
Airbags are designed to protect an individual who is sitting up, directly in front of the airbag. Sitting in a front seat without buckling up could cause a rider to be thrown to the side during a collision, out of the path of the expanding air bag and thus not protected by it.
You will find a very complete answer to your question at: http://www.nhtsa.dot.gov/PEOPLE/outreach/safesobr/12qp/airbag.html.