Do airbags really save lives or are the safety experts just full of hot air? The answer is an unequivocal yes. While they do present risks especially for young children, the new technology in the next-generation air bag saves lives.
When airbags first were mandated in 1996, the technology was in its infancy. Children and small adults could be killed from the force of the airbag if they were not wearing seat belts. Technology did not allow the force of the airbag to be controlled.
Originally, automakers fought the federal regulation, fearing airbags would cause injuries. Upon reviewing the statistics of airbag fatalities, regulators allowed for automakers to reduce the force in which the airbag was deployed. This would minimize risk to young children and small adults.
Smarter airbag systems became available in the early 2000's. These advanced airbags allow for the airbag to be deployed with less force, or not at all, depending on the circumstances. The sensor can detect the size of the person, and thus adjust the force accordingly.
The safest place for infants and young children is in the back seat. Injuries to children caused by airbags would be mostly avoidable if this was followed by parents. Injuries from an airbag can include broken bones, especially the wrist or arm, facial injuries, and neck injuries.
But they also prevent a lot of more severe injuries, such as hitting the dashboard or glass with your face, or being thrown from a vehicle if seat belts are not in use.
I personally am alive today partly because of the technology in our new car. From the severity of the crash, chances of survival would have been slim without them. Life can change in heartbeat, as in being involved in a collision. But I feel so much better knowing that I am doing what I can to be as safe as possible.
Julie Juillard is an amateur writer who writes about what she is passionate about.