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Dr. Antjuan MitchellSep 15, 2023 9:53:25 AM6 min read

Understanding Injuries Caused by Airbag Deployment: What You Need to Know

Understanding Injuries Caused by Airbag Deployment: What You Need to Know

Key Takeaways:

  1. Airbag Dual Nature: While airbags are designed to protect and save lives during vehicular accidents, they can also be a source of injuries, ranging from minor bruises to more severe traumas.

  2. Knowledge is Power: Staying informed about the potential risks and recognizing the symptoms of airbag injuries can make a significant difference in timely intervention and recovery.

  3. Prioritize Health: If there's any suspicion of an injury post-accident, it's essential to act promptly. Seeking professional guidance, like a consultation with Arrowhead Clinic, ensures you're on the right path to recovery.

Airbags, a vital safety feature in modern passenger vehicles, have undoubtedly saved countless lives during accidents. However, many often wonder, "do airbags cause injuries?"

The answer is multifaceted. While airbags are designed to protect, their deployment can sometimes result in injuries, revealing their dual nature: a life-saver with potential risks.

In this article, we'll delve deeper into the complexities of airbag-related injuries, offering insights and guidance for those concerned about their effects.

Table of Contents

How Do Airbags Work?

Common Airbag Injuries During a Car Accident

How Do Airbags Work?

Symptoms of Airbag Deployment Injuries

What Can Go Wrong When an Airbag Deploys?

Why Might an Airbag NOT Deploy in an Accident?

How Can You Protect Yourself Against Airbag Injuries?

The Role of Chiropractic Care in Airbag-Related Injuries

Wrapping It Up: Injuries Caused By Airbags


How Do Airbags Work?

Airbags operate through a precise sequence of events designed to cushion vehicle occupants during sudden impacts:

  1. Crash Sensors: These are strategically placed throughout the vehicle. When a sudden deceleration or impact is detected, these sensors send a signal indicating that a crash is occurring.
  2. Ignition: Upon receiving the signal, an igniter in the airbag inflator is activated, producing a gas.
  3. Inflation: This gas rapidly fills the airbag, causing it to inflate within milliseconds. The swift inflation ensures that the airbag is fully expanded when it makes contact with your body.
  4. Deflation: Almost immediately after inflation, the airbag deflates, absorbing the energy and cushioning the occupant.

Understanding this mechanism is crucial, as it highlights the delicate balance between rapid inflation for protection and the potential risks associated with such forceful expansion.

Common Airbag Injuries During a Car Accident

Airbag deployment, while crucial for safety, can lead to various accident injuries.

Here's a breakdown of the most common injuries caused by airbags:

  • Facial Injuries: The sudden impact of a frontal airbag can cause abrasions, lacerations, and even fractures or broken bones to the face. It's not uncommon for accident victims to experience bruising or swelling in the facial region.
  • Neck and Spine Injuries: The force of airbag deployment can lead to whiplash, where the neck is suddenly jerked back and forth. More severe cases might involve spinal fractures or other related traumas to the cervical spine, especially if you weren't wearing a seatbelt.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Soft tissues, like muscles, tendons, and ligaments, can sustain damage during an accident. The rapid inflation of the airbag can strain or tear these tissues, leading to pain and limited mobility and range of motion.
  • Chest Injuries: The chest and ribcage can bear the brunt of an airbag's force. This can result in bruising, broken ribs, or even internal injuries, especially if you're seated too close to the steering wheel.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries: While airbags aim to protect the head, there's still a risk of concussions or other brain injuries. Your head might be jolted violently or hit other parts of the vehicle, leading to potential trauma.

Understanding these common airbag injuries is crucial, especially if you've been in a car accident. Early detection and medical treatment can make a significant difference in recovery outcomes.

Symptoms of Airbag Deployment Injuries

After an accident, it's crucial to be vigilant about any changes in your physical well-being. Here are some symptoms of airbag deployment injuries to watch out for:

  • Facial Injuries: Redness, swelling, or abrasions on the face.
  • Eye Damage: Irritation, vision changes, or signs of eye injuries.
  • Soft Tissue Damage: Bruising, tenderness, or swelling in the affected areas.
  • Neck Injuries: Stiffness, pain, or limited range of motion, often indicative of whiplash.
  • Chest Injuries: Pain or discomfort, especially when breathing deeply.
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries: Dizziness, confusion, or persistent headaches.

It's also essential to monitor for delayed symptoms. Some airbag-related injury signs, like internal injuries, soft tissue injuries, or traumatic brain injuries might not manifest immediately.

If you experience any unusual discomfort or changes in your health post-accident, seeking medical attention is critical. Remember, early detection and treatment can prevent complications and aid a smoother recovery.


What Can Go Wrong When an Airbag Deploys?

Airbags are intricate devices, and like any technology, they're not immune to issues. One primary concern is manufacturing defects.

Faulty airbags, stemming from production oversights or material flaws, can compromise their effectiveness and safety.

Additionally, crash sensors are pivotal in determining when an airbag should be deployed. Malfunctioning sensors can lead to untimely deployment, even in minor collisions, or fail to activate the airbag in severe accidents.

Another risk arises from overly aggressive deployment. An airbag that inflates too rapidly can cause more harm than protection, leading to these common airbag injuries.

Everyone should know these potential pitfalls and ensure their vehicles are regularly checked for defects or sensor issues.


Why Might an Airbag NOT Deploy in an Accident?

Airbag deployment is a complex process influenced by various factors. One primary determinant is the crash sensor, which gauges the severity of an impact.

The sensor might deem airbag deployment unnecessary in minor collisions, especially those under certain miles per hour.

Additionally, manufacturing defects or faulty airbags can hinder their activation. You should also know that side or rear impacts might not always trigger frontal airbags.

Such situations pose risks, as passengers might not receive the protection they expect during an accident.

It's crucial to regularly inspect airbags and be informed about their intricacies to ensure optimal safety in motor vehicles.


How Can You Protect Yourself Against Airbag Injuries?

Protecting yourself from potential airbag injuries begins right in the driver's seat. Maintaining a proper seating posture is crucial.

Sit upright, ensuring there's a minimum distance of 10 inches between the chest and the steering wheel. This distance reduces the impact force during airbag deployment.

Additionally, always wear your seat belt. It will safeguard against ejection during a crash and position you optimally if the airbag deploys.

Using appropriate child safety measures is crucial for younger passengers. Children should always be seated in the rear seats, and those in rear-facing car seats must never be placed in the front passenger seat.

Taking these precautions can significantly reduce the risk of airbag-related injuries.


The Role of Chiropractic Care in Airbag-Related Injuries

Following an accident, immediate medical attention is crucial. While emergency care can address visible wounds and severe injuries, underlying issues, especially those related to the spine and soft tissue, might remain undetected.

This is where the benefits of chiropractic treatment come into play. Chiropractic adjustments target misalignments and tensions that can result from the force of airbag deployment, aiding in the recovery of neck, spine, and soft tissue injuries.

A holistic approach to healing often yields the best results. Combining chiropractic care with other treatments ensures a comprehensive healing process, addressing the apparent and hidden injuries after an accident.


Wrapping It Up: Injuries Caused By Airbags

While airbags are crucial in saving lives during accidents, they can also cause injuries.

Being well-informed about the potential risks and symptoms of airbag injuries is vital. Your health and well-being should always be a top priority.

You should act quickly if you suspect you've sustained injuries due to an airbag deployment. Schedule a free consultation with Arrowhead Clinic to ensure you receive the care and guidance you need in this trying time.


Dr. Antjuan Mitchell

Dr. Antjuan Mitchell is an experienced Chiropractic Doctor at our Albany Arrowhead Clinic. He graduated Magna Cum Laude as a Presidential Scholar in Accounting from Voorhees College in Denmark, South Carolina. He later received his Chiropractic degree from Sherman College, in Boiling Springs, South Carolina, in 2016. Dr. Mitchell has extensive experience in international mission trips to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, Cap-Haitian, Haiti, and Runaway Bay, Jamaica. He has a burning desire to aid people of underprivileged nations in addressing health care issues. While working abroad, Dr. Mitchell provided hands-on chiropractic therapy to over 2,500 people, while learning different techniques from other esteemed Chiropractors. Dr. Mitchell served as President of the Student American Black Chiropractor Association (SABCA). This student organization encourages and supports minority students to study Chiropractic and guides them to learn different holistic approaches to health care. Dr. Mitchell was also an active member of the Sherman College Tennis and Softball teams. Dr. Mitchell specializes in treating accident victims as well as chronic pain conditions. He utilizes manual and hands-on spinal adjustments and manipulations to help restore mobility and function to the body. A recent patient of Dr. Mitchell’s stated, “This is one of the best chiropractors I have ever been to. The staff there is very sweet. Just meeting Heather and Ja'Niyah and the staff made me feel like family. I will most definitely refer anyone to them, and let's not forget the coolest chiropractor Dr. Mitchell, and the NP. I am most definitely going to miss this team.”. Dr. Mitchell is available for same-day free consultations, Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.