Airbags were made in the mid-1970's, a time during which seatbelt use was greatly declining and traffic fatalities increasing as a result. They were thus originally marketed as an alternative to seatbelts rather than a supplementary safety aid as they are today. It was soon found, however, that the use of airbags without the accompaniment of a seatbelt could result in severe injury or even death. Since airbags have been coupled with seatbelts for safety, airbags have become an integral part to the safety system of just about any new car on the market.
Every year new types of airbags are added to vehicles. The first airbags only deflated from the steering wheel, today the many type of airbags include:
o Frontal airbags-these bags deploy from the steering wheel and now include "shaped" airbags.
o Passenger airbags-the first bags created to protect passengers as well deploy from the dash.
o Side airbags-it was soon found that while airbags were great for front or back collisions, there was no available protection for T-bone or side crashes.
o Side tubular or curtain airbag-protection for the head during a side collision.
o Knee airbag-this bag protects knees and legs and is located beneath the steering wheel.
o Rear Curtain airbag-provides a curtain shield to protect the heads of rear sitting passengers in the event of a rear end crash.
o Rear center airbag-this bag was developed to reduce injuries to rear passengers in a side collision.
Airbag Safety Tips
From 1990 to 2008, the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that more than 6,377 lived have been saved and countless injuries prevented thanks to airbags. But while airbags are undoubtedly invaluable lifesaving devices, improper use or faulty systems can result in injury or death. In the same period of time as the previous statistic, 175 fatalities were reported as a result of airbags. Of these fatalities, 104 were children.
To stay safe while riding in a vehicle with airbags, be sure to remember a few things.
o Drivers should allow at least 10 inches between their breastbone and center of the steering wheel.
o Always wear a seatbelt. Not doing so can result in severe injury if the airbag hits you at the wrong angle.
o Children 12 and under should always ride in a rear seat with age appropriate restraints or car seats.
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