Debunking Common Airbag Myths

Auto manufacturers include airbags in vehicles in order to protect the driver and passengers from harm during a crash. However, the safety of these devices has been under scrutiny for several decades. In fact, some people believe that the deployment of an airbag may actually increase the risk of injury, instead of protecting against it. To help clear the air, below are several debunked myths about airbags.

Myth #1: An airbag can suffocate you.

When an airbag activates, it remains inflated for only a few seconds, which isn't enough time to deprive you of oxygen. Furthermore, airbags are manufactured with pores that allow air to pass through even while the bag is inflated.

Myth #2: An airbag is a vehicle's most important safety feature.

Although an airbag can save a driver or passenger's life, the seat belt remains the most important safety feature in any vehicle. Airbags alone are not sufficient protection from harm during a crash.

Myth #3: Airbags are more likely to kill you than save you.

Airbags first began appearing in vehicles in 1991. According to the Chicago Tribune, these devices have been responsible for saving more than 1,800 lives since that time. Conversely, the Tribune reported that only 62 deaths can be attributed to airbags, and the majority of the individuals killed in these cases were not properly restrained with seat belts.

Myth #4: Airbags kill kids.

While it is true that some child deaths can be blamed on airbags, most of these deaths could be avoided. For example, airbag-related deaths often occur when a rear-facing child seat is placed in the path of an airbag, when a child is seated in the front seat, or when a child's seat belt isn't properly fastened.

Airbag Safety Tips

Airbags can help protect you from harm if you respect them and use them properly. To gain the most benefit from airbags, always wear your seat belt properly. To prevent airbag-related injuries in children, always put children in the back seat and make sure they are properly restrained. Never place a rear-facing child seat near an airbag's pathway. If a child must ride in the front seat of your vehicle, move the seat back as far as possible and tell the child not to lean forward at any time during the trip.