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The Potential Dangers Of Air Bags And Children

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487 words
Social Issues

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Air bags have become a requirement in all cars today. They are meant for protection in the front seat of a vehicle. When combined with safety belts, air bags have saved thousands of lives and prevented injuries in crashes, but this is mostly true for adults. Air bags are like medications and other public issues, they have unintended adverse effects. They have seriously injured and even killed children sitting in front seats at the time of a crash.
In a crash, the air bag inflates very quickly, hitting anything close to the dashboard (Airbags and Seat Belts). The resulting force can cause severe injuries or even death. Due to this result, a child is at risk when situated in the front seat of a car. This is especially true for young children in a rear'facing child seat. The back of this seat sits very close to the dashboard and will come into a deadly contact with the air bag in a crash.
Even older children who have outgrown child safety seats are at risk from a deploying air bag (Airbags and Seat Belts). If they are properly restrained by lap and shoulder belts, they still face the risk. Airbags could seriously injure or even kill an unbuckled child who is sitting too close to the air bag or who is thrown toward the dash during emergency braking or a crash.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified 86 crashes where the deployment of the passenger air bag resulted in fatal head or neck injuries to a child. Eighteen of these deaths were to infants in rear-facing child safety seats. Most of the other 68 children were determined to be completely unbuckled, or wearing only the lap portion of the safety belt at the time of the crash (Kids and Airbags).
To prevent these fatalities, NHTSA passed a rule in 1996 which requires vehicles with air bags to bear three new warning labels (Martinez-49 CFR...). There are two labels for the sun visor and there is one which is removable from the dashboard. With two labels on the sun visor, one will be visible no matter which position it is in. With the addition of these labels, NHTSA is looking to increase the number of people who read and understand the message of air bag safety concerning children.
Although these labels were a great help in preventing child fatalities, much more is needed and NHTSA is working hard at it. They are using media advisories and consumer information fact sheets to inform the public of this serious issue (Air Bag Alert). States and communities are working alongside NHTSA to increase child seat and safety belt use also. Yet the best advice offered is to simply keep children in the back seat.
There is no better way to insure safety from airbags in a car than keeping children away from the front seat. In cases ...

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