Reducing risks to children in vehicles with passenger airbags.

J. D. Graham, S. J. Goldie, M. Segui-Gomez, K. M. Thompson, T. Nelson, R. Glass, A. Simpson, L. G. Woerner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


This review examines the risk that passenger airbags pose for children and discusses behavioral and technologic measures aimed at protecting children from airbag deployment. Although airbags reduce fatal crash injuries among adult drivers and passengers, this safety technology increases mortality risk among children younger than age 12. The magnitude of the risk is multiplied when children are unrestrained or restrained improperly. As new vehicles are resold to buyers who tend to be less safety-conscious than new car owners, the number of children endangered by passenger airbag deployment may increase. For vehicles already in the fleet, strong measures are required to secure children in the rear seat and increase the proper use of appropriate restraint systems through police enforcement of laws. One promising strategy is to amend child passenger safety laws to require that parents secure children in the rear seats. For future vehicles, a mandatory performance standard should be adopted that suppresses airbag deployment automatically if a child is located in the front passenger seat. Other promising improvements in airbag design also are discussed. Major changes in passenger airbag design must be evaluated in a broad analytical framework that considers the welfare of adults as well as children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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