Airbags save lives, but can cause serious injuries

By Lori Lyle - bio | email
Posted By Mike Dever - email

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Most vehicles now come equipped with air bags designed to save our lives, but surprisingly they also send people to the hospital with serious injuries. From broken wrists and arms, to amputations and lacerations. Drivers with air-bag equipped vehicles should take a few precautions.

Donna Demaree survived a serious car crash but she has plenty to remind her it, including two metal rods to hold bones in place and 27 compound fractures.

Her injuries weren't caused by the crash itself, but by the airbag when it deployed.

Despite warnings posted in vehicles, sometimes people forget just how dangerous an airbag can be. So it's important to sit far back from the wheel, and experts say if you know you're going to crash, try not to sound the horn because that's where the airbag is located and it could seriously injure you when it deploys - sometimes up to 200 miles an hour - sending drivers and passengers to emergency rooms.

Dr. Bill Smock sees a lot of hand and arm injuries because of how people were positioned at impact - probably at least one a month.

And these can be devastating life changing injuries but they're not documented unless it's  life threatening. People have no idea they can lose their thumb or their hand. It's certainly not on the airbag warning label and it's not in owner's manual.

In 2000, SMOCK lobbied NITSA to make a warning label change, it didn't happen. So University Hospital and Louisville metro made its own label that said "never place hands arms or feet on the module cover"  There have been two cases of decapitations from the airbag in young children.  It's an educational battle the best thing to do is to get the information out, these injuries can be prevented.

Always Remember the best way to stay safe is, don't blow the horn during a collision, never put a child in the front passenger seat, and keep your feet on the floorboard.

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