When used in conjunction with seat belts, airbags keep motorists safe. In fact, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that airbags have saved nearly 50,000 lives in the last five years alone.
Even though your car’s airbag may keep you from dying in a serious car accident, it may also leave you with some life-altering injuries. Here are four common ones:
1. Facial lacerations
When an airbag deploys, it generates considerable forces. If your head hits the airbag, you may sustain deep lacerations to your head, neck or upper torso. These lacerations may result in significant blood loss. Even if you manage to escape a life-threatening injury, a facial laceration may turn into an unsightly scar. This, of course, may cause you emotional or psychological harm.
2. Traumatic brain injuries
Even though airbags are considerably softer than steering wheels and dashboards, they can feel rock hard when inflated. If your head smashes into the airbag, you may develop a concussion or another traumatic brain injury. With a severe TBI, you may experience memory loss, confusion, dizziness and other problems.
3. Hearing loss
To keep you safe, an airbag must go from a compressed state to fully inflated in a fraction of a second. When deploying, many airbags make an explosive sound. This high-decibel sound may damage the tiny hairs inside your ear. It may also cause an injury to your eardrum. Likewise, if your ear collides with an inflated airbag, you may injure your outer ear. Regrettably, many ear injuries have the potential to cause permanent hearing loss.
The chemical compounds many airbags use in the deployment process may cause burns to your skin, eyes, throat and lungs. While burns may be both minor and treatable, they can also lead to a lifetime of complications, such as vision loss or asthma.
If you sustain an airbag-related burn or another injury, your life may never be the same again. Therefore, following any airbag deployment, it is essential to seek a medical examination to be certain you have not suffered a serious injury.