Protect Your Children from Dangerous or Defective Airbags

Though airbags have been in vehicles for around 40 years, needless injuries still occur to drivers and passengers because of them. The most vulnerable to these “exploding balloons” designed to cushion passengers from harm weigh less than 100 pounds – many children and infants.

These very powerful protective devices are often placed so low that once they trigger, a child sitting in the front passenger seat could suffocate or be severely injured by the impact of an airbag that fully inflates in a millisecond. The force it exerts can be as high as 2,000 pounds per-square inch. Violently inflating airbags can seriously harm children within a zone extending horizontally from the instrument panel toward the child or safety seat of as much as 18 to 24 inches.

This brutal “shock” delivers a massive blow to a young child, causing a variety of injuries, many of which can be permanently debilitating and even fatal – regardless of whether the child was wearing a seatbelt or was safely strapped into a protective car seat or booster. Airbag injuries can include:

  • Major Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
  • Internal bleeding
  • Eye injuries like retinal tears or detachment
  • Cervical/neck fractures, sprains or strains
  • Abrasions, lacerations and disfiguring impact burns
  • Fractures of the rib, sternum, skull, eye socket, nose, wrist, elbow, and/or fingers
  • Concussion/closed head injury with Post Concussion Syndrome
  • Lumbar/lower back sprains and strains
  • Herniated or protruding discs.

These dangers increase if the shoulder belt is not snug, if the seat belt has a slow response time before it locks up, or if the seat is adjusted forward. If there’s an infant in a rear-facing child safety seat, the airbag crashes into the protective device, sometimes shattering the plastic cradle, especially when it is in contact with the instrument panel. When this happens, the infant typically suffers massive – often fatal – head trauma.

This is why it is so important to have children in the front seat only when:

  • They are large enough to be safely restrained by lap and shoulder belts
  • They can properly occupy a booster seat
  • Their seat is adjusted as far back as it will go.

Infants and small children who weigh 60 lbs. or less should ride in the rear seat, buckled in a child safety seat which is securely belted to the car’s seat. And it’s important to take all of these precautionary steps: if you do not, that very fact could prevent you from a successful insurance claim or case in New York on behalf of your severely injured child who was harmed by an exploding air bag – even if it was defective.

Faulty Airbags and Recalls: The Numbers Continue to Mount

Even though they do save many lives, airbags still fail to perform properly. Some don’t deploy – fully or at all – in a crash. Or they inflate by mistake when there is no accident. This endangers all occupants. When sitting in the front seat, young children can be particularly vulnerable to faulty airbags, or can be hurt when an airbag properly deploys – even if it is safe for them to sit there under normal conditions.

One problem with defective airbags is the absence of systems that allow the driver to monitor them to make certain they are operating properly. A car owner is then completely unaware that their vehicle’s airbags are faulty until it’s too late. Then serious injuries or deaths are likely to occur.

Airbag recalls have been routine occurrences since the first ones went into GM cars in 1975. But in the past several years, the Takata airbag recall of staggering proportions has dominated news headlines. Vehicles affected in the United States stand at over 40 million and still counting. Almost every major manufacturer has been affected: Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, BMW, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota.

In these cases, the airbag unexplainably explodes, sending internal parts outward like shrapnel. Many individuals have been injured and several have died. Defective product lawsuits against Takata have grown exponentially as the recalls apply to more vehicles.

A Seasoned Injury Lawyer Protects Your Compensation Rights if You or your Children Were Injured by Faulty Airbags

Today’s regulations and technology have made airbags better, but not completely safe.  They do have better sensors, placement, and gradual-stage deployment. But airbag injuries still happen.  And the older your car, the greater the chances of its having an airbag that is either defective or deploys dangerously.

Airbags should protect, not harm, you and your children. If your family has suffered serious injuries from an airbag that was defective, or was improperly installed or serviced, contact our experienced injury legal team. We will thoroughly investigate and document your claims, manage the case and be your strongest advocate with defendant insurers and their lawyers to aggressively seek fair and full compensation for you. Reach out to the Johnson Law Firm online, or call us at 606-433-6802.