Study objective: To describe injuries associated with deployment of air bag passive-restraint systems in use in the United States.
Design: Retrospective review of data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) from 1980 to 1994.
Participants: Occupants of air bag-equipped vehicles who were involved in crashes on US roads.
Results: Of 618 reported occupant injuries related to air bag deployment, an overwhelming majority were classified as minor (96.1%). Most occupants sustained abrasions, contusions, and lacerations. The face (42.0%), wrist (16.8%), forearm (16.3%) and chest (9.6%) were the most frequently injured body areas.
Conclusion: Most injuries related to air bag deployment are minor and must be viewed in the context of the potentially life-threatening injuries they prevent.