Global statistics support the overall benefit of air bags — when used properly. At the same time, however, the chiropractic community wants patients to be aware of certain dangers associated with air bags — specifically injuries that affect the musculoskeletal system. Dr. Smith urges patients to use these life-saving devices, but to do so safely.
While air bags save lives, they are no substitute for seat belts. The two safety devices were designed to work in tandem.
Research shows that buckling up is more important than airbags for overall safety. A massive study of all passenger-vehicle crashes in the United States from 1990 through 2000, which included 51,031 driver-passenger pairs in the same vehicle, found that “air bags reduced the risk of death by about eight percent, whereas seat belts reduced the risk of death by 65 percent.” (Br Med J 2002;324:1119.)
Tips for safe air-bag use:
- Sit no closer than ten inches away from the steering column.
- Wear a secure seat belt at all times.
- Position hands at “nine” and “three.”
- Don’t allow children less than four feet tall to ride in the front seat.
- Ban rear-facing infant or child seats in the front passenger side of a car with an air bag.
- Replace your deployed air bag with a factory model — not one from a salvage yard.
Anyone involved in a car accident — particularly children — should have a complete chiropractic evaluation. Dr. Smith understands the traumas associated with various accident scenarios and restraining devices. A complete checkup will not only address immediate concerns, but also reduce the likelihood of future complications.