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J Pediatr Surg. 2000 Feb;35(2):160-2; discussion 163.

Pediatric airbag injuries: the Ohio experience.

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  • 1Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.



We sought to determine if properly restrained children, less than 13 years of age, placed in the front passenger seat are at greater risk for trauma from airbag deployment than unrestrained children.


The charts of children treated at any of 3 regional pediatric trauma centers in Ohio were reviewed for airbag injuries sustained in motor vehicle crashes between January 1995 and September 1998. Injury Severity Scores (ISS) were compared with Mann-Whitney Rank Sum Test and outcome data with Fisher's Exact Tests. Statistical significance was set at P< or =.05.


Twenty-seven children aged 1 month to 12 years sustained airbag-related injuries. Sixty-one percent were girls. ISS ranged from 1 to 75 with a mean score (+/- SD) of 10 (14.5). All crashes were at reported speeds of less than 45 mph, and 64% were head-on collisions. No significant differences in the mean ISS (P = .074) occurred between groups. Both groups had similar closed head, ocular and facial injuries, extremity fractures, and number of deaths (P = 1.0). Abdominal organ injury was exclusive to the restrained group. Decapitation only occurred among unrestrained children.


Our data showed that airbags, with or without proper safety restraints, can lead to mortality or serious morbidity in children.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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