A new study warns that the explosive force of airbags pose a risk to children up to age 14 when seated in the front seat, according to a June 6 CNN/Money report and Scripps Howard News Service.
The study, which was produced by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, analyzed 3,790 accident reports that involved children ages 18 years and younger seated in the front seat.
The information came from a nationally representative database of police reports on crashes over an eight-year period maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency reports that more than 150 children through age 11 have died from air-bag injuries as of mid-2004, but information on teens has been sparse.
In contrast, airbags had a protective effect for teens aged 15-18. And the study showed that age may be a better indicator of risk from air-bag injury than height or weight.
Dr. Roger Lewis, a co-author of the study, told Scripps Howard that he believed that physical attributes of teenagers, such as a lack of bone density and muscle mass, may explain the risks that air bags pose to younger teens.