To estimate the risk of serious nonfatal injuries in frontal crashes among belted children seated in the right front seat of vehicles in which second-generation passenger air bags deployed compared with that of belted children seated in the right front seat of vehicles in which first-generation passenger air bags deployed.
Design and Setting
We enrolled a probability sample of 1781 seat belt–restrained occupants aged 3 through 15 years seated in the right front seat, exposed to deployed passenger air bags in frontal crashes involving insured vehicles in 3 large US regions, between December 1, 1998, and November 30, 2002. A telephone interview was conducted with the driver of the vehicle using a previously validated instrument. The study sample was weighted according to each subject’s probability of selection, with analyses conducted on the weighted sample.
Main Outcome Measure
Risk of serious injury (Abbreviated Injury Scale score of ≥2 injuries and facial lacerations).
The risk of serious injury for restrained children in the right front seat exposed to deployed second-generation passenger air bags was 9.9%, compared with 14.9% for similar children exposed to deployed first-generation passenger air bags (adjusted odds ratio, 0.59; 95% confidence interval, 0.36-0.97).
This study provides evidence based on field data that the risk of injury to children exposed to deploying second-generation passenger air bags is reduced compared with earlier designs.