Upper Extremity Fractures in Restrained Children Exposed to Passenger Airbags 2003-01-0507
Restrained children between the ages of 3 to 15 years in crashes were identified in an on-going crash surveillance system (1998-2002) which links insurance claims data to telephone survey and crash investigation data. The risk of upper extremity injury associated with airbag deployment was estimated and a series of cases was examined using in-depth crash investigation to identify the mechanisms of these injuries. This study found that 3.5% of children who were exposed to a passenger airbag (PAB) received an upper extremity fracture, making them 2.5 times as likely to sustain an upper extremity fracture than children in similar crashes who were not exposed to a PAB. Female children were 2.2 times as likely to receive an isolated upper extremity fracture when exposed to a PAB than male children. The incidence rate, gender difference, and injury mechanism in children all appear to be similar to those of adults. Understanding the circumstances around which these injuries occur is helpful as new PAB designs incorporate suppression or low risk deployment for child passengers.