Browse Publications Technical Papers 2003-01-0513
2003-03-03

Incidence of Severe Upper Extremity Injuries and Minor Skin Injuries In Frontal Automobile Crashes 2003-01-0513

The purpose of this study was to investigate severe upper extremity injuries and minor skin injuries resulting from frontal automobile crashes and to determine the effects of frontal airbags. The National Automotive Sampling System database files from 1993 to 2000 were examined in a study that included 25,464 individual cases that occurred in the United States. An analysis of the cases indicated that occupants exposed to an airbag deployment were statistically more likely to sustain a severe upper extremity injury (2.7%), than those occupants not exposed to an airbag deployment (1.6%) (p=0.01). In particular, 0.7% of occupants exposed to an airbag deployment sustained a severe upper extremity injury specifically from the airbag. In addition, when in crashes with an airbag deployment, older occupants were at a higher risk for severe upper extremity injury, as well as occupants in crashes with higher changes in velocity. A further analysis of the cases indicated that occupants exposed to an airbag deployment sustained a minor skin injury nearly twice as often (59.9%) as those occupants not exposed to an airbag deployment (35.9%). Using the chi square test of independence for survey data, seatbelt use (p=0.46), and seat position (p=0.10) were found not to be statistically significant in predicting risk of airbag induced skin injuries; however, occupant sex was a significant indicator of risk, with females being more likely to sustain an airbag induced skin injury than males (p=0.01).

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