This paper discusses steps for identifying, evaluating and recommending a quantifiable design metric or metrics for Side Airbag (SAB) development. Three functionally related and desirable attributes of a SAB are assumed at the onset, namely, effective SAB coverage, load distribution and efficient energy management at a controlled force level. The third attribute however contradicts the “banana shaped” force-displacement response that characterizes the ineffective energy management reality of most production SAB. In this study, an estimated ATD to SAB interaction energy is used to size and recommend desired force-deformation characteristic of a robust energy management SAB. The study was conducted in the following three phases and corresponding objectives: Phase 1 is a SAB assessment metric identification and estimation, using a uniform block attached to a horizontal impact machine.Phase 2 uses a CAE correlated horizontal impactor and an anthropomorphic test device (ATD) to verify and validate the test tool and methodology that were used in phase 1.The third phase uses simulated pole and barrier, in sled CAE models to assess the relevance of the identified SAB metric or metrics in terms of ATD responses.After good SAB to ATD coverage is achieved, results from this study show that the force-deformation response of the SAB is crucial for an effective and overall ATD energy management that enhances robust ATD response. Therefore the study establishes force-deformation response (F-D) and energy management (EA) as significant design metrics that will be used to size and sort different SAB designs. The ability to size a SAB at the component level will invariably greatly reduce SAB development time and overall development cost. The suggested SAB response characteristics are assessed, using CAE for the oblique pole sled and IIHS-DSI sled test simulations. Results from these assessment simulations and the desirable identified SAB attributes are presented and discussed in this paper.