1994-03-01

Upper Extremity Injuries Related to Air Bag Deployments 940716

From our crash investigations of air bag equipped passenger cars, a subset of upper extremity injuries are presented that are related to air bag deployments. Minor hand, wrist or forearm injuries-contusions, abrasions, and sprains are not uncommonly reported. Infrequently, hand fractures have been sustained and, in isolated cases, fractures of the forearm bones or of the thumb and/or adjacent hand. The close proximity of the forearm or hand to the air bag module door is related to most of the fractures identified. Steering wheel air bag deployments can fling the hand-forearm into the instrument panel, rearview mirror or windshield as indicated by contact scuffs or tissue debris or the star burst (spider web) pattern of windshield breakage in front of the steering wheel.

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