Author
Abstract
OBJECTIVE: To assess the incidence of breathing difficulty and tinnitus in children involved in motor vehicle crashes with and without passenger airbag (PAB) deployment, and its relationship to seating position and to whether the airbag deployed was first versus second-generation.

METHODS: We studied motor vehicle crashes with child passengers, over a 3-year period, in three large regions of the United States, by means of telephone interviews with the driver/parent. The crashes were classified into those with and without a PAB deployment. Complete data were collected on 7383 children in 4817 crashes, who, because of the sample design of the study, represent an estimated 120,987 children in 83,267 crashes.

RESULTS: Among children involved in crashes with PAB deployment, 6.6% complained of breathing difficulty versus 1.4% without airbag deployment (OR 5.2, 95% CI 3.3-8.2). The corresponding figures for tinnitus were 5.0% versus 0.7% (OR 7.4, 95% CI 4.0-13.7). Analysis of data for children exposed to PABs indicated that 14.1% of children in the front seat versus 1.1% in the rear complained of tinnitus (OR 14.4, 95% CI 5.9-34.7). Seating row did not significantly affect the incidence of breathing difficulty. The type of airbag deployed did not significantly affect the incidence of breathing difficulty or of tinnitus.

CONCLUSION: Breathing difficulty and tinnitus were much more common among children in crashes with PAB deployment as against those without PAB deployment. Among children in crashes with PAB deployment, tinnitus was about 14 times more likely for those sitting in the front versus rear seat. The incidence of breathing difficulty was not affected significantly by seating row. Introduction of second-generation airbags has not affected the incidence of breathing difficulty or of tinnitus.
Year of Publication
2007
Journal
Accid Anal Prev
Volume
39
Issue
3
Number of Pages
624-8
Date Published
2007 May
ISSN Number
0001-4575
DOI
10.1016/j.aap.2006.10.005
Alternate Journal
Accid Anal Prev
PMID
17098204