A safety device intended to protect occupants of automobiles from injury in traffic crashes. It was developed as an alternative to seat belts, which some automobile drivers and passengers would not or could not tolerate. External impact and/or sudden deceleration releases and inflates the air bag, which softens the force of impact during a traffic crash. The explosive force of the rapidly inflating air bag can cause injury to small children, short adults, and pregnant women. Evaluation has demonstrated that seat belts provide a higher degree of protection from death and serious injury in traffic crashes, and use of both seat belts and air bags provides the highest degree of protection.
Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.