Journal Article

Association of First- and Second-Generation Air Bags with Front Occupant Death in Car Crashes: A Matched Cohort Study

Carin M. Olson, Peter Cummings and Frederick P. Rivara

in American Journal of Epidemiology

Published on behalf of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Volume 164, issue 2, pages 161-169
Published in print July 2006 | ISSN: 0002-9262
Published online June 2006 | e-ISSN: 1476-6256 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwj167
Association of First- and Second-Generation Air Bags with Front Occupant Death in Car Crashes: A Matched Cohort Study

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First-generation air bags entail a decreased risk of death for most front seat occupants in car crashes but an increased risk for children. Second-generation air bags were developed to reduce the risks for children, despite the possibility of decreasing protection for others. Using a matched cohort design, the authors estimated risk ratios for death for use of each generation of air bag versus no air bag, adjusted for seat position, restraint use, sex, age, and all vehicle and crash characteristics, among 128,208 automobile occupants involved in fatal crashes on US roadways during 1990–2002. The authors then compared adjusted risk ratios (aRRs) between the two generations of air bags. Among front seat occupants, the aRR for death with a first-generation air bag was 0.90 (95% confidence interval (CI): 0.86, 0.94); the aRR with a second-generation air bag was 0.89 (95% CI: 0.79, 1.00) (p = 0.83 for comparison of aRRs). Among children under age 6 years, the aRR with a first-generation air bag was 1.66 (95% CI: 1.20, 2.30), while the aRR with a second-generation air bag was 1.10 (95% CI: 0.63, 1.93) (p = 0.20 for comparison of aRRs). The differences in aRRs between first- and second-generation air bags among other subgroups were small and not statistically significant.

Keywords: accidents, traffic; air bags; automobiles; motor vehicles; protective devices; CI, confidence interval; FARS, Fatality Analysis Reporting System

Journal Article.  5485 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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