Reuters reports that second-generation air bags are less risky for children while still providing appropriate levels of safety for larger adults. The development is a vast improvement upon earlier generation air bags, which were developed to protect an average size male and could be lethal for smaller adults and children.
When cars were equipped with the second-generation air bag in 1998, critics voiced fears that making air bags safer for smaller people necessarily increased risks for larger people. However, data recently gathered in a University of Washington study shows these fears to be unfounded. The second-generation air bags, which deploy with less force and provide other advancements, provide just 10 percent higher risk of death in children over no air bag compared to 66 percent more risk with first-generation air bags.
The moral of the story? Kid-safer air bags aren't offset by higher risk to larger adults.