Unfortunately, something important to consider when purchasing a car is how safe you’ll be in the event of an accident. When driving you want to know that you’ll be kept safe and that not only will the structure of the vehicle protect you, but also that the airbags can help prevent or minimize any injuries sustained. While not mandatory or required, side air bags are known to provide extra safety and security in the event that you are in a car accident, while also helping to minimize any injuries that are sustained when the front airbags are deployed.

Protect the Paint

Since they are optional, it’s up to you to decide if side airbags are something that you want from your vehicle.

Here are some facts about side airbags to help you determine if side airbags are important to you.

Side airbags are typically designed for one of three areas of added protection; chest/torso, head or a combination of the two. Chest airbags are typically mounted to the side of your seat or in the car door and will give added protection to the driver’s torso in the event of a side impact crash. Head airbags are usually found in the roof and will also deploy in a side impact collision.

Side airbags work by inflating within a fraction of a second and will help keep your chest and head protected from being hurt during an accident. There are sensors installed with them to determine if an accident is severe enough for them to be deployed and unlike standard airbags, they will stay deflated for several seconds in an effort to give you added protection should your vehicle rollover.

Since 1998 it has been standard that all passenger cars come with airbags and while the addition of side airbags is an optional one, a vehicle can easily be equipped with both the standard front airbags as well as side airbags for added safety. The NHTSA projects that if head protection side airbags were to become standard that approximately 700-1000 more lives would be saved in the event of a traffic accident.

One area where airbags are slightly controversial is regarding the safety of children, it’s well known that car seats and younger children are advised to be kept away from the airbags as they can be potentially fatal, in the case of side impact airbags however, in various tests that have been performed they’ve been determined to not increase any risk of injury or inflict any severe injury to children in an accident where they are deployed. In over 1,500 crashes involving side airbags being used, there were 60 cases involving side airbags deployed in accidents involving children, and out of the 60 cases there was only one that had a reported injury; a minor skin laceration that was caused by the cover on the side airbag and not the airbag itself to a 3 year old child that was sitting without a seatbelt in the front seat of the vehicle involved in the accident.

In various studies it has been found that side airbags with head protection reduce the risk of death by about 37% for drivers in cars and by 52% for drivers in SUVs in the event of an accident.

There are multiple companies that design and manufacture side airbags for vehicles so should you be interested in installing one in your vehicle, be sure that the model you find will fit your car and be sure to have it installed by a trained professional. There are some designs that won’t be compatible with older model vehicles so it’s important to know the model of your car to find the right type of side airbags to maximize your safety.

While not mandatory or regulated, when installed in vehicles, side airbags have been proven to have drastic effects in increasing the safety of both driver and passengers in the event of a traffic accident. That they also pose no extra risk of harm to younger and smaller children makes them an extremely valuable safety option and in families with children, extra safety can never be overstated. If extra protection in your vehicle is of interest to you, installing side airbags may be one of the most important steps that you can take.