Car Safety: The Connection between Car Airbags and Short People

It is undeniable that Airbags play an important role in enhancing the car safety measures. Designed for saving you and other people in the car, this safety device is embedded in the car’s panel at different positions.

These bags actually inflate immediately during a sudden car crash, aiming to prevent people from hitting their head in steering wheel or windshield. However, things are not same for the adults with short height. To comprehend the connection between car airbags and short people in a better way, let’s explore the reasons endangering “No-so-tall” people’s safety. Followed by which, we will learn ways to make the airbags safe for kids and short people.

Reasons Explaining Incompatibility between Car Airbags and Short People

Why are short adults more vulnerable to a car crash? Let’s find out!

1. Standard Dummies Used While Testing, Unsuitable for Short Drivers

According to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, when car’s safety testing is performed, a standard body figure is taken. Based on which, any car around the world is legally approved after its being manufactured.

As per the defined American safety standard, your height should be around 177cm and weight close to 80 kg. And, this is where the real problem starts! Let’s consider an example to understand in better way.

When the old cars are exported to different countries, such as Philippines, these safety measures fail to prove themselves. As Filipinos are the shortest people in comparison to other nations in South East Asia. This results in hundreds of injuries or death every year, proving the current fact that car airbags and short people share an antagonistic relationship with each other.

Relationship between car airbags and short people
Carr airbags and short people dummy example. Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images

2. Airbags in “OLD” car

Here the word “old” refers to the cars, which were manufactured before 1998. Equipped with airbags, these old cars cause severe damage to the children or short drivers. As, they inflate with a huge force that can kill or injure small-stature adults, especially women, and children. This is because the person with short height sits close to the steering wheel in order to let his feet reach the clutch or brake pedal. Also sometimes, the less mass is equally responsible for causing damage to an individual because his body lacks capability to withstand such large force.

Ways to Prevent Car Airbag Injuries for Short People and Kids

For avoiding any painful injuries, there are certain driving tips summed up by the experts for “Not-so-tall” people.

1. Adequate Distance from Steering Wheel

To prevent damage like detached retinas, skin burning, severe head, wrist, or arm injuries, small height people must maintain an ideal distance from the steering wheel. The adequate distance between chest and steering wheel is 20-25cm. To maintain this distance, pedal adjuster/extender is the best gadget for use because it allows keeping up the distance by controlling the vehicle alongside.


2. Fit Child’s Seat in Rear-Facing Position

Car airbags and short people like children are not meant for each other. Therefore, the kid’s seat must be adjusted in rear-facing position, unparallel to the driver’s seat. By this, a child can be guarded against the airbag and the severe impact of the airbags.

Learn about car airbags and short people
All about car airbags and short people especially children. Credit: Getty Images/Creatas RF

Finally, airbags are still one of the essential car’s safety features. However, they aren’t ideal when it comes to old cars or short people. Thus, it’s important to understand the weaknesses of this feature and make it safer for the driver as well the passengers.