Thursday, May 17, 2007

Air Bags: Friend or Foe?

From the AP:

WEDNESDAY, May 16 (HealthDay News) -- Short people and tall people can receive serious injuries from air bags, a new study found.

"This is the first time that there is proof to substantiate the concern about small-stature occupants, and it is the first time that there has been any implication that tall people are also at risk," said lead researcher Dr. Craig Newgard, an assistant professor of emergency medicine and public health and preventive medicine Oregon Health & Science University.

I particularly like that researchers have long thought air bags posed a serious risk to short people, but no one cared...until it also threatened tall people!

Not the tall people! We must protect the tall people!

Here's my FAVORITE part of the article, though:

Newgard and co-author John McConnell collected data on 67,284 drivers and front-seat passengers involved in car crashes. They found that while air bags were effective for people of medium height -- from 5 feet 3 inches tall to 5 feet 11 inches tall -- they were actually harmful to people shorter than 4 feet 11 inches tall and those more than 6 feet 3 inches tall. Body weight was not a factor in injury rates.

medium height - from 5 feet 3 inches to 5 feet 11...

I am 5'4" (don't mean to brag)...

You might be saying, 5'3"-5'11" is pretty wide spectrum. And it is. But that doesn't matter because science says I am of medium height! Thanks, science!

Of course, some tall people are crying foul and want even more research done:

One expert said he wasn't sure that the study findings were conclusive, especially when it comes to tall people.

For starters, the study didn't include separate data for new air bags, said Toben Nelson, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. "There should be enough data to look at revised air bag design to see if that has made a difference," he said.

Nelson also questioned the findings on air bags and tall people. "Maybe it's an artifact of not having many people of taller stature to see significant findings," he said. "Most of the evidence has been about kids and shorter individuals. There needs to be more evidence on tall people."

That's right. Tall people demand more evidence! Nothing in this world should be unsafe for tall people!