Death from Airbags Is Not Dependent on Size
Today, kids 13 or over are allowed to ride in the front seat of a car with a passenger-side airbag, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommendations. Some parents may even think that their younger child is safe if he is tall for his age.
Dr. Craig Newgard is assistant professor of emergency medicine in the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine’s Center for Policy and Research in Emergency Medicine, and an emergency physician at OHSU and Doernbecher hospitals. He “felt it was time to study whether more children could be at risk, and assess whether age or body size were good measurement guidelines.”
According to his 2005 study, “children 14 and younger were at high risk for serious injury from air bags when they sat in the front passenger seat during car crashes. In contrast, air bags had a protective effect for children aged 15 to 18. In addition, the study showed age may be a better indicator of risk than height or weight.”
“Several body changes during puberty, such as muscle mass, bone density, and bone mineral content, may help explain why body size isn’t a good measurement of risk in children.”
Automakers have switched to airbags with sensors for the front passenger seat, to deploy with less force than a regular airbag. The sensor may be able to detect the passenger’s weight, but not the age.
If a child under 15 must ride in the front seat of a car, it is only safe if there is no airbag at all, or if the airbag can be turned off or set to a lower force. In addition, the child must use a lap belt and shoulder harness.
Guilt, Graduates and Gangs
There’s a billboard in the depressed part of town with an interesting message. “If you graduate, it is like your mother also succeeds.”
The words seem meant to make a teenager feel guilty enough to stay in school and graduate. Looking deeper, the real meaning goes to the heart of the ghetto / barrio family – which is that the mother is the heart of the family. She is often times the only parent in the home, and she is well loved. She may have even had to quit school to become the mother of the would-be graduate.
All of that would bring up a wish to please her, make her proud, and give her such a great gift. The message also seems like it would be very effective in keeping more teenagers in school.
Hmm. Why is it that these same feelings do not keep many teenagers from joining gangs?