The World-Wide Life Saver

By The Shadow Man


If you are a normal, regular, everyday couch potato, you probably have never wondered about airbags. But if you have a creative, inquisitive, curious mind, I bet you want to know what an airbag is, all about its history, and how it works. I have written this article for you.

What It Is

What the heck is the purpose of an airbag? I mean, itÕs not like you know.  Nobody knows this, but an airbagÕs purpose it to save peoplesÕ lives if they get in a crash. This can prove very helpful. If you donÕt believe me in the slightest, go test it out yourself.

You may have wondered (at some point in your life) if they make different types of airbags. The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety says yes. They make two different kinds: frontal airbags and side airbags. As you would think, frontal airbags are installed inside the steering wheel and dashboard, and side airbags are found in the back seat, on the side of the door. Frontal airbags deploy if you get hit from the front, and side airbags deploy if you are smashed on the side. Both of these are VERY important.


No way. Is it possible? Airbags on the outside of the car?   Says the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, it is possible. They are always developing new types of airbags. They developed one kind called a pedestrian airbag. It is made to poof up on the outside of car. There is one at each windshield pillar so that the personÕs head doesn't go conk! This is a very smart thing to do. If you do not believe me, think about it this way. Have you ever had a large metal car whooshing out of control towards you at 55 miles an hour?

Are there other vehicles with airbags?  According to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, motorcycles do have airbags. They are designed to take some of the forward motion of the driver. I did not know that other vehicles could have airbags before. Did you?


How many people have been killed by airbags? I found out from the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety that since 1990 there have been MORE than 290 deaths that were caused by airbags. That is NHTSA's estimate. But think, that's just from frontal airbags! If thatÕs not sad, what is?


Are airbags required in every car?  According to the Insurance Institute For Highway Safety, since 1999, airbags have been required in every car, but only frontal airbags. Side airbags are not yet required, but they do make cars much safer. I would bet that some day, side airbags will also be required in every car.


How It Works

What is the airbag, and how does it deflate?  Marshall Brain says that airbags are made of thin, nylon fabric. To fill an airbag, sodium azide and potassium nitrate are sent together to create nitrogen gas. Hot blasts of this fill the nylon bag and make it "poof" up. Also, Rachel Casiday and Regina Frey say that when the nitrogen stops, it goes out through vents, which are tiny holes in the airbag.

How long does it take an airbag to deploy, or ÒpoofÓ up?  The Insurance Institute For Highway Safety says that in a frontal crash airbags usually deploy within 50 milliseconds of the crash. In a side crash, airbags usually deploy much faster, 10-20 milliseconds of the crash, because there is not much space between the person and the car. I feel safe knowing they deploy very fast, but I still never want to get in a crash.


What is a sensor?  According to Marshall Brain, the sensor is the device that tells the airbag to "poof" up. A switch is flipped and that tells the sensors there's a crash.  Put research (in your own words). Add flavor, baby!

Airbag Ages

How old should you be to use an airbag?  It says in all cars on a label that children under 12 should not sit in the front seat. If underage children are sitting in the front seat during a crash, they could die. Always sit children in the back.        


And now before I end my report, I would like to say something: GET OFF THE COUCH, MR. POTATO, AND GO LEARN MORE ABOUT AIRBAGS!!!!! Make sure to tell me all that you learn.

I hope you learned a lot about airbags that you did not know. These subjects better have helped you.