Skip to Content

Airbag Injury



must inflate quickly to be effective in an accident. The speed and force of the airbag can cause eye injuries, burns, irritated skin, and open wounds.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have new or increased chest pain.
  • You have a bad headache and feel sleepy or confused.
  • Your pain gets worse, even with medicine.
  • Your wounds become red, painful, and tender. They may be hot or swollen.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a new cough or you are wheezing.
  • You have increased tears, redness, or pain in your eyes.
  • You hear ringing or buzzing, or you lose your hearing.

Treatment for an airbag injury

may include ointment to decrease redness, pain, and swelling. You may also need the following:

  • Prescription pain medicine may be given. Ask your healthcare provider how to take this medicine safely. Some prescription pain medicines contain acetaminophen. Do not take other medicines that contain acetaminophen without talking to your healthcare provider. Too much acetaminophen may cause liver damage. Prescription pain medicine may cause constipation. Ask your healthcare provider how to prevent or treat constipation.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

Care for your airbag injury:

  • Keep wounds covered with a clean, dry bandage as directed. You may be told to apply antibacterial ointment to your wound to prevent infection. You may need stitches. Care for your stitches as directed.
  • Use ice packs as directed to treat swelling around your eyes.
  • Use cool cloths to soothe red, irritated, or burned skin.

Prevent an airbag injury:

  • Make sure everyone wears a seatbelt.
  • Do not allow children younger than 13 years to sit in the front seat. Children who are 8 years or younger should ride in a properly fitting car seat or booster seat.
  • Do not place a rear-facing infant seat in the front of a vehicle. Babies should ride in a rear-facing infant seat in the back of a vehicle until they are 1 year old and weigh 20 pounds.
  • Do not place the lap belt over your stomach. The lap belt should fit snugly over your hips. This is very important if you are pregnant. Never place a shoulder belt under your arm or behind your back.
  • Sit at least 10 inches away from the steering wheel when you drive. Recline the seat or tilt the steering wheel down.
  • Drive with your hands on each side of the steering wheel. Do not drive with your hands on top of the steering wheel.
  • Sit as far back from the dashboard as you can if you are a passenger.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.