Car sunshade-induced craniofacial injury: a case report
© Sharif-Alhoseini et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2011
Received: 7 June 2010
Accepted: 10 May 2011
Published: 10 May 2011
We report the case of a man who sustained a craniofacial injury after spontaneous lateral airbag deployment resulting in his face being struck by a car sunshade. This highlights the potential damage that can be caused by any object placed between a lateral airbag and a car occupant.
We report the case of a 33-year-old Caucasian man who was the driver in a frontal collision. He had opened the car sunshade and turned it 90° towards the left. As he was driving, he struck a bus, causing the driver's lateral airbag to spontaneously deploy. The airbag pushed the sunshade against his face and injured him.
Car sunshades can cause significant craniofacial injury. We suggest that sunshade design must be improved to reduce the risk of potential injuries to car occupants. We recommend a new, safer sunshade design.
Although there are reports of injuries caused by airbags [1–5], we are unaware of any literature describing injuries from car sunshades. We report a case of severe craniofacial injury after spontaneous lateral airbag deployment that caused the sunshade to strike the driver's head. We also discuss the mechanism of sunshade induced injuries.
Airbag-associated injury occurs in 43% of airbag deployments . Typically, airbag-related injuries are minor, but severe or fatal injuries are also reported . Minor injuries such as abrasions, contusions and lacerations are usually detected on the face, neck, chest, and upper extremities [8, 9]. Airbag deployment also releases high-temperature gases, including nitrogen and carbon dioxide, and produces sodium hydroxide, a very irritating alkaline material, which can cause superficial and even full thickness burns [10, 11]. As demonstrated by this case, an opened and turned sunshade can also be a potentially dangerous object between a lateral airbag and a driver or passenger.
When the lateral airbag deploys, it pushes the sunshade onto the occupant's face and head. Consequently, it seems that vehicles with side airbags should not have moveable sunshades that can be placed in the lateral position. We suggest the design and use of sunshades that do not project into the vehicle or the use of sunglasses.
Written informed consent was obtained from the patient for publication of this case report and any accompanying images. A copy of the written consent is available for review by the Editor-in-Chief of this journal.
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