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Seatbelts and Air Bags Save Spines, Too

Published: February 5, 2009

If you, your friends, or loved ones are not convinced that seat belts and air bags are lifesavers, read on. Research published in the February 2009 issue of Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine provides compelling evidence that the combination of air bags and seat belts affords the best protection against spine fractures sustained in motor vehicle crashes.

Dr. Marjorie Wang and her team analyzed the records of 20,276 crash victims age 16 and older admitted to Wisconsin hospitals after car or truck crashes from 1994 to 2002. Of these victims, 2,530 (12.5 percent) sustained a spine fracture.

Key research findings include:

* Combined use of a seat belt and an air bag was associated with a decreased risk of a spine fracture.
* An alarming 38 percent of those with spine fractures were not wearing seat belts.
* Use of an air bag alone was linked to an increased risk of a severe thoracic spine fracture.

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