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Just how safe are airbags?

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The purpose of airbags in motor vehicles is to help prevent serious injury in the event of a crash.

However, airbags have been known to actually cause a number of serious injuries if they are defective and fail to deploy. Airbag injuries can also happen even when the airbag does appear to work correctly.

Many older airbags were found to cause injury because they would often deploy too forcefully, particularly if there were smaller adults or children sitting in the front seat.

But some of the biggest problems associated with airbag injuries are typically due to defects. In fact, more than six automakers have recalled well over 1 million vehicles in the U.S. due to defective airbags.

 In some cases, the defective airbags had the potential to catch fire or release pieces of metal toward passengers during deployment.

Some of the vehicles involved in the most recent recalls include the Toyota Corolla, Avalon and Tundra, the Lexus SC 430 and the Pontiac Vibe.

Earlier this year, Toyota admitted that electrical issues could cause problems with airbag deployment.

According to the company, the issue is with the cars' air-conditioning units, which could leak and cause a malfunction. And in some cases the malfunction caused accidental deployment.

In the meantime, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration continues to monitor the recalls closely and said it will take appropriate action as needed.

A number of people have been able to successfully sue car manufacturers over injuries sustained due to the faulty airbags.