Air bags in European cars are very different to the ones fitted to US cars.
Essentially, Europeans are mainly fairly sensible and tend to wear their seatbelts. So the airbags have smaller charges and are designed to stop you moving forwards once the seatbelt has more or less stopped you.
Americans of course, know better, and don't wear their seatbelts. So your US spec airbag is designed to stop 300lb Bubba from 55mph to 0. So they tend to go off rather more violently...
So don't believe anything you read about airbags being bad for you from an American source.