Injury metrics are altered in spica-casted versus non-casted child ATDs in side-impact collisions with door intrusion

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Traffic Injury Prevention


Objective: There is little data defining safe transport protocols for spica-casted children. A single earlier study demonstrated the presence of a body cast alters kinematics and injury metrics during simulated side-impact crashes. Since then, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposed a new side-impact test protocol for evaluating child restraints. This test is more severe than the earlier tests, as it simulates an impact with a door intruding into the occupant space. As no currently available child restraint system (CRS) able to accommodate a spica-casted child has been evaluated using these updated testing criteria, the objective of this study was to evaluate current restraint options in simulated side-impact collisions using an anthropomorphic test device (ATD) modeled after a 3-year-old. Methods: Four commercially available CRSs able to accommodate a spica-casted Q3s side-impact ATD were selected for testing. Side-impact testing was performed using casted and uncasted ATDs in compliance with the NHTSA proposed side-impact test. High-speed photography and ATD instrumentation were used to measure selected injury criteria. Results: HIC15 values were highest in CRSs with less robust side wings, such as the Merritt WallenburgTM (HIC15 = 1,373), which allow for the occupant to interact with the intruding door panel. Head contact with the door panel was found to correspond with high resultant neck peak force. Pelvic acceleration magnitudes were greatest for the uncasted tests. Casted tests with a CRS that included an armrest were associated with greater torso rotation in the frontal plane with the left shoulder moving toward the door panel. Conclusions: The presence of a spica cast alters injury metrics in side-impact testing. Spica specific child safety seats are not yet optimized for side-impact with door intrusion. This is due to a lack of adequate side cushion wings, which may place both casted and uncasted occupants at increased likelihood for injury through head contact with an intruding door. Additional work is needed to improve the safety of CRSs for both casted and uncasted children in side-impact collisions.





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