Safety For The Growing Child – Experiences From Swedish Accident Data

  • Published: International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV), 23rd Conference, Paper Number 05-0330, 2005
  • Authors: Lotta Jakobsson, Irene Isaksson-Hellman, Björn Lundell
  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012
  • Last Update: 23 Jul 2013
  • Format: pdf

Objectives:

To evaluate child safety with respect to age, size in different impact situations and to identify optimal restraints and potential areas for improvement.

Methodology:

Analysis of car crashes from Volvo's statistical accident database between 1987 and 2004 involving 3,670 children, aged 0-15 years.

Key Findings:

  • During the past 40 years, different child restraint systems have been developed to improve protection for children of different sizes and ages.

  • The development of more effective child restraints, and increased use of restraints, in addition to enhanced vehicle safety, has increased child safety.

  • The injury-reducing effect of the child restraint systems was high overall.

  • The highest injury-reducing effect was found in rearward facing child restraints for children up to 3-4 years of age, offering an injury-reducing effect of 90% compared to an unrestrained child.

  • Belt positioning boosters from 4 to 10 years of age were found to have an injury reducing effect of 77%.

  • Compared to adults, children have a generally lower AIS 2+ injury rate, except for abdominal and lower-extremity injuries.

  • Abdominal injuries are mainly found in children using only a seat belt, emphasising the need for belt-positioning boosters.

  • A tendency of higher injury risk was found when the growing child switches from one restraint to another, i.e. when the child is at the youngest age approved for the restraint.

  • Thus, the total injury-reducing effect would increase if all children were to use the child restraint system most appropriate for their size and age.

  • The challenge is to spread information as well as enhance design to encourage everyone to use the appropriate child restraint system and to use it correctly.

  • Head injuries are the most frequent moderate or severe for side (as well as frontal) impacts.

  • The head is by far the most injured body region in side impacts, while in frontal mpacts the injuries are more evenly distributed over the different body parts.

  • Rearward-facing child seats are designed primarily for frontal impacts, however the outcome for side and rear-end impacts indicates a good performance in these situations.

  • No rearward-facing child sustained MAIS 2+ injuries in side or rear-end impacts.