Effect of Padding on Child Restraint Performance During Side Impact Collisions 2009-01-1244
For over 30 years, there has been a safety standard in the United States that governs the design and performance of child restraint systems, and since 1981 this standard has prescribed dynamic test requirements for the performance of child restraint systems (CRS) in frontal collisions. However, this standard does not include a dynamic test specifically designed to evaluate the performance of CRSs during side impact collisions. One of the reasons a side impact standard has not been implemented is that feasible countermeasures have not been identified. This study addresses this issue by evaluating the effectiveness of padding as a countermeasure in side impact collisions. Head acceleration data were collected during both drop testing and side impact sled testing with and without the use of energy absorbing padding in the CRS side wing. These data show that the ability of padding alone to reduce head accelerations is limited and that side impact protection depends on a number of factors in addition to the type of padding including overall child restraint stiffness and position of the child immediately prior to the crash. Effective side impact protection for children is dependent on more than simply adding padding to child restraint systems.