Crash Protection for Infants Transported in Incubators 2009-01-2832
This paper reports the findings from an investigation of an ambulance crash during which an infant, occupying a transport incubator, was seriously injured. In addition, it reports on the results from the development and testing of a methodology for restraining infants being transported by an ambulance while occupying a transport incubator. During the crash, the incubator detached from the ambulance attachment system. The infant was ejected from the incubator and sustained critical head injuries. Sled testing of a similar incubator system, incorporating exemplar hook-and-pile straps (one common trade name is Velcro®) to secure the infant, demonstrated the inadequacy of this restraint for occupant crash protection as used. Additional sled testing with a five-point restraint harness, increased incubator stability, and improved incubator to ambulance attachment demonstrated the feasibility of effectively restraining an infant while being transported in an incubator during a crash. During the simulated frontal crash tests, the alternate restraint prevented ejection of the infant dummy from the incubator and impact of the infant dummy with the incubator or ambulance interior and applied the restraining loads over a wide area of the body to the strong structural skeletal portions.