Head Support Concept to Mitigate Neck Injury for Children Installed Forward Facing in Vehicles 2019-36-0106
The slender neck of a 3-year-old child can be serious injured or even lead to child’s death when loaded under frontal impact by the proportionately larger and heavier head. Accordingly with medical recommendations based on latest studies, a 3-year-old child is safer when installed in a rear-facing child seat, but this configuration is not feasible for some vehicles with limited rear space such as superminis, small MPVs and pick-ups when front seats are occupied. This study aims to explore the potential of neck tension (Fz) reduction in 3-year-old dummy installed forward-facing when subjected to three head static restraints (head strap, head support, cervical collar) as well as an overhead shield car seat in order to identify solutions for a device to avoid or mitigate neck injuries. To simulate frontal impacts, a 3-year-old dummy from Q series was installed on a reinforced vehicle body fixed on a sled test equipment where the United Nations R129 pulse was applied. Both head strap and head support were not able to reduce neck tension due to the high Q3 dummy’s torso displacement up to the child seat straps and were broken or released from child seat prior restraining head movement. Furthermore, parents would not be motivated to install head restraints daily because each device requires a specific adjustment for each child or journey. The overhead shield car seat was not able to reduce neck tension because the position of shield allows a large head displacement. The cervical collar offered a good resistance to the neck moment, reducing the head angular velocity and consequently reducing neck tension (Fz). This concept can be easily developed as a shoulder strap positioner requiring only a single action when installing the child and meeting United Nations R129 criteria to remove the child before buckle releasing.