In 1978, about 4,200 children died in motor vehicle accidents. Exclusive of early childhood diseases, approximately 16 percent of the child fatalities, ages 0-14, are the result of such accidents.
The unrestrained child in a passenger car becomes a missile during a crash, projected to any part of the occupant area, and ejection from the vehicle is a major cause of death. Restraints for various age groups of children, such as belts and child seats are discussed, and dynamic tests with anthropomorphic dummies are described in this paper. Plans for additional restraint studies and biomedical research are described.
Proposals have been made to revise the child restraint standard (FMVSS 213) to extend the scope to include infant carriers and harnesses in addition to child seats, and to require dynamic testing. Promising results have been obtained with vehicle soft front ends which are more forgiving to pedestrians.
Public information programs to increase restraint usage by children are presented along with a discussion of behavioral countermeasures dealing with the pedestrian and bicyclist/motor vehicle accidents.