1994-11-01

Survey of Older Children in Automotive Restraints 942222

This paper describes results from a survey of older children with respect to vehicle and booster restraints. The work first consisted of a rudimentary anthropometry study of 155 volunteers aged between 7 and 12 years. The data were compared to an extensive child anthropometry study conducted by the University of Michigan in 1975. Height and sitting height data matched well, while children in the current study appeared heavier. In the restraint fit survey, each child sat in the rear seat alone and in three belt-positioning booster seats (Volvo, Kangaroo, Century CR-3) in three vehicles (Ford Taurus, Pontiac Sunbird, Dodge Caravan). Booster seats greatly improved belt fit over the rear seat alone. The majority of children in this study had better belt fit with the boosters than with the rear seat alone, regardless of size. However, children who could fit well in the boosters and had good or fair belt fits were generally 36 kg or less. The sitting heights of these children ranged from 58 to 76 cm, and their standing heights varied from 117 to 152 cm. In general, the minimum size child for using three-point belts alone is a sitting height of 74 cm, standing height of 148 cm, and a weight of 37 kg. A possible cause of poor belt fit that is specialized to this group of children in the “slouch factor”. Children of these ages will scoot forward in a seat to allow comfortable leg positions rather than sitting up straight and putting pressure on the backs of their lower legs. Booster seats seem to prevent slouching by allowing a comfortable leg position while sitting upright.

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