The Influence of Occupant and Vehicle Characteristics on Risk of Pediatric Air Bag Injury 99SC27
A case-comparison study was conducted of children between one
and twelve years of age exposed to passenger air bag (PAB)
deployment. Cases were children fatally injured by PAB exposure and
were investigated by the Special Crash Investigation Program of
NHTSA. For comparison, children exposed to PABs, but suffering
minor injury were identified through the Partners for Child
Passenger Safety (PCPS) Study, a system utilizing insurance claims
data for crashes involving children.
The crash severity as measured by Delta V was not significantly
different between the two groups. Restraint status in conjunction
with pre-impact braking highly influenced injury outcome indicating
the importance of pre-crash positioning as a risk factor in child
exposure to PAB deployment. Other related variables such as child
size and age reinforced the importance of restraint. No vehicle
characteristics or interior vehicle space measurements were
significantly different between the two groups. Current vehicle
designs cannot be differentiated with respect to their potential
for producing serious child injuries due to PAB deployment.
Researchers must continue to examine the entire spectrum of
occupant injury severity in order to fully understand injury risk
and ensure that future design of vehicles considers the safety of
all occupants, including children.