The Effects of Vehicle Seat Belt Parameters on the Injury Risk for Children in Booster Seats
The correct restraint for children, age 4-10 years, is a booster seat restrained by the vehicle's seat belt system. The goal of this study is to investigate the effects of misuse of the restraint system by varying initial seat belt slack and to investigate the effects of modern countermeasures, like force limiting belts and pretensioners, on the injury risk of young children. A multi-body model of a Hybrid III 6-year old dummy positioned in a booster seat and restrained by the car seat belt was developed using MADYMO and validated using sled tests. As anticipated, adding initial slack resulted in higher peak accelerations and to an increase in forces and moments in the neck, both factors increasing the injury risk significantly. The countermeasures pretensioning and force limiting prove to be useful in lowering peak values but a high risk of injury persists. A combination of pretension and force limiting provides the safest restraint for this setup.