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A pilot study of toddler anthropometry and posture in child restraint systems

In: Proceedings of the 2015 Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine Scientific Conference, Philadelphia, PA.

Authors: Monica L. H. Jones, Kathleen D. Klinich, Sheila M. Ebert, Laura J. Malik, Miriam A. Manary, Matthew P. Reed

Objective: Collect 3D anthropometry of toddler-aged children in supported seated postures for the purpose of product development and evaluation of child restraints systems fit.

Methods: A reconfigurable seat was designed to simulate geometries found in installed rear-facing and forward-facing child restraint systems. Critical dimensions of each child restraint component, including inclination angles of the seatback and seat cushion, were extracted from a database of child restraint geometry obtained in previous research. Upper and lower extremity positioning fixtures and a five-point harness were designed to safely and comfortably support and maintain the toddler's posture, while minimizing obstructions to the scanner. Transparent support surfaces enabled a whole-body laser scanner to capture the toddler's body shape in less than 12 seconds. A FARO Arm coordinate digitizer was used to record surface landmarks to document skeletal posture.

Results: A pilot study was conducted with 6 toddlers ranging in age from 1 to 4 years, with an average stature of 91.5 (±17) cm, and body mass index of 17 (±2.1) kg/m2. The new methods provide high-resolution data on posture and body shape for children in an age range that has not previously been addressed in a 3D anthropometry survey.

Conclusions: With specialized equipment and methods, detailed 3D body shape data can be gathered from small children. Data from a larger sample will be useful for improving child restraint system design and developing more realistic physical and computational surrogates.

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