Kids in Car Accidents – The Importance of Specialized Research

If you have children, you probably spent a lot of time researching the safest car seats, booster seats, and automobiles for your precious cargo. You’ve probably seen a dizzying number of vehicle rankings and safety reports, from places like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). This is in addition to information you can review from the auto manufacturers themselves. After all this reading, you probably feel secure about your choice of child restraint and vehicle.

However, a recent press release from the Ford Motor Company highlights the important differences between children and adults in regards to auto safety. Some collision tests and manufacturing designs primarily take adult passengers into account, which can spell bad news for children. One area where children are especially vulnerable is their spine and abdomen. Due to their small size and skeletal immaturity, these parts of a child’s body are often severely injured in a serious car accident.

Child-focused car collision research

In conjunction with partners at Dearborn-based STR Systems,NHTSA The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Wayne State University, the University of Virginia, and Takata Corporation, Ford developed a more lifelike child dummy, which incorporates a pediatric abdominal insert. In addition, the University of Michigan developed a rounded pediatric dummy pelvis, which is more realistic than the square-pelvis models usually used.

The use of a rounded pelvis in pediatric car collision dummies means that in a crash the seatbelt is more likely to ride up onto the abdomen, which explains why children often sustain abdominal injuries. The newly designed pediatric abdomen is constructed with multiple layers of a liquid silicone, which have been hardened and contain electrodes in a conductive fluid. These electrodes – six in the front and one in the back – are how researchers ascertain the impact of a collision on a child dummy’s abdominal area.

The rounded pelvis, in conjunction with the new realistic abdomen, has helped researchers to better study the effects of auto accidents on young children. In addition to these important advances in pediatric dummies, researchers are also making use of real crash data and virtual computer modeling to aid their studies.

The importance of real data

Researchers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has in the past performed studies which reveal that abdominal injuries are more often sustained by children aged 4 to 8 than either younger or older children. Because of this, real-life information from collisions involving children aged 4 to 8 has been studied, and real children in that age range measured in order to develop a realistic pediatric crash test dummy.

Computer modeling – not just for videogames

For the last 10 years, collision researchers have also been making use of virtual modeling, which allows close study of the most vulnerable parts of the human body. Body regions of interest to researchers include the head, neck, ribcage, abdomen, thoracic and lumbar spine, internal organs of the chest and abdomen, pelvis, and the upper and lower extremities. Experts believe that judicious use of virtual body modeling will reduce the amount of time it takes to research and develop improved auto safety features, and will also allow for better standardization of these features.

Virginia Car Accident Lawyer

As accident research continues to improve, more information will become available that will allow parents and caregivers to make even more informed decisions about child restraint and vehicle purchases. Unfortunately, even with the best research and the most sophisticated safety features your money can buy accidents still happen. If you or someone you love has been involved in an auto accident then our Virginia car accident lawyers wants to hear from you.

Please contact The Serpe Firm today and let us work with you to help you recover from the devastating effects of your car crash so you can get your life back on track and get the compensation you deserve.