Center for Injury Research and Prevention

Pediatric Volunteer Kinematics – A Novel Approach to Safe Crash Testing

In 2006, CHOP researchers led by Kristy Arbogast, PhD collaborated with TK Holdings Inc. (Takata Corp.), Rowan University, and University of Virginia researchers to develop a low-speed human volunteer sled to test pediatric subjects. The team designed a crash sled to mimic the safe “crash” experienced by children and adults when they ride an amusement park bumper car.  It is the first effort to test pediatric subjects in this manner and has allowed the research team to collect the only known data on the kinematics and kinetics of restrained 6- to 14-year-old pediatric human volunteers in low speed impacts. This data set from these safe crash tests represents a valuable and unique source for comparison of human and anthropomorphic test device (ATD) response.

Capable of delivering up to 4 g’s of acceleration to volunteers from six years of age through adult, the sled buck can be rotated to allow for frontal, near-side, far-side, and rear impact tests. Data are collected using motion capture technology that tracks movement from external markers on volunteers or ATDs. In addition to the main studies funded by TK Holdings, the crash test sled has been used in several studies funded through the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS), allowing researchers to compare the movement of child and adult volunteers’ heads, necks, and spines during a bumper car’s safe crash to the same body regions on pediatric ATDs. By identifying key kinematic differences across ages and between humans and ATDs, priorities for design improvement to the ATDs have been identified.

Safe Pediatric Crash Test - Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
This image shows the kinematic comparison of the Q6s ATD (top) and exemplar 6-year-old volunteer (bottom) at initial position, mid-motion, and maximum excursion in a lateral low-speed impact. At mid-motion, the Q6s exhibited lateral head rotation, whereas the volunteer's head remained upright.

Published Research