Arbogast, K., Maltese, M., Locey, C., and Bohman, K., "Headform Impact Tests to Assess Energy Management of Seat Back Contact Points Associated with Head Injury for Pediatric Occupants," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. 5(1):454-467, 2012, doi:10.4271/2012-01-0561.
Head injuries are the most common injuries sustained by children in motor vehicle crashes regardless of age, restraint and crash direction. Previous research identified the front seat back as relevant contact point associated with head injuries sustained by restrained rear seated child occupants. The objective of this study was to conduct a test series of headform impacts to seat backs to evaluate the energy management characteristics of relevant contact points for pediatric head injury.A total of eight seats were tested: two each of 2007 Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla, 2006 Volvo S40, and 2008 Volkswagen Golf. Five to six contact points were chosen for each unique seat model guided by contact locations determined from real world crashes. Each vehicle seat was rigidly mounted in the center track position with the seatback angle adjusted to 70 degrees above the horizontal. A 3.5 kg child pedestrian headform was fired at a velocity of 24 km/h (6.67 m/s) in accordance to FMVSS 201 at 22 degrees above the horizontal starting from 10 cm from the center of the target. Resultant acceleration and HIC (15 ms and 36 ms) were calculated for each impact.Within the class of small family vehicles, there was substantial variation in underlying seat structure across the locations of head impact identified in the case series resulting in a wide range of maximum resultant head acceleration - 27-165 g. Several impact locations, particularly those around the edge of seat back resulted in head acceleration greater than 80g used in regulatory tests. These data highlight the need to re-examine the current FMVSS 201, Occupant Protection in Interior Impact, to account for the typical impact locations of child occupants in crashes. In addition, further study is needed to understand the tolerance of the pediatric skull and brain to these types of impacts.