No experimental data exist quantifying the force-deformation behavior of the pediatric chest when subjected to non-impact, dynamic loading from a diagonal belt or a distributed loading surface. Kent et al., (2006) previously published juvenile abdominal response data collected using a porcine model. This paper reports on a series of experiments on a 7-year-old pediatric post-mortem human subject (PMHS) undertaken to guide the scaling of existing adult thoracic response data for application to the child and to assess the validity of the porcine abdominal model. The pediatric PMHS exhibited abdominal response similar to the swine, including the degree of rate sensitivity. The upper abdomen of the PMHS was slightly stiffer than the porcine behavior, while the lower abdomen of the PMHS fit within the porcine corridor. Scaling of adult thoracic response data using any of four published techniques did not successfully predict the pediatric behavior. All of the scaling techniques intrinsically reduce the stiffness of the adult response, when in reality the pediatric subject was as stiff as, or slightly more stiff than, published adult corridors. An assessment of age-related changes in thoracic stiffness indicated that for both a CPR patient population and dynamic diagonal belt loading on a PMHS population, the effective stiffness of the chest increases through the fourth decade of life and then decreases, resulting in stiffness values approximately the same for children and for elderly adults. Additional research is needed to elucidate the generality of this finding and to assess its significance for scaling adult data to represent pediatric responses.
Keywords: Pediatric biomechanics; response scaling; thorax; abdomen; child passenger protection; restraints