Although a considerable number of adult finite element (FE) cervical spine models were developed to understand the injury mechanisms of the neck in auto crash scenarios, relatively less effort has been devoted to develop child models. Few FE cervical spine models were conducted in tensile responses, which were observed due to airbag and seatbelt interactions. In this study, a ten‐year‐old cervical spine FE model was developed with an aim to improve the safety of child in car crashes in future. The model geometry was obtained from medical scans and meshed using a multi‐block approach. Nonlinear materials and viscoelastic materials were assigned based on literatures. The material properties were obtained mostly by scaling reported adult experimental data. The growth plate and endplate cartilage were modeled as solid elements, and element failure method was used to simulate the disc failure through pre‐assigned critical stresses. Child tensile forcedeformation data in three segments, Occipital‐C2 (C0‐C2), C4‐C5 and C6‐C7, were used to validate the neck model and predict failure properties. Design of computer experiments was performed to determine failure properties for intervertebral discs and ligaments. The model‐predicted ultimate displacements and forces were within the experimental ranges. This study provided methods to develop a child FE neck model and to predict soft tissue failures in tension.
Keywords: Finite element method, growth plate, pediatric cervical spine, tension failure