This study investigated the effect of loading rate on the compressive failure mechanics of the pediatric cervical spine, using baboons of a controlled age group as a human surrogate. Cervical spines were obtained from 12 male baboons (9 ± 1 human equivalent years) and dissected into 35 2-FSU segments. All specimens underwent cyclic preconditioning to 100 N for 50 cycles at 1 Hz prior to failure testing at displacement rates of 5, 50, 500, or 5,000 mm/sec. Load-displacement curves were plotted and analyzed to determine stiffness, failure load, and displacement at failure for the various loading rates. Stiffness showed a significant increase as loading rate was increased, with mean stiffness increasing 30 % between rates of 5 and 5,000 mm/sec. Failure load showed an increasing, though not statistically significant, trend with increasing loading rate, while displacement at failure showed no rate dependence. The results of this research may be useful for developing better pediatric automotive safety standards, improved biofidelic test dummies, and more accurate computational models.