Objective: Child crash dummies are conventionally used for safety performance evaluations of the child restraint system (CRS) in vehicle crash tests. To investigate injuries to various body regions of a child in detail, mathematical models are useful, and provide information that cannot be analyzed by crash dummies. Therefore, in the present research, a finite element (FE) model of a 3-year-old child has been developed by model-based scaling from the AM50 human FE model, THUMS (Total HUman body for Safety).
Methods: The dimensions of each body region were based on the anthropometry data of United States children, and material properties of child bone were estimated from data reported in the literature. Neck flexion, thorax impact responses, and torso flexion were validated against the response corridor of the 3-year-old Hybrid III dummy in calibration tests. A test of lap belt loading to the abdomen was also conducted. FE models of two different types of CRS, a 5-point harness and a tray shield CRS, were also made, and ECE R44 sled impact test simulations were conducted using the child FE model.
Results: The characteristics of the child FE model proved to be close to the Hybrid III and child volunteer corridor. In the ECE R44 sled test simulations using the child FE model, the head movement down and head rotation were large in the 5-point harness CRS, and chest deflection was large in the tray shield CRS. In both CRS types, the whole spine flexed in the child FE model. This behavior is different from that of the Hybrid III, where the thorax spine is stiff and only the cervical spine and lumbar spine flex.
Conclusions: Although this child FE model has several limitations in areas such as the anatomical shapes and material properties of a child, this model can be a useful tool to examine the behavior of a child in impacts, which may be difficult to predict by using the Hybrid III dummy with its stiff thorax spine box.