Children are often involved in automotive accidents especially as car occupants. Their protection presents particular problems in the first years of life, due to large changes in their morphology and behaviour.
The aim of this paper is to contribute towards the development of a better evaluation of the child's tolerance to impact. Car accident investigations are analysed to bring information on injury mechanisms and severities. Free fall accidents are other sources of data used to correlate injuries with impact conditions. Theoretical analysis is considered for extrapolation of experimental data obtained from adult humans and animal surrogates. Then crash simulations with child cadavers and primates restrained in child seats are analysed and the estimation of tolerance levels for children is discussed.