Philadelphia, Pa--A study conducted by researchers at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia has demonstrated that computer crash simulation software can successfully predict the likelihood and severity of injuries to children from airbag activation. Flaura Koplin Winston, M.D., Ph.D., Kristy Arbogast, Ph.D., and Rajiv Menon, Ph.D., co- authors of a study appearing in the March 15 issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, used standard, validated crash simulation software, to evaluate the effect of front passenger airbags on child passengers- seated in the front seat -in crashes of high and low severity. Both restrained and unrestrained children were simulated and the results were compared to children seated in the rear seat. For front seat passengers, the results confirmed previously identified risks of airbags to unrestrained children and demonstrated a substantial risk to restrained children.
"This software is very exciting. Along with determining the likelihood of injuries, the computer models allowed us to efficiently test the effects of changes in characteristics of the crash such as whether or not the child was wearing a seat belt, their exact seating position or head rotation. Our modeling provides compelling scientific evidence that airbags, in their current design, are not beneficial to restrained children," said Dr. Winston.
The computer models tested the effect of airbag activation for a 6-year old child both restrained and unrestrained. The results were then compared to those for an adult occupant in similar crash scenarios. For the unrestrained child passenger, crash simulations predicted serious head, neck and chest injuries with airbag activation, regardless of the severity of the crash. For the restrained child passenger, crash simulations predicted similar severe injuries for high-severity crashes only. No serious injures were predicted for an unrestrained adult male exposed to an airbag or for child pas
Contact: Maria Stearns
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia