Principal Investigator: Aditya Belwadi, PhD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROJECT?
We quantified the response of a pediatric ATD in rear-facing CRS with and without load legs in frontal and oblique crashes. Load legs are structural supports that go from the base of the child seat to the floor of the rear row of the vehicle. Load legs are not new to CRS; they have been around in the European Union for close to a decade but have only been available in the US for the past five years. Load legs can lessen the impact of a frontal crash through energy absorption and rotation prevention. However, data were not only needed to prove that they work, but also how they work, to prevent injury during a crash.
WERE ANY OF THE RESULTS SURPRISING?
While we expected to see benefits of adding the load leg to CRS, it was a big surprise to see a 60 percent reduction in head injury criterion (HIC36) in a frontal crash with the load leg versus without it. That is substantial.
WHAT ARE THE INDUSTRY IMPLICATIONS FOR THESE FINDINGS?
We hope these findings will provide the evidence needed for broad adoption of load legs as part of CRS design across the industry. Currently, there are no regulations guiding manufacturers’ use of load legs in the US.
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT WITH THIS PROJECT?
In Year 1 of this study, we looked at smaller rear-facing seats. We plan to now examine wider and bulkier CRS with load legs that are used to restrain older children up to 55 pounds. There is much more force on load legs when children are larger, but I still think that load legs will come out winning.
Srihari Menon, University of Pennsylvania
Jonathan Gondek, Calspan Corporation; Mike Kulig, Calspan Corporation; Emily Thomas, Consumer Reports; Mark LaPlante, Graco Children’s Products Inc.; Jerry Wang, Humanetics Innovative Solutions Inc.; Suzanne Johansson, General Motors Holdings LLC; Julie Kleinert, Technical Advisor; Uwe Meissner, Technical Advisor