Development of Premature Infant Anthropomorphic Test Device (ATD)

Principal Investigator: Sriram Balasubramanian, PhD, Drexel University and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

Below is an executive summary of this project. Please note that this summary describes results and interpretation that may not be final. Final interpretation of results will be in the peer-reviewed literature.

research portfolio
CT scans were processed using specialized software to visualize, divide and render (3D) images of the premature infant.

Infant crash test dummies, also known as anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs), are currently used to evaluate the effectiveness of child restraint systems (CRS). Due to the fragile nature of their bodies, proper fit in the CRS may be particularly important for premature infants; improper fit may cause an increased burden to their skeletal structure and organs. If represented accurately, the shape and structure of a premature infant ATD may help to increase the effectiveness of CRS for this age group. The aim of this study was to quantify the shape and structure of a premature infant sufficient detail to inform the development of a new premature infant crash test dummy.

Whole body computed tomography (CT) scans of three infants (gender/age at time of scan: M/5 days, F/47 days and F/58 days) with gestational ages of less than 40 weeks at birth (i.e., premature) were obtained from the radiology database at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). Height and weight information at the time of scan was recorded for all three infants. The CT scans were processed using specialized software (Analyze, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN) to visualize, divide and render three-dimensional (3D) images of the premature infants. These 3D computational models can be used to guide the manufacture of a plastic prototype of a premature infant crash test dummy.

Obtaining the shape and structure information based on medical imaging data is a critical first step in the development of a realistic premature infant dummy that will be used to test the fit and effectiveness of CRSs. This approach overcomes limitations associated with current designs of a low birth weight infant ATD.

IAB Mentors

Steve Oltman, Dorel Juvenile Group; Dan Robertson, Toyota Motor North America Inc.; Uwe Meissner, Technical Advisor