Principal Investigator: Julie Mansfield, PhD, The Ohio State University
WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROJECT?
Booster seats can be used either by installation via LATCH or by placing the booster on top of the vehicle seat. Most manufacturers leave the choice up to consumers. We wanted to better understand the kinematics of the booster and the child occupant during these two different installation conditions during a crash.
HOW WAS THE RESEARCH CONDUCTED?
We conducted 18 total crash tests with six different booster models – four high-back boosters and two backless boosters. We crash tested each booster installed with the LATCH system and installed with the seat belt alone across the occupant, represented by the Hybrid III 6-year-old ATD. The boosters were installed on a recent model year sedan rear seat with production seat belt retractors, webbings, and buckles, which were replaced after every test. Frontal impacts were performed using the FMVSS 213 crash pulse.
WHAT WERE THE RESULTS?
Overall, the boosters performed very well in both conditions. Not surprisingly, boosters installed with LATCH moved less during the crash; however, the child occupant moved similar amounts whether the booster was installed with or without LATCH. Occupants seated in backless boosters installed using LATCH experienced higher head injury criterion and chest deflections. However, we also saw evidence of chin-tochest contact during some of these tests, likely leading to the higher injury metrics. For high-back boosters, we saw similar performance and no consistent patterns between the LATCH versus non-LATCH installations.
The next steps will be to apply what we learned in the sled testing environment and explore deeper questions using finite element modeling. For example, we will adjust the mass of the booster to ascertain if this factor changes the loading forces children experience in their torsos as the booster moves during a crash.
Project Team Member
Rakshit Ramachandra, PhD, The Ohio State University Students: Gretchen Baker, The Ohio State University; Ke Ding, The Ohio State University
Mark Pitcher, Britax Child Safety Inc.; Emily Thomas, Consumer Reports; Suzanne Johansson, General Motors Holdings LLC; Mark LaPlante, Graco Children’s Products Inc.; Justin Robinson, Graco Children’s Products Inc.; Susan Mostofizadeh, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.; Russ Davidson, Lear Corporation; Nick Rydberg, Minnesota HealthSolutions; Jason Stammen, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Jennifer Pelky, Toyota USA; Paul Gaudreau, UPPAbaby; Julie Kleinert, Technical Advisor; Uwe Meissner, Technical Advisor