Principal Investigator: John Bolte, PhD, The Ohio State University
WHAT WAS THE PURPOSE OF THIS PROJECT?
Airplane manufacturers are now placing passenger seats at oblique angles, especially in business class and first class. We studied the performance of forward-facing and rear-facing CRS in angled airplane seats. In Year 1, led by Dr. Aditya Belwadi at CHOP, sled tests were conducted at 30 degrees. In Year 2 of this project, we looked at the level of a child’s safety in an airplane seat angled 45 degrees, with and without a CRS.
HOW DID YOU CONDUCT YOUR RESEARCH?
We conducted a series of 18 tests: seven with a 3-year-old Hybrid III ATD in a forward-facing CRS, five with the 3-year-old ATD seated forward facing without any CRS, and six with the 12-month-old CRABI ATD in a rear-facing CRS. Tests were run with the ATDs seated next to a generic wall, an armrest, or nothing. The ATDs had instrumentation in their head, neck, and thorax to measure potential injuries to those body regions.
WHAT DID YOU FIND?
We found that the 3-year-old ATD sitting in a 45-degree seat without a CRS experienced head strikes that could potentially result in injury, regardless of what structure was adjacent to it (wall, arm rest, or nothing). The ATD flexed forward substantially so that in the case with no wall, it struck its head on its own knee. The tests with the 3-year-old seated in the forward-facing CRS and those with the 12-month-old in the rear-facing CRS were much more likely to result in no injuries to the children.
WHY DID YOU CONDUCT THIS STUDY AND WHAT ARE ITS IMPLICATIONS?
The study was conducted due to the airline industry exploring the use of more angled seating positions on future aircraft designs. These angled seating positions offer benefits to the industry in more occupant space for improved comfort, but it was not known how they could affect the safety of children in the event of a crash. Ideally these results will help the FAA in their communication with families and aircraft manufacturers in improving child safety while traveling on airplanes.
Colleen Harkins, The Ohio State University; Sarah Shaffer, The Ohio State University
Amanda Taylor, Federal Aviation Administration; Jerry Wang, Humanetics Innovative Solutions Inc.