Nevin Manimala Statistics

Child restraint headrest and belt routing design features and their association with child passenger behavior and restraint misuse

Traffic Inj Prev. 2022 Jul 27:1-6. doi: 10.1080/15389588.2022.2098280. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVES: Ergonomic design of child restraint systems (CRS) may facilitate optimal travel behavior and crash protection of child passengers during motor vehicle trips. However there have been few studies examining the relationship between CRS design and child passenger travel behavior. The aim of this study was to examine whether associations between CRS design features and child passenger behavior exist during real-world, everyday vehicle trips.

METHODS: Video from a naturalistic driving study (NDS) was analyzed in this study. Families drove an instrumented study vehicle for approximately two weeks with at least one child aged between one and eight years traveling in their own forward-facing (FF) CRS or belt positioning booster (BPB). Video for one child passenger was randomly selected from each trip for analysis. Video was coded for five-second epochs at nine time points (5%, 17%, 25%, 30%, 50%, 53%, 75%, 89% and 95% of trip length). Two types of child passenger travel behaviors were identified by manual review of the video and audio recordings: (i) optimal/suboptimal head position and (ii) correct/incorrect use of the internal harness/shoulder belt. Video screenshots were used to characterize CRS design features. Random effects logistic regression models were used to examine the associations between specific CRS design features and the travel behaviors of interest, whilst accounting for clustering of data by child and trip.

RESULTS: Suboptimal head position was associated with the absence of a height adjustable headrest and a narrow headrest wing width in FFCRS. Incorrect harness use in a FFCRS was associated with the absence of an adjustable headrest, in addition to headrest features such as wing width and depth. In BPBs, a reduction in suboptimal head position was associated with the absence of a sash belt guide, however no restraint design features were associated with incorrect shoulder belt use.

CONCLUSIONS: Some CRS design features may influence undesirable child passenger travel behavior. These early findings support enhanced and user-centric CRS design as a likely important mechanism to improve child passenger safety.

PMID:35896022 | DOI:10.1080/15389588.2022.2098280

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