Advanced methods for improved child occupant safety in cars

The European project CHILD (2002 – 2005 ) aims to a more comprehensive understanding of the injury mechanisms experienced by children as car occupants of different ages in road accidents. Through innovative tools and methods, CHILD will contribute to revise or improve standards and more efficient design of child restraint systems. It is conducted in association with thirteen partners representing a balance between research, industry, regulation and testing institutes, from seven European countries. The basis is in-depth accident studies, experimental and virtual testing including development of new tools (dummies, models,…) for the evaluation of child protection. CHILD will enable the investigation of injury mechanisms and tolerances for different ages of children and to reinforce injury criteria and risk curves previously proposed for frontal and lateral impacts, in the European project CREST (1996-2000). The methods used to achieve these goals are described in this article, illustrated with several examples. The stakes of this project are to significantly decrease the number of killed children (more than 700) or severely injured each year on European roads, which is an unacceptable high burden on Europe’s society and economy.