Pediatric Biomechanics

Children are not simply miniature adults. Investigations involving infants and children require a specialized understanding of pediatric biomechanics and issues unique to the pediatric population.  Exponent’s scientists, medical professionals and engineers have expertise in how developmental changes that occur within the first years of life and into adolescence can influence how the body responds to a given load.  Research has shown there is significant variation in tissue properties between children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. Differing material properties and structures within the pediatric body can result in differing motions and injury potential in response to a load as compared to older humans.

Exponent’s staff evaluate traumatic loading events and injury mitigation methods using knowledge of pediatric size, anatomical and anthropomorphic changes, tissue and bone property differences, and differences in injury tolerances. Biomechanical assessments often consist of review of documented injuries and radiology, surrogate evaluations, testing using child anthropomorphic tests devices (crash test dummies), and evaluation of pediatric injury mechanics and injury potential. Using these techniques and others, Exponent is able to provide its clients with information regarding anthropometry; motions relative to the vehicle environment; injury mechanisms and tolerances; child occupant protection systems; injury analyses during sports and falls; and consumer product hazard analyses.

Within the first years of life, the human body undergoes a wide breadth of developmental changes.  Research has shown there is significant variation in tissue properties between children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly. Differing material properties and structures within the pediatric body can result in differing motions and injury potential in response to a load as compared to adults.

Of particular interest amongst injuries sustained by children are those involving the brain and spinal cord.  Differences in the pediatric cranium, cervical spine, and thorax as compared to the older human population can leave the developing brain and spinal cord susceptible to injury. Exponent evaluates pediatric head and spinal cord injuries to understand how the event occurred and/or how such an injury could have been prevented.

Services

Exponent also offers pediatric anthropomorphic evaluations which take into account the unique size and shape variations (anthropometry) of a child’s body. Such pediatric anthropometric attributes are important when analyzing injury mechanisms or when designing products specifically for children.


Exponent has conducted many tests that evaluate how occupant safety systems (i.e. seat belts, child restraint systems, and airbags) interact with child occupants.  Furthermore, Exponent has a unique combination of testing experience, testing capabilities, and knowledge on the efficacy of child car seats and booster seats to evaluate child restraint designs under various impact conditions.

Professionals