Objective: One objective of this study is to evaluate the head kinematics of the Q3 model. Another objective is to evaluate the effect on head kinematics of increased thoracic spine flexibility; more humanlike mass distribution; and more humanlike body geometry in the Q3 model. The evaluations were based on the head kinematics of children deduced from real crashes and on new data of mass distribution and updated body dimensions for 3-year-olds.
Methods: The head kinematics of the Q3 model was evaluated by comparing the Q3 model's head displacement response with the deduced response of 3-year-old children in real crashes. To do so, data from crashes were collected. The data were used to develop the mathematical vehicle and restraint system models (MADYMO, TASS, the Netherlands). Three crashes involving 3-year-old children in frontal impacts were reconstructed. The models were run 35 times each (one model per crash), each time with a different setting to each of the variables for which the exact value was not known. Examples of those variables include crash pulse, initial dummy position, and initial seat belt position. Two versions of the Q3 model were used: one that correlated with the Q3 ATD and one that was modified regarding anthropometry and thoracic flexibility. The basis for the updated anthropometry was new data regarding characteristic dimensions and mass distribution collected at a Swedish hospital.
Results: In the anthropometry study, 26 children were measured. The main differences between the average of the measured children and the Q3 model were found in the mass distribution of the torso and thighs: the Q3's pelvis was too heavy and the thorax, abdomen/lumbar spine, and thighs were too light. Another difference was identified in the buttock-knee length. Two of the 3 reconstructed crashes had confirmed head impacts. The Q3 model responded with head kinematics that reflected the deduced courses of events for the real children in one of 3 crashes (the one without head impact). The modified Q3 model reflected the real children in 2 of 3 crashes.
Conclusions: In high-severity, straight frontal crashes, the Q3 model predicted non-head impact adequately. However, in oblique frontal crashes, the Q3 model did not sufficiently predict the head impacts. The modified Q3 model predicted the head impacts better than the Q3 model did. Greater flexibility of the thorax and redistributed mass made a positive difference regarding the head kinematics.