Objective: Rollover crashes account for more than 33% of all motor vehicle-related fatalities and have the highest fatality risk of all crash types, at 1.37% in the United States. There is increased awareness of the high fatality rate associated with this crash type, but there is very limited pediatric-specific data related to rollover crashes in the United States. Recent focus on rollover mitigation has resulted in implementation of countermeasures, making it important to evaluate injury causation for child occupants in rollover crashes with a more current data set.
Methods: We queried the Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) from case years 1998 through 2013. Rollover crashes for passenger vehicles of model year 1998 or newer with at least one restrained occupant (excluding drivers) between 0 and 19 years of age were included. Vehicle-involved physical component and occupant-vehicle contact maps were developed with the CIREN data set.
Results and conclusions: Of the 20 CIREN cases that met the inclusion criteria, 15 had one or more injuries attributed to contact with some part of the vehicle structure. The CIREN analyses revealed that the head was the most common seriously injured body region, primarily due to contact with the roof side rail and/or vehicle interior. This finding was true for both adolescents and younger pediatric passengers in outboard seating positions. Fifty percent of head injury causation scenarios involving the vehicle interior had component intrusion of 20+ cm at the point of contact. Further exploration of pediatric rollover injury mechanisms using computational modeling and real-world testing is recommended in order to improve upon current mitigation strategies.
Keywords: CIREN; child seats; children; crashes; injury; motor vehicle; pediatric; rollover.