Influence of fall height and impact surface on biomechanics of feet-first free falls in children

Gina E. Bertocci*, Mary Clyde Pierce, Ernest Deemer, Fernando Aguel, Janine E. Janosky, Eva Vogeley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: The objectives of our study were to assess biomechanics associated with feet-first free falls in 3-year-old children and to investigate the influence of impact surface type and fall height on key biomechanical measures associated with injury risk. Methods: Repeatable feet-first free fall experiments were conducted in a laboratory mock-up environment using an instrumented Hybrid II 3-year-old test dummy. Impact surface type and fall height were varied to examine their influence on biomechanical measures. Results: Feet-first falls from short distances (27in.) (0.69m) were found to have a low risk of contact-type head injury, regardless of impact surface type. When comparing different types of impact surfaces in a 27in. (0.69m) fall, head acceleration associated with falls onto playground foam was significantly less than that associated with falls onto wood, linoleum or padded carpet. For falls onto playground foam, femoral compressive loads and bending moments were found to significantly increase as fall height increased. Conclusions: Impact surface type and fall height were found to influence biomechanics associated with injury risk in feet-first free falls as assessed through experimental mock-ups using an instrumented child test dummy. Feet-first falls from short distances (27in.) (0.69m) were associated with a low risk of contact-type head injury as assessed using HIC, irrespective of impact surface type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-424
Number of pages8
JournalInjury
Volume35
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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