Influence of wet surfaces and fall height on pediatric injury risk in feet-first freefalls as predicted using a test dummy

Ernest Deemer, Gina Bertocci, Mary Clyde Pierce, Fernando Aguel, Janine Janosky, Ev Vogeley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Falls are a major cause of morbidity and mortality in children, but are also reported falsely in child abuse. Therefore, it is of interest to understand those factors which may lead to a higher likelihood of injury in a feet-first freefall. We used laboratory freefall experiments and a 3-year-old Hybrid III anthropomorphic test dummy (ATD) to assess head and femur injury risk. Wet and dry linoleum impact surfaces were used from three fall heights: 22, 35 and 47 in. For a given fall height, dry surfaces were associated with higher head injury criteria (HIC) values than wet surfaces. Changes in fall height 22-47 in. did not significantly affect HIC values for falls onto either surface. Generally, compressive and bending femur loading increased significantly for wet as compared to dry linoleum. In simulated feet first freefall experiments up to 47 in. using a 3-year-old test dummy, a low risk of contact type head injury and femur fracture was found. However, both fall height and surface conditions influenced femur loading and head injury measures. Future efforts should explore the risk of head injury associated with angular acceleration in freefalls.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-39
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Volume27
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2005

Keywords

  • Child abuse
  • Falls
  • Femur fracture
  • Head injury
  • Pediatric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering

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