This project on the protection of children in cars, encompassed three main themes: accident studies; the development of a dedicated child restraint attachment system (ISOFix); and the development of a side impact test procedure for child restraints. Accident studies were undertaken at four levels: a questionnaire study; analysis of the TRL CCIS database; accidents involving a fatally injured restrained child; and the analysis of a serious injury database. The analyses all confirm the benefits of using child restraints. The observations have shown the need to provide improved protection in side impacts and to avoid loading from luggage by improved seat strength. An experimental sled-based method for evaluating the performance of child restraints, under side impact conditions, has been developed. The method replicates the essential interactions in a real car impact using a test seat on a sled to provide the struck vehicle chassis acceleration, while the intruding door motion is simulated by a hinged door mounted on the sled. Tests with this experimental arrangement demonstrated that this was a practical way to evaluate the performance of child restraints under side impact conditions. TRL has contributed to the development of ISOFix through the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO). The report describes the research leading to the draft proposal for an ISO Standard and concludes that ISOFix with two rear rigid attachments together with an anti-rotation system, such as a top tether, would provide a good basis for a universal system with greatly reduced misuse rates and an improved dynamic performance in accidents. (A)

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