Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Altenhof, William


airway, child restraint system, child seat challenge, crash safety, head restraints, preemie infant



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


This research focuses on methods to reduce the frequency of negative health events experienced by premature and low birth weight infants in child safety seats as well as methods to mitigate some of the risk of injury to an infant during both crash events and aggressive driving conditions. Simulations were carried out using a computer model of an anthropomorphic testing device within a child safety seat subjected to various aggressive driving conditions, a frontal impact, and a side impact. The performance of the system was based on neck angle, observed head acceleration and various loads in the neck of the infant dummy. Two different prototypes were investigated; a preemie positioning device and a head restraint system. It was observed that the preemie positioning device was able to reduce head accelerations by up to 13.2 percent in front and side impact simulations, while keeping similar levels of neck forces and increasing the amount of neck extension up to 20 percent. The head restraint system in turn provided a small increase of 3.2 percent in the neck angle observed and a reduction of 10.3 and 16.3 percent for the peak head accelerations and neck forces experienced in the frontal impact. Meanwhile a decrease of neck angle by 5.5 percent and increase in head acceleration by 14.2 percent with neck forces lowered by 7 percent at the lower neck joint in the side impact.