Repeatability testing of a new Hybrid III 6-year-old ATD lower extremity

<p><b>Objective</b>: Vehicle safety is improving, thus decreasing the number of life-threatening injuries and increasing the need for research in other areas of the body. The current child anthropomorphic test device (ATD) does not have the capabilities or instrumentation to measure many of the potential interactions between the lower extremity and the vehicle interior. A prototype Hybrid III 6-year-old ATD lower extremity (ATD-LE) was developed and contains a tibia load cell and a more biofidelic ankle. The repeatability of the device has not yet been assessed; thus, the objective was to evaluate the repeatability of the ATD-LE. Additionally, a dynamic assessment was conducted to quantify injury threshold values.</p> <p><b>Methods</b>: A pneumatic ram impactor was used at 2 velocities to evaluate repeatability. The ATD-LE was fixed to a table and impacted on the plantar aspect of the forefoot. Three repeated trials at 1.3 and 2.3 m/s without shoes and 2.3 m/s with shoes were conducted. The consistency of tibia force (N), bending moment (Nm), ankle range of motion (ROM, °), and stiffness (Nm/°) were quantified. A dynamic assessment using knee bolster airbag (KBA) tests was also conducted. The ATD-LE was positioned to mimic 3 worst-case scenarios: toes touching the mid-dashboard, touching the lower dashboard, and flat on the floor prior to airbag deployment. The impact responses in the femur and tibia were directly collected and compared with published injury threshold values.</p> <p><b>Results</b>: Ram impact testing indicated primarily excellent repeatability for the variables tested. For all 3 conditions the coefficients of variance (CV) were as follows: tibia force, 1.9–2.7%; tibia moment, 1.0–2.2%; ROM, 1.3–1.4%; ankle stiffness, 4.8–15.6%. The shoe-on condition resulted in a 25% reduction in tibia force and a 56% reduction in tibia bending moment. The KBA tests indicate that the highest injury risk may be when the toes touch the lower dashboard, due to the high bending moments recorded in the tibia at 76.2 Nm, which was above the injury threshold.</p> <p><b>Conclusions</b>: The above work has demonstrated that the repeatability of the ATD-LE was excellent for tibia force, bending moment, and ankle ROM. The ATD-LE has the ability to provide new information to engineers and researchers due to its ability to directly evaluate the crash response of the ankle and leg. New information on injury mechanism and injury tolerance may lead to injury reduction and thus help advance the safety of children.</p>