Design and testing of a child restraint for developing countries using low-technology manufacturing methods
As passenger car use becomes more common in developing countries, the number of child passengers killed and injuries also increases. Rates of child restraint use appear to be much lower in developing countries than in the U.S. or Europe. One barrier to increased restraint use is the relatively high cost of child restraints in low- and middle-income countries, where the cost of child restraints can be similar to the U.S. but incomes and typical vehicle prices are much lower. As part of a broader effort to improve child passenger safety worldwide, a team at the University of Michigan has begun development of a child restraint that is intended to be fabricated using lowcost technology in developing countries with minimal capital investment. Providing a design that has been tested successfully to regulatory standards may reduce barriers to entry and allow the restraints to be marketed at low prices. An initial prototype of a convertible child restraint intended for children from birth to 18 kg was tested using FMVSS 213 procedures. The prototype passed all dynamic criteria in a rearward-facing test with the CRABI 12MO and all but head excursion in an untethered forward-facing test with the Hybrid-III 3YO ATD. The performance of the prototype demonstrated that a simply constructed restraint has the potential to provide high levels of safety performance.