Misuse of Booster Cushions – An Observation Study of Children’s Performance during Buckling Up
Paper in proceedings, 2008
Booster cushions are effective tools to protect children from injuries in car crashes, but there remains a large amount of misuse. The aim of this study was to assess potential misuse of booster cushions in an observational laboratory study, and to identify whether booster cushion design, age or clothing had any effect. 130 Swedish children from the ages of 4-12 years participated. Each child buckled up on an integrated and on an aftermarket booster cushion in the rear seat. The older children also buckled up with seat belt only. Interviews, observations and body measurements were performed. Time to buckle up and amount of belt slack were registered. Photographs were taken to document misuse. Results showed that 77% failed to perform correct belt routing on the aftermarket cushion, independent of age, although they were familiar with this system. The misuse rate for the integrated cushion was only 4%. No misuse was found for seat belt only. Few children tightened the belt. The belt slack increased when wearing winter jackets. This indicates the importance of adding pretensioners to the rear seat. Sled tests with HIII&TNO 6y dummies were also performed for the most frequent misuse situations found. The main conclusion is that an integrated booster cushion has many advantages compared to an aftermarket cushion regarding both safety and comfort. It is easy and quick to handle, has few possibilities for misuse, has an intuitive design, the buckling up sequence is equal to buckling up with an ordinary seat belt, and younger children can buckle up correctly.