Effects of restraint parameters using PIPER 6y in reclined seating during frontal impact

This study explores possible challenges for child occupants in reclined seating positions, applying current protection systems. Using PIPER 6 y in frontal impacts, the aim was to investigate the effect of restraint parameters in reclined seating positions, in addition to an upright position, varying booster design, shoulder belt outlet, and pretensioner activation.

Eighteen full frontal impacts were simulated using the PIPER 6 y human body model restrained on a booster in a front passenger seat. The type of booster, pretensioner activation and shoulder belt outlet were varied with the vehicle seat in ‘upright position’ (25°) and ‘reclined position’ (40°). Three booster principles were used: booster seat (BoosterA), booster cushion (BoosterB) and representing properties of a vehicle built-in booster cushion (BoosterC). The two shoulder belt outlets include ‘nominal D-ring’ and ‘rearward D-ring´.

Overall, activation of the pretensioner reduced the overall body displacement as well as the head and neck response in both seating positions. Submarining occurred only in the case of BoosterB in ‘reclined position’ without pretensioner. Some differences were observed for the lap belt interaction with pelvis in the non-submarining simulations. Greater pelvis displacement was observed in ‘reclined position’ as compared to ‘upright position’. In both seating positions, greatest pelvis displacement was observed for BoosterB, due to relatively more forward initial lap belt position. While both provided favorable initial lap belt to pelvis contact, BoosterC offered more efficient lap belt restraint than BoosterA, since the lap belt remained lower on the pelvis and the vertical movement of the pelvis was more limited compared to BoosterA. When in ‘reclined position’, the ‘rearward D-ring’ position enabled earlier coupling of the torso due to initial shoulder belt to shoulder contact, resulting in lower head and neck responses as well as shorter head displacement compared to ‘nominal D-ring’.

Submarining can be addressed in reclined seating positions using current booster design in combination with a seatbelt pretensioner. Lap belt routing was influenced by booster design and reclined seating, affecting the overall kinematics and responses of the PIPER 6 y. This study highlights the importance of including the whole context of child occupant protection when investigating reclined seating, such as the interaction and compatibility of booster, vehicle seat and seatbelt.

Bohman K, El-Mobader S, Jakobsson L.
Research area
Human body protection
Publication type
Scientific journal paper
Published in
Traffic Injury Prevention
Year of publication