In the framework of the 13th International Conference on Protection of Children in Cars (link) organized by TÜV SÜD and recently held in Munich (Germany), the obstetrics, gynecology and neonatology doctor and professor Elizabeth Clarke gave her talk on the specific care required for premature or underweight children.
In the monograph dedicated to children with special needs, the tenured professor of the University of New South Wales (Australia) shared the need to protect 22 percent of babies born in Australia with a weight less than 3 kilograms with the attendees.
With the desire to ensure the right of all children to ride safely in cars as indicated in the regulations of the U.S. (U.S. FMVSS 213), Europe (ECE 44) and Australia and New Zealand (AS/NZA 4370; 2013), Doctor Elizabeth Clarke defends the need to develop specific seats.
Regulations in hand, tests were undertaken comparing seats especially designed for a 2.5 kilo dummy simulating a child with a lower-than-normal weight and mass and normal convertible seats. From a sample of 90 children, it was shown that seats specifically designed to transport underweight children adjusted much better to their bodies.
The difference lies in how the harness secures the body of the child and, after buckling and leaving a space of two fingers, the straps are at an appropriate height to prevent movement. While 80 percent of the conventional seats leave the shoulder straps at a reasonable height, only 50 percent to 65 percent correctly adjust the other restraints (shoulder width, waist and lap belt).
According to these studies, Professor Clarke emphasized the need to continue working closely the manufactures to develop suitable child retention systems that do not only comply with regulations but are also effective in their mission to keep children safe.