Enabling Protection for Older Children

Project Overview

The EU Directive that covers seat belt wearing requires member states to ensure that children less than 150cm tall (or where there is an exemption - 135cm) travelling in the front or rear seats in cars, vans and goods vehicles must do so in an appropriate child restraint. All child restraint systems sold in the EU must conform to UN-ECE Regulation 44.

TRL led a successful consortium bid to the European Commission, under the 7th Framework, resulting in the award of the EPOCh project. The EPOCh partners are TRL, Humanetics, IDIADA, Dorel and the University of Surrey.

The concept of EPOCh is to drive the improvement of safety for older children travelling in vehicles. This will be done by extending the development of the protocols, test procedures and measurement tools necessary, in view of the recent changes in legislation, to carry out impact tests for restraint systems designed to protect older and larger children in vehicle collisions. The results of this will directly impact European and potentially worldwide testing.

To date, the regulations in the field of child safety have relied on the ‘P’ series child dummies as restraint loading devices. The EC projects, CREST and CHILD worked on the development of the ‘Q’ series of dummies, which have been recommended for use in the NPACS assessment programme. However, consumer test programmes are unable to provide an assessment for children over the age of 6 years with the ‘Q’ series dummy as there is currently no 10/12 year old dummy available. This means that consumers will not be able to make informed decisions when buying a child restraint system for their older children, and hence provide the best protection for them, which is out of step with the recent changes in legislation.

The aims of the EPOCh project are to;
  • Produce a 10/12 year old prototype “Q” series dummy
  • Extend the NPACS testing and rating protocols to include assessments of child restraints for older children
  • Make proposals for pass/fail criteria that will allow the assessment of child restraints for older children in ECE Regulation if the ‘Q’ series dummies replace the ‘P’ series in the future

The results of this three year project will actively promote the safety of older children to the consumer and contribute to the reduction of fatal and seriously injured child occupants.

EPOCh disseminates, when possible, in co-operation with other biomechanics projects involved in FP7 through COVER.