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    Performance Criteria for a Child-Specific Helmet

    Published: 2014

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    Sport helmets used by children are governed by the same impact performance requirements as those used by adults. Although many standards call for the use of variable-mass head-forms in assessing the suitability of such helmets for protecting against traumatic head injury due to blunt trauma, the failure criterion is the same regardless of head-form size. Using existing literature values for important mechanical and physical characteristics of children's heads (such as skull thickness, strength of skull bone, mass and bulk modulus of the brain, etc.), this paper explores the need for a sport helmet intended specifically for children and some of the important performance criteria required for consideration. A simple model of the head–helmet system is used to suggest that impact protection for children requires a combination of material thickness and density to produce helmet liners that are “softer” than those often used in present-day helmets. Helmet failure criteria based upon the dynamic fracture tolerance of skull bone in children are proposed, and hockey helmets are examined in relation to such by determining the force on the head in targeted impacts of 150 g and 275 g. It is suggested that the current failure limits of 275 g to 300 g used in many helmet standards be reexamined.


    helmets, children, design requirements

    Author Information:

    Bishop, Patrick J.
    Univ. of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON

    Kendall, Marshall
    Univ. of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON

    Post, Andrew
    Univ. of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON

    Hoshizaki, Blaine
    Univ. of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON

    Committee/Subcommittee: F08.51

    DOI: 10.1520/STP155220120145