Children have strangled when their heads became entrapped in structural openings of children's products. To analyze these accidents, we applied human factors principles of anthropometry, childhood development, perception, behavior, and biomechanics. Children under 5 years of age became entrapped either head first, feet first, or neck first. Four product characteristics contributed to accidents: product function, product weight/size, opening location, and opening configuration.
From this analysis, we developed a standard procedure for evaluating product openings. This procedure describes how to develop test fixtures to simulate the smallest and largest users at risk. This work can assist, and has assisted, product designers, manufacturers, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission in reducing head entrapment in product openings. For example, this procedure was used to develop provisions in ASTM voluntary standards for baby gates and enclosures, bunk beds, and playground equipment.
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