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The potential effects of floor impact surfaces on infant head injury outcome during a short fall

Jones, Michael David ORCID: and Theobald, Peter ORCID: 2011. The potential effects of floor impact surfaces on infant head injury outcome during a short fall. Medicine, Science and the Law 51 (4) , pp. 203-207. 10.1258/msl.2011.011006

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When considering cases of infant head injury as a result of a short fall, investigators often have to base their opinions on the potential severity of a head injury on a scene description and/or photographic evidence of the potential impact surfaces. While variation in the attenuation properties of typical domestic surfaces and underlying support structures have been reported in the literature, this study investigates whether there is a need to consider the nature and composition of specific potential impact floor surfaces/sites, within a scene, prior to providing an opinion about the likely head impact injury outcome. An instrumented headform was impacted within a suspected crime scene to determine whether different potential impact sites posed different risks of producing head injury. The impact acceleration-time waveform, for the headform, was shown to vary considerably across the floor. By applying recognized head impact injury risk measures (peak g and head injury criterion), it was illustrated that the risk of an infant sustaining a significant head injury could vary considerably, depending upon the exact point of impact with the floor. This study highlights the potential for variation in impact force across a scene and illustrates the need to consider surface composition at specific sites across the entire potential impact area, since the risk of head injury can vary significantly. Caution should therefore be exercised when expressing opinions based solely on verbal, written or photographic evidence of head impact surfaces, without due consideration of the specific area onto which a head might have impacted.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Subjects: R Medicine > RJ Pediatrics
T Technology > TA Engineering (General). Civil engineering (General)
Publisher: SAGE Publications
ISSN: 0025-8024
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 14:04

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