Additional Injury Prevention Criteria for Impact Attenuation Surfacing Within Children's Playgrounds

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Journal Article
ASCE-ASME Journal of Risk and Uncertainty in Engineering Systems, Part B: Mechanical Engineering, 2019, 5 (1)
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© Copyright 2019 by ASME. More than four decades have passed since the introduction of safety standards for impact attenuation surfaces (IAS) used in playgrounds. Falls in children's playground are a major source of injuries and IAS is one of the best methods of preventing severe head injuries. However, the ability of IAS in prevention of other types of injuries, such as upper limb fractures, is unclear. Accordingly, in this paper, ten synthetic playground surfaces were tested to examine their performance beyond the collected head injury criterion (HIC) and maximum G-force (Gmax) outputs recommended by ASTM F1292. The aim of this work was to investigate any limitations with current safety criteria and proposing additional criteria to filter hazardous IAS that technically comply with the current 1000 HIC and 200 Gmax thresholds. The proposed new criterion is called the impulse force criterion (If). If combines two important injury predictor characteristics, namely: HIC duration that is time duration of the most severe impact; and the change in momentum that addresses the IAS properties associated with bounce. Additionally, the maximum jerk (Jmax), the bounce, and the IAS absorbed work are presented. HIC, Gmax, If, and Jmax followed similar trends regarding material thickness and drop height. Moreover, the bounce and work done by the IAS on the falling missile at increasing drop heights was similar for all surfaces apart from one viscoelastic foam sample. The results presented in this paper demonstrate the limitations of current safety criteria and should, therefore, assist future research to reduce long-bone injuries in playgrounds.
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