Recommended standards for helmet design in children based on anthropometric and head mass measurements in 223 children ages six to seventeen

Stephen Olvey, Terry R. Trammell, Andrew Mellor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Currently, no high impact helmet standards exist for children. To meet the rising demand for these helmets in the youth market, manufacturers have basically downsized adult helmets. Children's heads and necks are very different than are adult's. Therefore, youth helmets do not provide the same level of protection as do adult helmets. We determined head mass and circumference in 128 childhood athletes aged 7 to 17, as well as made 95 separate anthropometric measurements from skull x-rays of children aged 6 to 17. We defined two distinct age groups. Group A, ages 6 to 11, and Group B ages 12 to 17. Comparing these measurements to adult measurements, and using previously reported anatomical differences we were able to show that the heads and necks of children are much different than are adults in mass, circumference and the ratio of head length to neck length. And, that these differences point out real and potential issues with youth helmets. Recommendations for new helmets are suggested, and the need for youth helmet standards is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSAE Technical Papers
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006
EventMotorsports Engineering Conference and Exhibition - Dearborn, MI, United States
Duration: Dec 5 2006Dec 7 2006


OtherMotorsports Engineering Conference and Exhibition
CountryUnited States
CityDearborn, MI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Automotive Engineering
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Pollution
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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