Investigation of injury mechanisms in sledging accidents involving children and adults

Stefan Smit*, Johanna Trauner-Karner, Michael Nader, Desiree Kofler, Nico Erlinger, Florian Feist, Corina Klug

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperpeer-review


In this study, injury mechanisms in sledging accidents, which is often regarded as a harmless activity, are investigated. It aims to provide recommendations regarding helmet use and the correct seating position of children when riding together with an adult. Two Human Body Models, the PIPER 6YO (v0.99) and the THUMS-AM50O (v4.02), were used to simulate child and adult sledge riders colliding with a tree. This setup was chosen as collisions with stationary objects frequently lead to serious or even fatal injuries according to the accident analysis. Simulations of a child riding alone with and without helmet as well as simulations of a child and an adult riding together were performed. Different impact velocities (5–30km/h) and impact angles (0–45°) were simulated. Kinematic and strain-based head injury criteria were evaluated alongside strains in cortical bones of the thorax, upper and lower extremities.
Helmet-wearing reduced head injury criteria, regardless of impact velocity and impact angle, although the effect was not equally pronounced for all criteria. When riding together with an adult, children should sit in the rear since this reduces injury metrics for the head and lower extremities. The simulations highlight the benefit of wearing a helmet when riding a sledge.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Research Council on the Biomechanics of Injury 2021
PublisherIRCOBI, International Research Council on Biomechanics on Injury
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 9 Sept 2021


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