Under current aviation regulations the travel of infants and smaller children is not sufficiently targeted in terms of safety, reflecting a lack of suitable restraint systems. Improvements in child safety whilst travelling in aircraft is anticipated to be viable, once the required specifications for technical equipment and operational procedures have been defined and implemented.
IMPCHRESS aimed at improvements in the safety of children whilst travelling in aircraft, particularly for a survivable accident or dangerous aviation incident. Specific objectives of the project were to increase awareness of the situation and to give an overview of current operational statistics (both in Europe and the USA). In addition, the project aimed to develop a European Specification for Infant Passenger Restraints in Aircraft as a proposal for modifications of certification and operations requirements by the European Joint Aviation Authorities (JAA).
IMPCHRESS has produced:
- A Present State Document (PSD), reporting on relevant travel and accident statistics, summarising test experience with currently used infant and child restraint devices (CRDs), The PSD discusses restraint regulations of aviation authorities and presents the opinions of aviation authorities, operating airlines, cabin crews and consumer groups on current CRD practice.
- A Technical Reference Document covering biomechanical parameters that has to be considered when applying and using CRD systems. The issues cover the definition of child groups, relevant test criteria applied to standard aircraft seats, specification of test dummies, categorisation of CRD tests, definition of test equipment, definition of standard adult seats, performance criteria to be adopted, and general concepts for the protection of children.
- A European specification for CRDs as a baseline for integration of the theme into certification and operational regulations by the European JAA. The principal parameters underlying these specifications were:
- the safe restraint of children to the standard of other passengers;
- the minimisation of additional costs to aviation industry;
- the compatibility with European automobile restraint standards;
- harmonisation with the upcoming US standard;
- flexibility in CRD design;
- the inclusion of different flight phases (take-off and landing, cruise flight);
- the need to only use CRDs for passengers weighing less than 18 kg.
The set of specifications for CRDs produced by the project, will be used to propose harmonised certification regulations and operational requirements, of affordable safety improvements for children travelling in commercial aircraft. The European JAA will issue the CRD requirements. Compliance with respective US standards will be sought.