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Development of a Computer Simulation Model To Describe Potential Bruising Patterns Associated With Common Childhood Falls

NCJ Number
Date Published
September 2017
11 pages
This is the final report on the findings and methodology of a project with the goal of developing and using a 3D computer simulation model to represent a 12-month-old child to predict potential bruising patterns associated with common household falls often falsely reported by parents as the cause of injury from parental abuse.

The virtual bruising detection system (VBDS) developed is capable of simulating falls or other injurious events while measuring and recording force imparted to the body during the event. The VBDS is equipped with 132 virtual sensors capable of detecting the application of force applied to the 3D model representing a 12-month-old child. This project is ongoing at the time of the writing of this report, and it is scheduled for completion by December 31, 2018. Bed-fall experiments using the surrogate bruising detection system (SBDS) have been conducted. The SBDS adapted to an ATD representing a 12-month-old child was used to investigate potential bruising locations (contact during impact) associated with falls from a bed from varying heights and initial positions. Across all trials, primary contact occurred on one plane of the ATD body, with secondary contact occurring only on adjoining planes. No contact was recorded on planes opposite the primary contact plane. This finding is important for forensic investigations, since this feature alone can determine whether the parental description of the fall is biomechanically compatible with a child's presenting injuries. The number of planes where bruising is present should be the first characteristic of injuries to be evaluated when attempting to determine biomechanical compatibility between history and injuries. This knowledge may assist in differentiating between bruising patterns due to an accidental bed fall and bruising patterns potentially caused by parental physical abuse of the child. 4 figures, 19 references, and a listing of 2 scholarly products

Date Published: September 1, 2017