This study documents four clinical cases of fatal crush injuries to children between 1.5 and 6 years of age with correlations between modeled stress and clinically observed fracture patterns.
The clinical case fractures were concentrated in the basicranium, bridged the impact sites, and traversed the middle cranial fossa in the area of the spheno-occipital synchondrosis. The crushing forces from these cases were reproduced on a simplified finite element model of a cranium by applying bilateral pressures to corresponding regions. Numerous trials were run to develop a representative pattern of principal stress directions. In all cases, the highest tensile stresses were located on the basicranium and corresponded to the observed fracture path. These results suggest that prefailure stress field diagrams may predict fracture propagation paths, although these will not be exact. Also, these analyses indicate that quasi-static bilateral loading of the cranium may lead to predictable fracture of the basicranium. (Published Abstract)