Innovative Program Marks a Decade of Innovation in Child Safety

CHOP-based research center connects academia and auto industry to keep children safe--in traffic and elsewhere

Nov 19, 2015, 10:48 ET from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 19, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In marking its 10th anniversary, the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS) has proven that its unique model for collaboration between industry members, academia and government in a pre-competitive environment can lead to innovation in product development and policy that prevents injuries and saves children's lives. Based at research sites at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and The Ohio State University (OSU), CChIPS represents a sustainable, high-value mechanism for leveraging limited federal research funding allocated to child safety to fill vital gaps in research and development.

The program is an Industry/University Cooperative Research Center supported by the National Science Foundation and by its own Industry Advisory Board (IAB). Primarily focused on traffic safety, CChIPS has facilitated over 100 research projects on child injury prevention, spanning injury biomechanics, technological solutions, human interaction with safety technology, safety promotion and education, and the evaluation of safety devices. Representatives from IAB member companies work with researchers primarily based at CHOP and OSU to answer research questions pivotal to technical and programmatic advances in pediatric public health. The IAB gathers members from industry, small business, nonprofits, and government, including auto manufacturers, child restraint manufacturers, insurance companies, advocacy organizations, and others.

"CChIPS brings competitors, manufacturers, advocates, policymakers and scientists around the same table to address practical questions around child safety," says Kristy Arbogast, PhD, CHOP principal investigator and CChIPS co-director. John Bolte, PhD, director of OSU's Injury Biomechanics Research Center and CChIPS co-director, agrees: "An academic can't keep research relevant and actionable without this type of collaboration, which is unique to our Center."

This approach allows CChIPS to fashion a research portfolio to respond to real-world challenges identified by the IAB and the research team.  The funded investigators work closely with project-specific IAB mentors to guide the research and apply the findings to engineering or programmatic changes. "The high rates of traffic injury and mortality among children have created a public health crisis that requires immediate research solutions," says CHOP's Flaura Winston, MD, PhD, CChIPS founder and director. "CChIPS provides a unique mechanism for timely, rigorous research to be conducted that has a tangible impact on products, policies and, ultimately, families."

"CChIPS provides a unique opportunity to work with people all across the auto industry, and within industries that I don't typically collaborate with, like car seat manufacturers, the insurance industry, and consultants," says Schuyler St. Lawrence, assistant manager for Safety Technical and Regulatory Affairs at Toyota USA.

These collaborations have led to tangible advancements, in products generated from CChIPS projects. "We have two current new product initiatives that were generated from CChIPS projects," says Eric Dahle, director of Engineering and Program Management of IAB member Evenflo Company Inc. "We are also launching four new products in the next six months that will build off information researched in the CChIPS projects."

The CChIPS IAB has expanded from six founding members in 2005 (all remaining active) to its current 22 members. By pooling its annual $50,000 membership fees in 2015, the IAB leverages those member investments into a sizeable $850,000 fund to support the center's mission – a 16-fold annual Return on Investment (ROI).

CChIPS also invests in the next generation of scientists and engineers. Every CChIPS research project includes at least one student, a fact that is central to its commitment to creating a diverse, internationally competitive, and globally engaged science and engineering workforce focused on injury prevention. Under Bolte's leadership, OSU's annual Injury Biomechanics Symposium was established over a decade ago to specifically meet the needs of students pursuing a career in injury biomechanics.

With motor vehicle crashes remaining a leading cause of death for children and adolescents, traffic safety has been – and will continue to be – a primary focus of the CChIPS research portfolio. The Center is also looking forward to other safety topics that impact children, including bicycle and pedestrian safety, aviation safety, sports injury prevention, and trauma care and treatment.

"As we look ahead to expanding our research portfolio, we will continue to utilize the model established during our first decade – conducting rigorous, impactful research that's responsive to what's happening in the real world, all with a goal to save children's lives," says Winston.  "We see a future with even greater impact through expanded membership and greater investment by corporations, foundations and government in this cost-effective mechanism to fuel the next generation of evidence and innovation to save children's lives."

To download a report and timeline documenting innovation in child injury prevention and CChIPS' contributions over the past 10 years, visit

About the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies
The Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS) at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and The Ohio State University (OSU) is a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center (I/UCRC) that focuses exclusively on making children and adolescents safer. Through CChIPS, researchers from CHOP, The University of Pennsylvania, and OSU work side by side with industry members to conduct translational research that is practical to industry. This synergistic collaboration between industry and academia creates an ideal environment to generate ideas for new research projects and to leverage shared expertise and resources. The CChIPS method applies the science of biomechanical epidemiology to the analysis of crash-related data. A unique and comprehensive approach, biomechanical epidemiology integrates the principles of engineering, behavioral science, and epidemiology into study designs.

About The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia was founded in 1855 as the nation's first pediatric hospital. Through its long-standing commitment to providing exceptional patient care, training new generations of pediatric healthcare professionals and pioneering major research initiatives, Children's Hospital has fostered many discoveries that have benefited children worldwide. Its pediatric research program is among the largest in the country. In addition, its unique family-centered care and public service programs have brought the 535-bed hospital recognition as a leading advocate for children and adolescents. For more information, visit


CONTACT:  Camillia Travia
The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

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SOURCE The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia