A new CEN Technical Report on children’s anthropometric and strength data will facilitate the design of ergonomic products

CEN is happy to announce the recent publication of a new technical report, CEN/TR 17698 ‘Ergonomics - Demands and Availability of anthropometric and strength data of children in Europe’. This TR is based on the results of a project on anthropometric and strength data of children in Europe (funded by the European Commission). Its objective is to help relevant stakeholders to identify and possibly acquire the anthropometric and strength data they need to make their products or services.

Appropriate and correct anthropometric and strength data are the basis for the design of safe, ergonomic and useable products which enhance user experience and comfort. These data are also essential for specifying safety requirements and test methods in product standards. Furthermore, anthropometric and strength data are a prerequisite for product design and standardization for many new and innovative emerging sectors, such as electric and autonomous vehicles, Design for All and (smart) electric household appliances.


Presently, the availability of anthropometric and strength data is very limited, and access is restricted. Furthermore, data are often outdated. As such, a lack of data can result in products that are unsafe or not fit for purpose, and lead to insufficient safety requirements being included in product standards.


Based on this issue, CEN/TR 17698 will help stakeholders to identify and possibly acquire the data needed: it contains guidance on identifying reliable and accessible sources of anthropometric and strength data for the European population under the age of 18 years published since 2000. Children’s anthropometric and strength data is not only important for products specifically intended for children, but also for other products with which children come into contact. The TR shows that, for some applications, the available data does not include all the body dimensions needed. It also shows that, for some body dimensions, the data is only available for specific age ranges or parts of Europe.


CEN/TR 17698 is intended to be an intermediate solution: a second phase of the project, expected to end in 2025, foresees the publication of two additional TRs. One of them will provide actual statistical anthropometric and strength data of children in Europe. The second document will provide guidelines on how to apply anthropometric and strength data correctly to the design of products and the determination of safety requirements for product standards.


The benefits of the process brought forward by the new Technical Report promise to be many: providing access to accurate and up-to-date anthropometric and strength data will directly allow European manufacturers to design products specifically for the intended users. This is especially true for SMEs, which do not have the financial capacities to acquire the required anthropometric data by other means, such as by purchasing from a private provider, or for those whose main business is not focused on products for children but on other domestic products with which children come into contact, such as furniture, sports equipment or household appliances.


Providing access to such data will also support CEN technical committees in drafting appropriate requirements and test methods when working on standards for children’s products. The data will also help to develop standards which will be used in implementing EU directives and mandates: for instance, thanks to the new TR, CEN/TC 52 ‘Safety of Toys’ will have access to the data to support the implementation of Directive 2009/48/EC on the safety of toys.


Should you want to know more on this topic:

On 30 November, CEN is hosting the Webinar 'Anthropometric and strength data of children for use in standardization' to inform on the status of the project and showcase the importance of work on the area.


You can register here.


Jennifer OGBONNA


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