How to Use Head Restraints Correctly To Prevent Neck Injuries

by Kshitij Rawat | 12/05/2020
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Did you know that the headrest on your car seat is a safety feature? Here, we will not only tell you the importance of it, but also how to properly use them.

Headrests (or head restraints, technically speaking) are largely overlooked by people, and usually aren’t even considered to be a safety feature. That doesn’t mean you should ignore them, in fact, we’re here to tell you why you should be paying more attention to them!

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Head whiplash and neck injuries are quite common in accidents involving rear-end collisions. When hit from behind, a car is pushed forwards, but the inertia of the occupants tries to keep them stationary. As such, the body of a person (which is in contact with the seat) gets pushed forward, but the head is flung backwards. With properly set up headrests, you can prevent this from happening, thus reducing the risk of a serious injury to you and your fellow passengers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a non-profit organization in the US, neck injuries can be prevented if the head is properly restrained, even in cases of severe crashes.

IIHS headrest adjustment safety

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Adjusting your head restraints is quite a simple task. Here, we’ve broken it down into a few simple steps.

Step 1: Firstly, you need to position the headrest high enough to support your head in the event of a collision and minimise neck distortion. If your headrest has a concave shape, try to level the head restraints to the top of your head. If it has a convex shape instead, try to level the outermost bulk to the base of the skull (where the neck ends).

Step 2: If you’re on the taller side, adjust the headrest to the top-most position. If you are short, no worries! If the headrest reaches higher than your head, even without adjusting, you may leave it as it won’t be a problem.

Step 3: Adjust your seat’s recline angle in order to reduce the distance between your head and the headrest. The longer the distance, the bigger the impact will be on the neck and the back of your head. Try to minimise the distance to less than four inches.

Step 4: Do not slouch while sitting. Some people tend to droop their neck forward, which puts their head away from the restraint. Also, it is a bad sitting posture in general. Try to keep your neck and head straight, in line with your spine.

Image courtesy Cars.com

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