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Proper positioning of your car seat head restraint may help prevent whiplash injuries.

By Daniel E DAngelo Esq on November 20, 2013

shutterstock_100404964Proper positioning of your car seat and head restraint may help prevent whiplash injuries in car accidents.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, head restraints (also known as a head rest) help prevent whiplash by supporting your head. In a rear-end collision, the seat of the rear-ended car pushes against the occupant’s body propelling the body forward, and if the head is unsupported, it lags behind the body until the neck reaches its limit, and the head then suddenly whips forward. A good head restraint prevents or decreases this by moving a person’s head forward with their body during a rear-end collision.

A properly adjusted head restraint should be even with the top of your head. If it won’t reach the top of your head (or the head’s center of gravity), it should be adjusted as high as possible. If the lowest position is higher than the top of the head, that is acceptable. The distance from the back of the head to the restraint should be as small as possible, preferably less than 4 inches. If the head restraint does not adjust forward, you may need to adjust the seat back forward to achieve the least amount of distance between the back of your head and the head restraint.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety website was the resource for this information. Visit their website for more information on neck injuries and safety ratings for seats, for adults, infants, and children.