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Safety Archive

Headrests and Car Seats

So, it seems I’m the only one who likes to write, lol.  That’s OK.  Guess I’ve just got a lot of hot air to share :D.

There was a post on car-seat.org regarding headrests and car seats.  It’s a frequent problem that headrests stick forward and interfere with the installation of some forward-facing car seats.  These headrests are safe for people because they are closer to heads and reduce injury rates for whiplash and other neck injuries, but they push car seats forward making it so they don’t sit flush against the vehicle seat.  A common practice has been to take the headrest out, flip it around backwards, and reinsert the headrest into position.  Since the headrest is flat on the back, the car seat then sits flat against the vehicle seat.  It also allows the headrest to stay in the vehicle so that if the car seat or booster needs to be removed for an adult passenger, that person has head support.  Otherwise, best practice would be to just remove the headrest.

Sounds great, right?  The perfect solution.  Maybe not. 

Slot heights

I’ve been noticing over the past, oh, year or so that a lot of online advocates have been telling parents to measure their kids’ torsos to get an idea of which seats would be appropriate for them.  “Sit ‘em up against a wall and measure from the floor to their shoulders.”  This is a relatively new way of thinking in this field.  We’ve always been concerned about harness slot height and have always recommended that parents look at car seats with high top harness slots, among other features.

I’ll admit I’ve been a bit skeptical about the accuracy of this method of measurement.  After all, how a child measures against a wall is really quite different vs. how a child measures when they’re sitting in a car seat because the car seat can take on different angles in a vehicle depending on the angle of the vehicle seat and the angle at which the car seat is installed.

I measured my 42″ 4.5 yr old dd today to see how accurate it really is.  She measured 14.75″ from floor to shoulder.  I sat her in a Touriva in the house and she still had about .5″ to go before reaching the middle of the top harness slots (the Touriva has 15″ top harness slots).  Yep, she’s got mom’s short torso and will have fun shopping for jeans that fit later in life :).

So, I guess the method does work, assuming we’re giving out good measurements on seats.

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Are Your Kids Safe?  Motor Vehicle Crashes are the #1 cause of death for children and adults, age groups 1 to 34.  Selecting a safe vehicle and properly using child restraints and seatbelts may be the most important things you can do to protect your family.  Need tips on installing or advice on buying car seats?  No question is a bad one!   Thank you for visiting; please buckle-up and drive safely.

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