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How To Properly Position Your Car Seat Headrest


Your car seat headrest serves more purpose than you might have thought. Its main job is to prevent your head from snapping back during impact. Did you know that you can reduce soft-tissue, whiplash-related injuries by as much as 40% by making sure that your headrest is positioned properly?

When you hop in a new car, it is common sense to adjust the seat and mirrors for comfort and visibility; however, most people on the road don’t think to adjust their headrest in the same situation. In fact, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, only 14% of drivers have their headrests properly adjusted. 

Most likely, your vehicle owner’s manuals will have instructions on how to properly position the headrest. Below is an example found in the  2014 Chevrolet Cruze manual. I know you all sit down to thoroughly read your owner’s manual, right?

When you use someone else’s car, like a friend or family member, even as a passenger, do you adjust your headrest? When we spoke with some of our clients, they couldn’t recall the last time they checked their headrests.

We spoke with Natalie Nankil, Media Relations Manager at GM Canada, about car safety. This shed light on how few people pay attention to the adjustable headrest in their cars. So what is the right position? According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, there are 3 easy steps to properly adjust your headrest:

1 – The centre of the headrest should be slightly above the top of the ear

2 – The top of the headrest should be at least as high as the top of the head

3 – Ideally, the distance between the headrest and the back of the head should be between 5 and 10 cm (2 and 4 inches)

Some headrests allow for horizontal adjustment – You can see an example of this type of adjustment on the 2014 Buick Enclave below:


Next time you get into your car, make a quick check on your headrest height as well as your passengers (even the kiddies)! Don’t forget to do the same when you jump into someone else’s vehicle. This may seem like a small thing, but even the little things have big payoffs when it comes to car safety.


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