Car headrests and child restraint systems
How do these affect their installation?
Headrests play an essential role in an impact by helping to minimize neck injuries in the event of a rear-end collision.
That is why, when you install a child’s car seat, it is important to ensure that the design of the seat is compatible with the type of headrest in the car. In fact, some child seats are designed to adapt to different headrest configurations.
If the headrest interferes with the child restraint system, we must assess the best option for making sure that the system is properly installed. Here are some general guidelines to help you make this assessment correctly:
- The headrest should not interfere with the installation of the child restraint system, nor should it vary its installation angle. If there is contact between these two elements, the headrest should be moved to a position where it does not interfere with the child restraint system.
- If in the highest position it still interferes with the child restraint system, you must assess whether that particular child restraint system is suitable for your vehicle, especially if you are trying it out in the store and have not yet purchased it.
- As a general rule, do not remove the headrest from the vehicle.
Taking out the headrest is not recommended for several reasons. The main one is that child restraint systems are not tested in rear impacts, so their own headrest does not act as such in this type of collision. It is therefore necessary that the vehicle’s backrest or headrest is ALWAYS located behind the child seat’s head restraint.
Based on this principle, we can only remove the headrest if the entire child restraint system is in contact with the seat back, thereby ensuring that in the event of a rear-end collision there will be no rearward deformation of the child restraint system and the risk of injury is reduced to a minimum.
If the headrest of the child restraint system is above the backrest, it is not possible to remove the headrest from the vehicle under any circumstances.
Some child restraint system manufacturers recommend removing the headrest from the vehicle to ensure that the child seat is correctly installed, but this means that the child seat will not guarantee adequate support in the event of a rear-end collision, for which the child restraint system has not been tested.
In these cases, we recommend choosing a different child restraint system that does not require the headrest to be removed from the car.
Another option to consider is installing the child seat system in the middle, since the headrest and the center seat are usually designed differently from the side seats.
Given that when you get into the car you do not know if you will have an accident, you must ensure that the child seat is fitted correctly and that the head restraint in the vehicle guarantees the highest level of safety, even beyond the product’s type-approval.