Head Rest Safety for Children

Reader question:

Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but I have a jeep and recently my daughter got big enough to stop using her car seat, so now she’s sitting in a lower back seat. Now, this seat doesn’t have head rests, but the front seats do. Is it safe for passengers in the back seat? If not, I was thinking of getting an SUV which does have head rests on back seats. I figure they must have had a reason to put them there.

John

Good question.

I’m glad to hear that you’re thinking about this, because head rests are a very important safety feature that decrease the risk of head and neck injury during a collision. This risk is just as high in the back seats as it is in the front, so there is no reason for the back seats to be without head rests. Head rests have been around for a while, and it is possible to adjust them for height and weight so that it would fit your daughter’s body type.

Head rests have actually been required by the U.S. government as a necessary safety feature for almost forty years on the front seats of cars, and with good reason. In 1991, this rule also began to cover vehicles like trucks and, yours truly, Jeeps. However, head rests on the back seats hasn’t ever been a requirement and there are many manufacturers that don’t put them there. Most of them do, due to the demand for safer cars, but some don’t.

Vehicles like Jeeps are cheaper, and for this reason you might not get the same kinds of safety features that you might get on a more expensive, more strongly built vehicle. Now, that doesn’t mean that you absolutely have to get rid of your Jeep, although you should remedy the situation because your daughter sitting back there without a headrest is dangerous. However, there are a couple of things that you can do.

For one, you can get a seat from a junkyard which comes with a headrest. Then again, in order to get it to fit your car, it would have to be from the same model, and since your car never had head rests in any of its models, that wouldn’t exactly work. Instead, get yourself a copy of the yellow pages and look under Van Converters. You can hire one of these guys to replace the one that you already have, and they also have insurance liability. Still, though, it might be easier just to get a safer car. Consider that Jeeps don’t get very good ratings in crash tests over all, it could be that there is more wrong than just a lack of head rests.

Cheers,

Fashun Guadarrama.

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Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."