Head Restraint Geometry

As a chiropractor in SE Portland, knowing more about auto safety is important.  One important factor in preventing injuries associated with rear impact crashes is head restraint geometry. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety has published its recommendation for backset (horizontal distance between back of head and the headrest), and topset (vertical distance from the top of the head to the top of the headrest)summarized by the following diagram:

Safe Position for Headrest

And in the following video Adrian Lund (president of the IIHS) explains testing done to evaluate seats, seat backs, and head restraints: LINK

The implications of this are a) medical: inadequate or improperly adjusted head restraints being a prognostic factor in the recovery of an injured occupant, and b) legal: having a knowledgeable chiropractic doctor who fully understands these concepts and can explain them in the event that a patient does not fully recover (See Prognosis).

The take home message? Prevent or reduce injuries in your family and friends by adjusting the head restraint in your vehicles.

Adjust the top of the head restraint so it is at least the height of the ear-top, and with restraints that have further ability, adjust it so less than 3 inches behind the head.

And finally, if you're in a crash, come see a chiropractor in SE Portland with a passion for auto injuries. 

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