Can The Head Restraints In Your Car Minimize Whiplash?

Health & Medical Blog

Wham! It can come out of nowhere, perhaps as you sit at a stop sign or gently apply the brakes. Another driver, unable to come to a stop, has rear-ended you. Some vehicle accidents that involve being hit from behind can be very traumatic, but in a large number, the most serious injury to driver and passengers is whiplash.

What is whiplash? Whiplash is an injury of the neck that's normally incurred in rear-end car accidents. The damage is done when your head "whips" forward and back, straining muscles and ligaments in your neck. Younger women with weaker neck muscles and elderly people of both genders are most at risk.

Whiplash accounts for almost a quarter of crash injuries. The cost of whiplash injuries in 2007, for example, was $8.8 billion.

What Can You Do to Minimize Whiplash?

Let's face it: You have virtually no control over an accident where you're hit from behind. You can practice defensive driving and keep a watchful eye in your rear-view mirror, but in a majority of accidents, the second driver is entirely at fault and there's nothing that you could do to prevent it.

What you can do is make sure your vehicle is as safe as possible. To minimize injuries from whiplash, having a high-quality and properly adjusted head restraint -- often known as a headrest -- is vital.

What Makes a Head Restraint Safe?

There are five main types of head restraints that you could find in your vehicle. Other car manufacturers may have proprietary types of head rests, but they mainly fit into these categories:

  • A reactive head restraint is activated by the passenger's weight shifting and moves up and forward during a crash.
  • A pro-active head restraint is activated by some sort of crash sensor on the bumper or elsewhere in the car, and automatically moves up and forward in a crash.
  • A reactive seat is a complete seat and head restraint that absorbs the shock of a rear-end crash.
  • A passive seat uses passive foam technology so the passenger doesn't hurt his or her neck in a crash.
  • A traditional seat is most common and features an adjustable head restraint.

Most cars, especially those made before 2010 when specific head restraint regulations went into effect in the U.S., have traditional head restraints. That makes positioning it correctly one of the most vital things you can do to be safer.

How Should the Head Restraint Be Positioned?

A good head restraint won't do any good unless it is correctly positioned for you. Ask two questions to ensure that the head restraint is in the right place:

  1. How high is it? The top of the head restraint should be even with the top of your head, or as close as possible.
  2. How close is it? The restraint should be 2 inches or less from the back of your head. The closer the restraint, the less likely you are to be injured since it will prevent your head from moving as much.

One of the best ways to make sure your head restraints are safe is to purchase a vehicle made since 2010. Look for cars sold by manufacturers known for their safety features. If you end up in an accident and need help, you may try contacting a company like Rosser Chiropractic Center with any questions you have.


21 January 2015

Finding the Right Healthcare: Putting Families First

A few years ago, I experienced a huge health scare with my blood pressure. My doctor at the time didn't offer evening or late night care, which forced me to visit the local emergency room for help. Although it may seem like a small thing to some people, not having access to my doctor when I needed it really bothered me. It bothered me so much that I searched for a new doctor after my child was born. Now, I'm happy with my family's new physician. The doctor offers after-hour care, which is a wonderful thing for us. My blog offers tips on how to find the right doctor for your family, as well as many other services you might need one day. So, please read through the blog for the information you need now.