Add On HeadRest

Whiplash Protection - Comfort & Support
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A properly adjusted head restraint can reduce whiplash injury in a car accident
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HeadRest For Whiplash Protection


Head restraints are supposed to keep motorists heads from being snapped back in rear-end whiplash car crashes.

Over 80 percent of Americans do not properly adjust the head restraints in their car, usually this is a task they need to do only once. It's been estimated that by simply adjusting the car head restraint, injuries could be reduced by as much as 38%.

Women, who have been shown to carry more of a risk of injury in whiplash crashes as men, are less likely to properly adjust their head restraints. This simple act could greatly decrease the chances of injury in a rear impact crash. However, studies have suggested that with the head restraint set to its lowest position, injury is even more likely than would be the case if no head restraint was present! So it is very important to always be sure your head restraint is optimally adjusted.

Head restraint evaluations are based on two criteria, the first of which is the distance down from the top of an occupant's head to the top of the restraint. A head restraint should be at least as high as the head's center of gravity, which just about 9 centimeters (just under 4 inches) below the top of the head of an average size male. The second criteria is backset, or the distance from the back of an occupant's head to the front of the restraint. This distance should be small - the smaller the better. Backsets greater than 10 centimeters (4 inches) have been associated with increased symptoms of neck injury in car crashes.

The rate of neck injury complaints is 15 percent lower in cars and SUVs with head restraints rated good compared with poor. The results for serious injuries are more dramatic. Thirty-five percent fewer insurance claims for neck injuries lasting 3 months or more are filed for cars and SUVs with good seat/head restraints than for ones rated poor.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, One of the only non-profit research organizations investigating injuries related to low-speed rear impact collisions, evaluated head restraints in 164 - 1995 cars. They rated the restraints for appropriate geometry, and categorized the cars as good, acceptable, marginal, and poor. The results were dismal. Only five models were given good ratings, while eight were graded as acceptable, and 117 as poor. Only one American car appeared in the acceptable category. What does this mean to the driver or passenger of these cars? It means that the risk of serious whiplash injury is increased by a factor of from 1.6 to 6 when the head restraints are poorly positioned. Not surprisingly, tall drivers are at greater risk than shorter drivers.

More than half of all 1997 passenger vehicles have poor restraints. Fewer than 3% have head restraint designs with good geometry.

Look at the IIHS Head Restraint rating chart below to get an idea of how your car's head restraint rates.

Legend

Good  
Acceptable  
Marginal  
Poor  

PASSENGER CAR 1997
RATING
PASSENGER CAR 1997
RATING
Acura CL + TL Poor HYUNDAI ALL Poor
Acura Integra Acceptable Lexus ES 300 Acceptable
Audi A4, A6 + A8 Poor Lexus SC 300 Poor
BMW 3 series + Z3 Poor LINCOLN ALL Poor
BMW 5 + 8 series Marginal Mazda 626 Poor
BUICK ALL Poor Mercedes C class Marginal
Cadillac Catera Acceptable Mercedes E class Good
Cadillac Deville Poor MERCURY ALL
exceptions:
Mystique + Villager
Poor

Marginal
Cadillac Eldorado Poor Mitsubishi Diamante
Eclipse, Mirage,300
Marginal
Cadillac Seville Poor Mitsubishi Gallant +
Mirage
Acceptable
CHEVROLET ALL
exceptions:
Astro & Malibu
Poor

Marginal
NISSAN ALL Marginal
CHRYSLER ALL
exception:
Sebring convertible
Poor

Not measured
OLDSMOBILE ALL
exception:
Silhouette
Poor

Marginal
DODGE ALL
exception:
Avenger
Poor

Marginal
PLYMOUTH ALL Poor
FORD ALL
exception:
Contour bucket seat
Poor

Marginal
PONTIAC ALL
exceptions:
G Prix + G Sport
Poor

Marginal
Honda Accord cloth Poor SATURN ALL Poor
Honda Accord leather Marginal Toyota Avalon, Corolla Tercell Poor
Honda Civic Marginal Toyota Camry Acceptable
Honda Civic del Sol Good VOLKSWAGEN ALL Poor
Honda Prelude Marginal VOLVO ALL Good

"In stop and go traffic,you’re more likely to get in a rear-end collision than any other kind of crash, so you’re more likely to need your seat and head restraint than any other safety system in your vehicle,” says David Zuby, the Institute’s senior vice president for vehicle research. “This is why it’s so important to fit vehicles with seats and head restraints that earn good ratings for saving your neck."

Correct HeadRest AdjustmentThe Institute has been measuring and rating head restraint geometry since 1995. The higher and closer a restraint is, the more likely it will be to prevent neck injury in a rear collision.

More and more cars are being equipped with seats and head restraints rated good. When the Institute started evaluating and comparing the geometry of the head restraints in 1995 model cars, only a handful were rated good and 80 percent were poor. Then the automakers responded, and by 2004 about 4 of every 5 head restraints had good or acceptable geometry. Similarly, the dynamic performance of seat/head restraint combinations is improving. Only 12 percent of 2004 model cars had combinations rated good, but by the 2007 model year the proportion had increased to 29 percent.

Head Restraint Tests

The key to reducing whiplash injury risk is the geometry of the head restraint which has to be adequate — high enough and near the back of the head.

Effectiveness of head restraints according to an early study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA):

- Head restraints - both the integral and adjustable types have significantly reduced whiplash injuries in rear impact crashes.

- Head restraints are effective because they have been performing as intended in highway crashes: they support the head and neck and prevent hyperextension.

- The restraints do not appear to have had any unforeseen benefits, such as reducing rear impact fatalities, nonwhiplash injuries, or forms of whiplash other than hyperextension.

- The restraints do not appear to have any significant negative side-effects, such as increasing rear impact fatalities, aggravating rear-seat occupants' injuries in frontal crashes or causing accidents because they block a driver's view to the side and rear.

- Integral seats are nearly twice as effective as adjustable restraints. The difference can be attributed to the failures by occupants to position their adjustable restraints correctly - current adjustable restraints, when left unextended, do not adequately protect a person of average height.

With so many head restraints lacking the proper geometry, you can ensure the best whiplash protection regardless of the year of your vehicle by using the Add On Headrest!


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