Car Seat Safety: Experts Issue Warning Over 'Common Headrest Mistake' Parents Make

'In a crash, the child will come forward, the seat needs to go with them.'

Wedging your child’s car seat under a headrest could prove dangerous, safety experts have warned.

Child Seat Safety Limited shared a post on Facebook and Twitter alerting parents, carers and family members that this method could injure their child. The company added that the best thing for parents to do is to remove the headrests entirely before fitting the car seat.

“In a crash, the child will come forward, the seat needs to go with them,” a spokesperson wrote on Facebook. “If it’s wedged in by the head restraint the child will come forward without the protection of the seat.

“Remove the head restraints and put in the boot or turn them around.”

Jan James, CEO of family safety brand Good Egg Safety, told HuffPost UK: “This is not an uncommon issue, we have seen this at many of our car seat checking events.

“It is easily resolved by removing the vehicle headrest so that it doesn’t interfere with the effectiveness of the child car seat which obviously must take priority.

“Many parents don’t realise this, but it’s an easy error to fix.”

Stuart Howarth, Good Egg’s car seat expert, added that even if you don’t have the car seat wedged in under the headrest, it can still be problematic.

“Headrests in vehicles coming into contact with the child’s car seat and those more dangerously used to wedge the seats in can cause more damage to a child,” he said.

“The ones wedged in will prevent the natural movement of a seat if involved in a collision.

“The ones that have the seat resting against the headrest will cause a secondary recoil on the child seat and potentially push the child’s head forward again when it should have come to rest.

“There should be distinctive clearance on all child restraints between the headrest in the vehicle and the top of the child’s seat.”

According to UK law, all children travelling in the front or rear seat of any car, van or goods vehicle must use the correct child car seat. This applies until they are either 135cm in height or 12 years old (whichever they reach first). For more information on which car seats would best suit your child, read this explainer.