Is your headrest adjusted properly?

Posted By on January 15, 2006

Headrest adjustmentHow many of you adjust your headrest in your car or truck for safety? If you are like me, you probably rarely think about it unless your on a long trip and want a little support behind your head. Actually, I’ve never really given much thought to how to adjust it properly until recently.

The other day, the subject came up on an automotive forum when a member was rearended (also here). He is ok, but did suffer mild whiplash. This stimulated a conversation, some thinking and several suggestions as to the purpose and proper adjustment of the headrest. Is yours adjusted properly?

According to a study by the Canadian Safety Council, “drivers and passengers can reduce the risk of whiplash simply by raising their headrests to a safe position, where the headrest is level with the top of the head and 5 to 10 cm from the back of the head.” For those of us still struggling to ‘image’ metric in our heads … that’s about 2 to 4 inches. My suggestion is to sit in your seat when you think the headrest is adjusted properly, clench your fist and place it behind your head. If your fist doesn’t squarely touch both your head (not the neck) and the head rest then make some adjustments … oh and share this commonsense adjustment with those you care about. You could save yourself or someone injury to your spine.

Click to download a “Save Your Neck Checklist” PDF from


Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
My Desultory Blog