uncomfortable headrest pushing head forward

Why are headrests uncomfortable and how to solve the issue.

A video is also available: How to fix uncomfortable headrest.


Why are headrests so uncomfortable?

Technically, they’re a safety ‘head restraints’ designed to prevent whiplash neck injury in case of crash. The NHTSA defines the specs that automotive manufacturers must follow.  The specs call for a max gap of 2 inches behind the head to provide effective protection.  The spec is also stated in terms of the “average” body posture should the head restraint be non-adjustable.  Manufacturers must follow this spec, and they are free to develop adjustable tilt head restraints which are beginning to surface in some vehicles.

Since the specs are defined for the “average” body posture, head restraints are comfortable as long as there is a gap behind the head.  For the average person, they are comfortable.  The discomfort occurs for non-average body postures whereby the head restraint pushes the head forward.


 What is whiplash?

  • Whiplash occurs when the neck motion causes injury
  • Head restraints should protect from neck hyperextension
  • Flipping the headrest backwards creates a large gap and is risky
sketch showing whiplash neck hyperextension when headrest flipped backwards


Is whiplash a rare injury?

  • Each year: About 3 million Americans sustain whiplash injuries. 
  • About 1.5 million suffer chronic pain from whiplash.
  • About 300,000 become disabled due to the pain of whiplash.
  • Most whiplash injuries occur at collision speeds below 12 mph.
  • There is no correlation between vehicle damage and extent of injury.
  • Aging significantly increases the risk of whiplash.


One size, doesn’t fit all: You are NOT alone!

Headrest specs are designed for the “average” person.  Not everyone is average and data shows that 16% of the population will experience DISCOMFORT because head-restraints interfere with their natural posture, meaning, that their head will be pushed forward.

statistical data shows that 16% of population will have issues with headrest angles

Recap, and what to do?

A headrest that pushes your head forward Is safe in case of crash, but is very painful for everyday driving.  Such poor seating ergonomics can have related injury. 

Giraffe Cushion repositions the body to achieve proper safety and ergonomics.





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