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Can I remove the headrest to fit the child seat properly?

Can I remove the car’s headrest to fit a child seat properly?

14/10/2016

Depending on the type of child restraint system you use, you may find that the car seat comes very close to the headrest or even hinders its installation. This raises the question of whether it is OK to remove the headrest. Might this affect your child's safety?

Of course, we are talking about forward-facing child seats in this case as otherwise there would be no problem at all. This is another reason why children should travel in rear-facing child seats until at least the age of four, provided that the child's physical characteristics permit.

A lot will depend on the type of CRS you use, but most child seats have their own headrest, as you can see in our infographic 'The basic parts of a child seat'.

If you notice that the headrest prevents you from fitting the child seat properly, you should do everything possible to ensure that the CRS is properly secured. One of the options is to adjust its height to see if this makes things easier. Another option suggested by some manufacturers is revolving the headrest so the back of it, which is softer, serves as a support.

If it continues to be an obstacle, the best thing to do is remove it completely, although you must always remember that you have done this. You should never let an adult occupy the seat without the headrest being back in place.

On the other hand there is the option of booster cushions that do not have a seatback. In this case there will not be any problem with the headrest. These cushions also play a key role in protecting children but you should always remember that they can only be used once the child has reached a certain size.

Don't forget that the headrest limits excessive movements of the neck in the event of an accident and prevents whiplash. It should be around 4 centimeters from the head and under no circumstances should the head jut above the headrest.

If you have removed the headrest to fit a CRS and you want to put it back in position again, it is important to make sure it is very well anchored and at the right height for the passenger's head. If it is left too low, it can even aggravate an injury.


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