I remember when I first turned around my children's car seats, it felt liberating for them and for myself. I could finally see them and they could finally see me, along with the sights of the wondrous roads ahead. But I quickly learned that once they would fall asleep, my task was to continuously push their sleepy heads back, which would fall forward anytime the car stopped. If you're a parent who needs liberation from push back duty, you should know how to keep your toddler's head from slumping forward in a car seat.
According to About Kids Health, sometimes when children sleep in an awkward position for too long, it can put some strain on their neck muscles. But for otherwise healthy children who have full neck control, explained Car Seats For The Littles, your child's neck slumping forward in the car seat looks more painful than it really is, and it's important to note whether or not the position is causing any pain for your child.
The first thing you can do to try to eliminate the forward slump is to look for a car seat that has a reclining feature. Many convertible car seats, explained the National Child Passenger Safety Board, are safe in a forward-facing, semi-reclined position, as well as fully upright. You shouldn’t try reclining the car seat unless it has the built-in recline feature, noted The Car Seat Lady, who further suggested that the upright position is still the safest for a forward facing child.
Safe 4 Ride Kids suggested that if the back seats of your vehicle recline, you can use that feature to reduce the amount of forward slumping. The website also suggested using an upright resting pillow made for children and car seats like Amiba Monsters, or using a safety travel vest like Ridesafer, which can offer extra head and neck support.
Even though it looks like a funny mind reading device, NapUp makes a car seat head support system for children that can keep their heads in place when sleeping in the car, too. NoBob also makes a similar, but cuter, version of the support system that comes in colorful animal designs.
For safety reasons, make sure your toddler is big enough to sit forward facing in the first place. Once your toddler is at the correct age and weight — according to the standards recommended by your car seat manufacturer — the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that parents use a forward-facing seat that has a harness, because it can provide a lot more support and safety than a booster seat.
It’s always important to make sure that your toddler’s car seat is installed correctly. If you are unsure about the setup, you can find a car seat technician to help. It’s also crucial to use any restraints or pillows safely, according to their manufacturer’s instructions. Physics will always go against you when it comes to the forward head slump, but these techniques and tips may make your car trips require a little less work.