Best Head Support For Infant Car Seats 

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Written by: Fatima O. Millers, CPST

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If you’re trying to find the best head support for your baby’s infant car seat, you’re in the right place.

It is time that parents be aware of the safety risks they are taking when adding after-market accessories to the children’s car seats like head support inserts.

I get it, it’s really sad to see your baby’s neck hanging uncomfortably while sleeping. But don’t worry, we’ll suggest ways to help with that discomfort.

best head support for infant car seat

But just so we’re clear, we’re not suggesting any head support add-ons for infant car seats because they can seriously endanger the safety of your child.

A Head support insert can make things worse

Yes, you heard it right! The head slumping you are trying to prevent can get worse when using the head support add-on/insert. 

after market infant head support

These support inserts tend to add tons of padding around and behind your baby’s head which leads to pushing his chin down even more.

And remember, it’s dangerous when your baby’s chin is pushed down to his chest. It can block his airways and prevent breathing

Head support for infant car seats, YES or NO?

Head support inserts that are added to infant car seats or any other seat are a big NO.

After-market accessories are not recommended by experts including pediatricians and certified CPSTs. 

But why? Simply because they aren’t regulated and they haven’t been tested for safety and there’s absolutely no way to know how they’ll perform with your child’s car seat. 

after market head support for infant car seats

When you search for head support for an infant car seat, for example, you come across tens of models and styles, all claiming to give comfort and support. 

But remember, just because they say so doesn’t mean they’re really safe or effective.

Car seats are designed to meet specific safety standards. They also have to go through rigorous safety testing before they hit the market. 

This means that when you add an accessory that’s not part of that proper process, you’re compromising the seat’s integrity.

Best head support for infant car seat

So, if car seat head support inserts aren’t safe, what’s the solution? How can we fix the head slouching issue? 

To make sure your little one sleeps comfortably in his car seat during a car ride, you have to start by choosing the right car seat first. 

But keep in mind that car seats are primarily made with safety as the top priority, rather than focusing solely on comfort. 

head support in a car seat

The good news is, that there are some car seat manufacturers that manage to find a middle ground, offering both safety and comfort.

When looking for a car seat for your infant, make sure you choose one with comfortable and plush inserts that are removable. Preferably, a 2-piece insert. 

Also, not having a good recline feature on the car seat can be also an issue when it comes to head support. This is worth looking into as well.  

Here are two infant car seat callouts that can offer great head support:

1. Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35  

An awesome feature of the Peg Perego is the 6-position adjustable headrest. You can effortlessly adjust the headrest while your baby is in the seat.

Plus, the Primo offers a two-stage insert system that provides proper head support and a snug seating position for newborns.

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2. Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX

The popular Graco Snugride is rated one of the best car seats for newborn babies & preemies.

It offers excellent body and head support and safety is top-notch.

Another great thing about this infant car seat is the simple and safe installation that can be achieved in seconds. 

Do you have a car seat already?  

If you already have a good car seat and you are not planning to check other options, try going through these steps to address the head support issue for your baby. 

Are you using the recline angle correctly? 

Sometimes it’s just a recline issue. Make sure that your infant’s car seat is not set too upright for your baby. Find the correct recline angle as indicated in the manufacturer’s instructions. This helps in maintaining a natural and safe head position.

Is the harness strap buckled properly?

adjust the harness of the car seat for proper head support

To prevent the baby’s head from slumping forward, make sure the car seat harness is adjusted CORRECTLY. The harness straps keep the baby’s body and head in a straight position. The straps should be snug, and the harness clip should be at armpit level. 

What about Rolling Up a Blanket?

If your baby is a preemie or just too small for the seat, try rolling up a blanket or a long towel and placing it on either side of your baby’s body and around his head to provide gentle support. 

Do not roll the blanket/ towel just around the head of the baby. Make sure it goes all around his body to provide balanced support.  Also, make sure it doesn’t affect the harness straps’ snugness.

Do you have an adjustable headrest? 

Some car seats like the Peg Perego Primo have headrests that can be adjusted to different levels to provide better head support for your child. If your car seat has this option, play around with it to see how it affects your baby’s head position. 

Do you know about the 2-hour car seat rule? 

The 2-hour car seat rule for car seats is basically when you have to take regular breaks and allow your baby to lie down in a flat sleeping position during longer car rides. 

Safety experts and car manufacturers don’t recommend for a baby to be in a car seat for more than 2 hours. 

If the head slouching happens during long car rides, try following the 2-hour rule. 

Read more about the 2-hour car seat rule. 

Did you consider a convertible car seat? 

As your child grows, consider transitioning to a convertible car seat. Convertible car seats are designed to provide better support for older infants and toddlers. They also have better adjustment options and this may help reduce head slouching.

No luck? Consult a CPST

If the head slouching issue persists, consult a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician.  CPSTs have the ability to see things differently. They can check your car seat installation and give you personalized advice to fix the head support issue.

FAQs

Are car seat head supports safe for newborns?

No, after-market head support inserts and add-ons are not safe for your newborn. The best thing to do to keep your little one safe is to use what the seat comes with only

How do I stop my baby’s head from slumping in the car seat?

To stop your baby’s head from slumping, try to find a car seat that provides comfortable and adjustable body and head inserts. Adjust the recline angle of the seat to a comfortable level for your baby

How long do babies need head support in a car seat?

Generally, babies need head support in a car seat from day 1 until around 6 months of age. Infant car seats usually come with built-in infant inserts that provide head support and the manufacturer will have instructions on how long to use it for. ALWAYS follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 

About Fatima O. Millers, CPST

Founder and Editor-in-Chief, Fatima delivers insightful car seat reviews and recommendations. Combining her CPST expertise with an engineering background, her advice is both safe and practical.