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enter image description hereMy 2.5 year old is in a forward-facing Maxi Cosi Pria 85 carseat. The problem is, if he falls asleep while we're driving somewhere, his head falls back. Every site that mentions bad sleeping positions in the carseat fails to mention what to do for heads that fall BACK. Even if I stop and reposition him, his head goes right back to where it was. His face is parallel to the roof of the car. I've also tried keeping it to the most reclined position for forward-facing but that does not help.

I would like to know if this is safe and if not, what can be done about it.

EDIT: I added a picture to show what I'm talking about. I tried adjusting the back part so each picture shows it in a different position. It happens in both positions. The strap is tight and the chest clip is in proper position.

  • If there's that much space between the kid's upper back and shoulders and the back of the car seat, I don't think it's tight. – swbarnes2 Aug 11 '16 at 18:51
  • I also have the same problem with this maxi cosi too!!!! I am even tinking in change to other brand... I cant make my daughter stay in place while sleeping. I have read the manual and the position should be 2. For her age and Weight. But she is not comfy while sleeping. Have you resolved rhe problem?? – Ester Apr 30 at 23:24
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Without seeing it's hard to say anything for sure, but based on how every car seat I have encountered is constructed I am inclined to ask whether your boy's belt straps are sufficiently tight.

For his head to be that far back the seat would either need to

  • Not have sufficient padding/bracing behind his head, which is a problem in and of itself
  • Be letting his chest move forward and away from the back of the seat so that his head can move back that far
  • Have a lot of padding around his torso that doesn't exist behind his head.

The last could be possible if you're strapping him in while still wearing a very puffy coat (but in August?) but the recommendations are that you don't leave kids in thick coats when strapping them down anyway, precisely because then you can't tighten the straps sufficiently tight.

Make sure he's in tight enough and that the chest strap/buckle is high enough up on his chest to keep it firmly back against the seat.

  • Also, adjust the straps to keep his entire body against the back of the car seat, from shoulder to hip. – Warren Dew Aug 6 '16 at 2:24
  • I added an image to show what I'm referring to. He is in the seat quite tight and all straps are snug against him. – Rachel S Aug 9 '16 at 20:08
  • I would not call his face parallel to the ceiling in those pictures. 45 degrees at best. Looks perfectly safe to me. – Don Aug 10 '16 at 17:37
  • So this is normal and usual? If so then I wouldn't worry about it anymore :) – Rachel S Aug 10 '16 at 19:16
  • Looks like my boy when he conks out. I don't see anything to worry about. His airflow isn't impeded in that position. – Don Aug 11 '16 at 18:32
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The first thing to check is if the seat straps are truly tight. Obviously, you don't want to totally squash him in there; however, if your whole hand fits between his body and the straps, they need to be tighter. A rule of thumb for confirming strap tightness is if you can slip two fingers (index and middle) between his body and the straps. If you can easily do that, make the straps tighter, if you can't do that at all, make them a bit looser. When you are tightening the straps, always make sure he is fully leaned back in his seat.

Along the lines of ensuring his straps are tight enough, be sure whatever he is wearing is what he will have on for the duration of the trip. If he has clothing - such as a large coat - that he removes during the trip, be sure and adjust the straps afterward.

If his straps are indeed sufficiently tight; your next step will be to simply find a way to adjust his position. Use a neck pillow (one of the ones mentioned in another answer) or just a super thin one. If you would prefer not to use any type of pillow, a folded towel or blanket may be used. You may need to experiment with positioning a bit.

If his straps are loose, that is indeed a safety hazard. Should you be involved in a car accident he could be ejected from the seat. However, if he has just found a way to be a bit "slippery in his seat" or beat the system, I wouldn't worry about it. If you were to be involved in an accident with him in that position with properly tightened straps, he will have the same injuries whether he was sitting bolt-upright or not.

Above all, if nothing else works, keep in mind that children are super flexible and the chances of him ending with any form of long-term injury are very low. If you are still concerned, you can contact your local fire or health department and see if they will do a car seat inspection for you. Some states here in the US require all fire departments to have at least one certified car seat inspector on staff during regular business hours. Typically, this will be a free inspection; however, if there is a fee associated with it, expect it to be very low.

  • And I noticed somewhere in one of the comments, you asked that since his straps appear tight was this normal... Yes, more than likely it is. Kiddos have proportionally heavier heads than adults... It probably feels good on his neck to rest it like that. Oh, and I'm 19... I still sleep like that in the vehicle sometimes! :) – L.B. Aug 11 '16 at 13:37
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I don't know if it could be of any help, but have you tried something like this?

enter image description here

In Dutch it's called a 'Neksteun', I don't know the English word.

  • Typically called a neck pillow in English. (Or travel pillow, although that's more likely in an airport gift shop!) – Acire Jul 29 '16 at 9:02
  • I saw these but I'd rather not use something that wasn't approved for a car seat and I haven't found one yet that was. – Rachel S Aug 1 '16 at 13:55

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