Car seats have become more and more advanced over the years with newer models having integrated side impact airbags. While side impact bags are important for side impacts, the most unprotected direction, and the one that needs protection, is the rear. The pillar of protection for a rear impact is the head restraint. But if it is not placed correctly, it offers little protection. In some cases, it could even accentuate the mechanism of injury.

The first and most important aspect is the distance from the back of the head to the headrest. Your seat must not be reclined. While this may make it look "cool" when driving, it increases the distance from your head to rest, making it useless for whiplash protection. Instead, maintain a more upright posture, with the headrest touching the back of your head near the top.

The reason you want your headrest to be high is because your body may rise slightly during a rear-end collision. If your headrest is positioned too low, then your head can bend around it like a fulcrum, increasing the amount of trauma your neck experiences.

Another issue to consider with car seats is their position relative to the front seat airbag (often inside the steering wheel). You must be at least a foot away from the steering wheel/airbag because it deploys with dramatic force (approximately 200 mph). If you are too close, you could suffer chest and internal injuries from the airbag itself.

If you are aware that you are going to be hit, it is better to prepare yourself and make your head touch the support, without turning it. A twisted head during impact can lead to even more significant ligament injuries.

Take the time to check the position of your seat and head restraints the next time you get in the car. Are you far enough from the wheel? If not, slide the seat back. Is the seat almost vertical? If not, check with a mechanic to see if an adjustment can be made to the seat. Is the headrest placed in a high position so that it only touches the back of the head? If not, adjust it.