Updated October 2017
About a year ago I wrote about the Sandini head support that I used with my daughter. In short what it does is support your baby or toddlers (in fact even older kids) head when they fall asleep in their car seat.
The Best Car Seat Head Support (in my opinion).
Yes you can get cheaper head supports that essentially strap around your child’s forehead to stop it slumping forward when they fall asleep in their car seat. These sell well and definitely do the job. But…
… the reason the Sandini head and neck support is better (again in my opinion) is that it is less intrusive for the child because they can still move their head and also they can simply unfasten the Velcro attachment if they don’t want it on. But possibly more importantly this head support has been developed and tested in European universities and helps protect against side airbag impacts among other things (information provided by Sandini themselves).
I love it.
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One year on and I still love it.
I originally wrote this post in 2016, but I wanted to quickly update one year on. Obviously our daughter is one year older so does it still work?
YES IT DOES 🙂
When we first used this head and neck support our daughter was about 18 months old, so not tiny but still pretty small. She was not used to having anything around her chin and neck so she never liked putting the Sandini support on while she was awake, so we put it on after she went to sleep just fine. Once on it was good and even when she woke up she was OK with it.
Fast forward 11 months or so and she is a lot happier with it. In fact now when she is tired and we get in the car she asks for it to be put on. So this is great. Also, when she wakes up she can easily un-Velcro it and pull it apart herself.
Here’s a video of it in action now (our daughter is 27 months in this video). The original video from a year ago can be found further down in this article.
Original write-up below…
Ahhh. my toddler can now sleep peacefully in the car without jerking herself awake every time her head slumps forward or when I turn a corner.
All parents who drive with their baby or toddler (in fact kids of any age) know this pain. Your child is starting to fall asleep in their car seat and the next time you check on them their head is flopped forward and they look like they are in the most uncomfortable position ever. Every bump you go over or corner you turn and their little head bounces and slides and they wake up for a second startled, before (hopefully) falling to sleep again.
The long drive home from the in-laws.
Over the weekend we drove down to Ipswich (to see the in-laws) that took us around 5hrs with a lunch break. However, on the drive back we decided to get our 22 month old daughter bathed and ready for bed before we left and then hoped she would sleep all the way home.
We have an Obaby 123 car seat which is great but it is pretty upright. A lot of car seats are like this and as soon as our daughter falls to sleep in it her head slumps forward. While I expect no harm is being done she is clearly not comfortable and you can hear her breathing get a bit more strained. However the main issue is that she gets shocked awake as her head bounces around as we drive.
Our [head slumping] DIY solutions.
What we have tried to do in the past was either place (wedge) a jumper behind her lower back to make her sit at more of an angle, and while this does help stop her head flopping forward it made her slump in her child seat and her back also got a little hot. Another option we tried was to place a rolled up jumper lightly under her chin to try and stop it flopping forward. This has had mixed results.
How to stop your baby or toddlers head slumping in their car seat [solved].
I went to an International Baby and Toddler Trade Show recently in Cologne to see what new and exciting child products there were. Kid Transit are always looking for new and better ways to help parents. While there I came across a company that made neck supports for babies and toddlers. I was exciting because this was a pain I personally had and this was a potential solution.
I spoke at length to the representative on this display and was told how this was a patented design that had been safety tested in universities and had a whole host of benefits including protection against side air bags. However, for me the main thing was that it supported my daughters head in her child car seat and caused no discomfort to her. Oh, of course it needed to be safe.
I had to try it out and the representative was kind enough to give me one to use for the rest of my holiday. I was spending a week in Germany after attending the trade show and would be driving a lot so it was perfect for me.
Back to the in-laws and the long drive home with a sleeping toddler.
Anyway back to the drive home from the in-laws. We did not stop and it took about 3hrs 40mins and our daughter slept all of the way. Perfect 🙂
The head support worked perfectly keeping our daughters head nice and secure and she looked so peaceful sleeping in her child seat. Check out the short video below so see how well it works.
When we first used this head (and neck) support we thought it looked a little big, however it is now clear that the size helps support the head and neck and also provides a large enough area for the Velcro to attach to keep the two parts of the head support together. The child seat head support has other benefits as the company Sandini quote on their website and documentation. These are all added benefits but the main thing to us is that it worked and that it is safe.
Who are Sandini?
Sandini, the company behind this child seat head support are a German company and the product is 100% made in the EU. It has been tested and manufactured to European laws and standards.
Below are some images taken from the manufacturers website. You can learn more about them here (they are a Germany company and this is a German website).
What Sandini say:
SleepFix® is recommended by leading safety experts, for example, German ADAC, ADAC Motor world and is also ranked “very good” by Eco-Test (single test 3/2007). Moreover, the safety sleeping pillow was Award Winner of the Eurobike Award 2010, German Design Award Nominee 2012 and will be German Design Award Winner 2017 for excellent product design. Furthermore, all textiles are tested for harmful substances and have the certificate of Eco-Tex Standard 100. In order to ensure outstanding quality, all SANDINI-products are Designed in Germany and Made in EU.
They also state:
The safety sleeping pillow SANDINI SleepFix® in size S enables relaxed and safe sleeping for children in all kinds of seats of group 1 / 2 / 3, for car seats, reboarders, bicycle seats, bicycle trailers, buggies, backrests and booster seats. SleepFix® S stabilizes head and upper body and makes the child sleep more relaxed. Moreover it can be used as a lateral head support or a lateral seat minimizer, even when the child is awake. It prevents the tilting of the child’s head while sleeping and minimizes the risk of injuries in case of accidents. SleepFix® S is recommended to use from the age of approximately 18 months until 12 years.
The above quotes were taken from official Sandini documentation.
While speaking with the Sandini representative at the trade show they told me more about the safety testing and that in the event of a sudden stop (e.g. an accident) where the child’s head would be forced forward the two sections of the head support would come apart and would not cause any harm to the child’s neck. This is important and a concern that most parents would have.
Child head support for bikes and baby carrier backpacks.
We only used the head support for our car child seat so cannot comment on how well it works in other situations, but Sandini do state that it can be used for both child bike seats and carrier backpacks.
The head support comes with a weighted pack that can be hung over the back of the head support and will hold it lightly in place so that it will not slide down. Again, we have not tried this because this attachment option was not viable with out car seat and we instead use the attachment straps that hooked around the head-rest of the child car seat.
Comments and recommendations.
First of all if you want to keep you baby or toddler (in fact kids of any age) nice and peaceful as they sleep and prevent their heads flopping forward then get a Sandini head support. They have different sizes as well as heat-transfer materials to choose from. We have the standard black SleepFix design in small and we love it. We have never noticed any excess heat around the neck and the head is always supported.
One problem [slight] we have is when we first connect the head support. When not in use you pull the two sections apart and move them out of the way. The recommended position is to pull them up to the top of the fixation straps which is what we do. However, we cannot put them on our daughter when she is awake because she does not like it around her neck and just tries to pull it off.
When she falls to sleep we pull the two head support sections down and then try and position it so her chin is supported correctly. We tend to disturb our daughter a little when we do this but the more we do it the easier is seems to be. Once in position it works fantastically.
Every time I have used this child seat head support I have had my wife in the car. So when our 22 month old falls to sleep my wife leans over and fixes the head support. If I was alone I would have two options. The first would be to try and get the support on before I set off and while my daughter was awake, or I would need to pull over to attach it. So bear this in mind if you buy one.
Finally, while our daughter is [kind of] OK when she wakes up with the head support on, she can at times be a little agitated. So this is something else for you to consider if driving alone. My wife can simply pull the head support part and all is good but if I was driving alone I would need to pull over to sort it out.
I love this child seat head support and it solves a problem I have had for a long time. I got this for free because I went to the trade show and was lucky enough to meet the company representative, but I would definitely buy one. Getting it on when my daughter is sleeping can be a little fiddly but it is fine, and once on it is great. In fact it is fantastic.