How To Choose The Right Car Seat Support
It can be very frustrating if you’ve got a new car and a few weeks or months down the line you find it is causing you problems and discomfort.
Before you rush out to buy a product remember to read our article on how to set up your car seat.
If everything is set up correctly but you’re still getting pain then you may need to add extra support to help. This article talks through the different options to help you find your solution.
What Types Of Support Are There?
There are 4 main styles of car seat support:
- Wedges – help level out the base of your seat – really useful if you car seat is bucket shaped and the angle of the seat base cannot be adjusted.
- Lumbar supports – these come in different shapes and depths that either hang from the head rest or tie around the back of the seat to help support the natural lumbar curve. Great if the car does not have adjustable lumbar support within it, if the lumbar curve within the seat is at the wrong height for you or again if it is sports/bucket style with a very concave shape to the seat back.
- Full length back supports – do the same job as a lumbar support but sit against the back of the whole seat from the base up to around the shoulder level. They provide a more global support to the back. Some also come or can be fitted with an additional lumbar support if you need an additional localised support.
- Back support and wedge combined – a combination of the wedge and full length back support. This gives continuity to the feel of the seat, both leveling off the base and helping give a better shape to the back of the seat.
What To Consider When Choosing Which Car Support To Get:
The Sittingwell team have tested various types of car seat supports and different makes of car and have come up with the following areas to watch out for when selecting the support you use.
Car Seat Wedges
The first thing you must check – how wide is your seat? Some seats come up at the sides (bolsters), which may stop a firm wedge fitting in. Measure the width of the flatter aspect of the seat to help select the best wedge to fit the space available. The car seat wedges we sell all fit if you have a 30cm wide (left to right) level surface.
Be aware that wedges will in effect raise your seat height so you may need to lower the whole car seat once the wedge is in place. Be particularly careful if you are tall and your seat is already at its lowest. You must have room between the top of your head and the roof of your car. If you can’t change how high the seat is positioned buy a slimline wedge, which will still help level out the base but not raise you up as much.
The Sittingwell Range
There are two types:
1. Those that hang from the headrest. As you will need to adjust the length of the strap so that it is in the right place for your lower back. This is easiest if you can enlist the help of someone who can shorten the strap once you have positioned the support where you want it. Once in place then it hangs flat against the seat in the right place every time you get in the car.
2. Those, which are held in place by a strap that goes around the seat. These are quicker to position but will hang away from the seat back when you are not in the car. The weight of them can cause these lumbar supports to move down a little. A quick shimmy and they are back where you want them. Your preference will depend on how you feel about aesthetics, and if it bothers you to quickly re-position your support.
Check the height and depth of a lumbar support (top to bottom and front to back) a narrower deeper support will feel more localised and targeted. Because it is covering a smaller area of your back or sticking out further it may feel more prominent and uncomfortable.
Full Length Back Supports
These may be more comfortable for those who prefer gentler feel or want the support throughout the back rather than just located in the lower back.
The main elements to check are that you have the flat space in between your bolsters for these back supports to fit on.
If you find the car seat is too deep (digging into your legs/knees) then a whole back support may help. As full length back supports become the new back to your car seat they then reduce some of the seat depth which will in turn bring you forward in the seat a little. This also means you may need to adjust your seat back a little once the support is in place. This information is covered in ‘How To Set Up Your Car Seat’ article.
Whole Seat Covers
These are for cars that do not have bolsters on the seat for example people carriers/MPV’s, vans, motor homes. Remember to check the width of the support versus the width of the flattest part of the seat.
You will be raised up in the seat as a result of using a whole seat cover so adjustments to the seat position vertically may be needed which is covered in our How To Set Up Your Car Seat’ article.
Back Support And Wedge Combined
This can be the best of both worlds with your back being supported in the right place and the steep angle of the seat is reduced to take pressure of your pelvis and back. This solution is most helpful if:
– You need a seat wedge but you are unable to adjust your lumbar support into the right place.
– You need a wedge and your car seat is too deep.
The Sittingwell Range
- First make sure you have the seat set up correctly before adding anything.
- Wedges help level out a bucket style seat.
- A lumbar support will only add extra support to the base of the back.
- Full back supports help support the whole back and can bring you forward if your seat is too deep.
- A combined back support and wedge are the perfect solution if you need a wedge and your in car support isn’t adjustable.
- Don’t forget to re-check your car seat set up after you’ve added a support as your position will have changed.