Way back when I was in elementary school, my first wheelchair did not have any headrest. A headrest is important on a wheelchair for individuals with certain conditions in which the person must on occasion rest their neck muscles. While under most circumstances, I did not need to use a headrest, when I traveled in our van or when I was very tired, a headrest was needed for those occasional uses for my wheelchair. Without the headrest, when in our vehicle, my head would sometimes be thrown harshly backward in the event our vehicle accelerated or decelerated too quickly. Unfortunately at the time, medical companies only carried very clinical looking headrest that were intended to be mounted permanently to a wheelchair. As they were designed to work with any wheelchair and for people with a wide range of conditions, they had lots of ugly looking brackets and were designed for a person to rest their head upon at all times. The headrest were designed to hold a person's head strait forward and had only a small area in which the person could rest their head. This was not ideal if the person fell back onto the headrest as your head could miss the small padded head pad. The permanent headrest also had another serious drawback that prevented me from using one. Once attached to a wheelchair, the headrest would not clear the doorway to our van that we used for transporting me. The typical solution to this was to raise the roof of a van, something that would of cost several thousand dollars out of pocket. At the time, that was not an option. As I was going to elementary school at the time, the last thing I wanted was to have some Frankenstein looking medical headrest attached to my wheelchair. I wanted something that could be quickly attached and removed, something that was very light and portable. Something that could be attached to the chair when in our van so I could rest my head.
My dad and I came up with the idea of creating a headrest out of PVC pipe that could be quickly attached to the wheelchair that could easily be removed and carried.
Please Note: The reason I call this a temporary wheelchair headrest attachment is because this is ideal only for use for a short period of time until you can find a more permanent headrest. While I used mine for many years without incident, the PVC pipes can detached if the individual's head hits hard upon the headrest and there is the possibility of neck injury. This is ideal for a temporary solution. Please use at your own risk and read the safety precautions at the end of this instructable.