When To Switch To A Forward Facing Car Seat

13 Replies
JB - September 28

I am confused about this because I have heard that you must wait until baby is 1 year old regardless of their weight before that. My son is 8 months and weighs 20 lbs. Some family members have been saying he looks too big for his infant seat now...Does anyone know if it is ok to switch the seat now or do I wait until he is one even if he does look like a big horse in this one. LOL


N - September 28

I know in Canada it is actually illegal to have an infant under 12 months front facing.. all i can remember is that it has something to do with their head to body ratio and that their necks aren't quite strong enough..


N - September 28

Oh ya, and they make alot of front facing car seats that are also rear facing, and they will hold up to 40lbs.


Lisa*9 - September 28

Infant carseats are designed for a baby up to 26 lbs but if your child is 20 lbs there is no reason why you shouldn't change to a front facing care seat. Just check with your health dept on this. I am sure the laws in Canada and the Usa are very comparable. I changed my son at 20lbs to a 30 lbs care seat facing forward in Cahada. Just make sure it is teethered properly to the vechile by the care seat rules for the care seat. you are using.


Amaya's mommy aka Stephanie - September 28

I live in Arkansas. Most "infant" seats that are the carseat/ base/ stroller combo hold babies up to 20lbs and 26 inches. The law here is babies under 1 year must be rear facing no matter what height or weight are. We are looking into getting the Britax Marathon because it can be rear facing for children 5-33 lbs (about 1 year old) and forward facing for 20-65lbs. They are pretty pricy but I think in the end it will be worth it because of the high safety reviews. Instead of putting him in a forward facing car seat, look to see if the seat can be placed rear facing or even look to see if the infant seat you have now can be used for heaver babies. This is what I found about laws in United States and Canada... http://www.inventiveparent.com/state-laws.htm keep the "-" in between state and laws.


Lisa - September 28

My daughter is 7 months and we have just changed her car seat to the facing front position, she is just over 8kg's (not sure what that is in pounds). Have you still got the information booklet that came with the car seat when you bought it? I referred to that and it indicated what age and weight would be appropriate to change the seating position for the baby. If its not there, it may be written on the actual car seat itself.


car seat safety - September 29

I would just like to provide some of you with some information: Atleast 72% of car crashes are frontal or frontal offset crashes. These are the highest impact crashes that can occur (rear crashes are more often low impact as both cars are usually going in the same direction, or one car is stopped). Infants are to remain rear facing until they are one year of age AND 20lbs inorder to significantly decrease injury. When rear facing, force from a crash will be evenly distributed over a large area across the head, neck, upper and lower back, whereas front facing put the majority of the force on the neck and upper spine, causing a much higher risk for spinal and neck injuries and therefore higher risk of paralysis, brain damage and death (basically your childs head, arms and legs will be thrown forward, while their body is restrained and takes the full force of the impact while front facing). The only reason a child would be front facing before a year is if their head is higher than the shell of a convertible carseat (which would also put your child in the 130th percentile for height). It is NOT a safety concern that your childs' feet touch the seat, or are even bent, and may even serve to be more beneficial. This is not just safer for babies, but for everyone in general, but luckily adults have much smaller heads in proportion to their bodies than infants, as well as having fully matured bones and connective tissues and so they are better able to handle an impact. In Sweden children often remain rear facing until 3 or even 4 years old. Auto related injury and death rates for rear-facing children in Sweden are near zero because of this. (also, side impact crashes account for 24% of crashes and are also better survived when rear facing. This means that only 4% of crashes are rear or rear offset crashes, and less than 1% are at life threatening speeds). There are many covertible car seats that face both rear and front that are worth investing in not just for your childs life, but money-wise as well. Most will fit rear facing from 5-35lbs and front facing 20-40lbs, which means only buying one car seat instead of two.. some even come as a 3 in 1 that also convert into a booster seat for the remaining 40-60lbs. Please don't drive with your infants front facing, not only is it illegal in some places, it's your childs LIFE that is at risk. A usually minor fender bender could leave your child disabled for life.


Alisha - September 29

I was told by a health care professional that you can when the baby is 20lbs. If you do before that it is dangerous. I don't know if there are any age requirements. If there were, I think they would be posted on the carseat warnings. All it says is 20+lbs. My son is 8 mths also and looks too big for the infant carseat also, but he is only 18 lbs and Im not putting him in a front facing one until 20lbs. In my opinion I would switch him. If you are still unsure check your states laws on that. Good luck.


Jamie - September 29

I was told, by a nurse, to keep her rear-facing until she can sit unsupported and/or 1 year old.


kate - September 29

each state is different, but i know that in utah its the baby has to be 20 pounds and over the age of one.


momma - September 29

i would check wit a health care professional. they most likly know the laws and can tell you, also the instuction books should have the info too i have the safty first enspira which was given to me as a gift it goes from infant seat to booster seat and is reversable. the people that work at baby stores might know the info you want or you can go to the website of a carseat manufatuer too my daughter is almost 6 mo. 27 in. and roulghly 20 lbs.


Amaya's mommy aka Stephanie - September 29

You can also call your local police department


~ - September 29

Check this out, it's for the US. http://www.nhtsa.gov/ Use the "Quick Links" drop down menu in the middle of the page to get to the "Child Safety Seat" section. You can even search for a plce local to you that inspects child seats. Some car dealerships have certified safety seat inspectors, this site will tell you which ones. Plus it gives you tons of info about anything you EVER wanted to know (and more) about child car safety. Here are a couple for Canada. http://www.cfcefc.ca/docs/cansc/00000619.htm http://www.tc.gc.ca/roadsafety/childsafety/menu.htm I wasn't able to find one that gave what I consider to be enough info, so you should check both or do a search on your own. remove any "-" in the links.


MJM - September 29

I would call you local police department and ask them. We always have car seat checks at our police department. Dont feel stupid when you ask either because many people do call and ask. Then next time you see your pedi ask them also. At least you will know the laws.



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