when to turn car seat around?

Sarah - posted on 09/16/2009 ( 22 moms have responded )

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my son is 7 months old and he is already really tall for his age, i am wondering when i should turn the seat around so it is facing forward. i know this seems like a stupid question but i dont want to crush his legs.

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Victoria - posted on 09/17/2009

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The old recommendation used to be 20lbs and 1 year but now the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rear facing for 2 years! I know it seems like a long time but it is so much safer than front facing and it isn't uncomfortable for the babiesbecause they naturally sit with their legs to the side.

Bethany - posted on 09/16/2009

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Technically, the law says that you have to wait until he is at least 20 lbs and at least one year. However, it is much safer to keep children rear-facing as long as possible. Basically, small children facing forward are in high danger of internal decapitation during a car accident. The momentum of the car will snap the baby's head forward, and can easily snap a tiny neck. It is actually a major cause of death among young children.



Even if your son seems too tall, the worst that could happen in a car accident with him rear-facing is broken legs. I would personally much rather have broken legs than a broken neck. If it makes you feel better about his height, my daughter is 17 months old, 20lbs, and well over 31 inches tall. She is still in her infant (not reversible) carseat, and looks WAY too tall for it. We have to get a reversible one soon because she can only stay in hers until 22 lbs. Most reversibles can rear-face up until 35 lbs or more.



Check your carseat info, and see what the weight-limit for rear-facing is. Keep him that way as long as possible.

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Rebekah - posted on 09/21/2009

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This video has been posted a million times it seems on this site, but here it is again for anyone who has trouble believing that rear-facing is safest. If the link doesn't work... check out the "Importance of Rear-facing" on Youtube.

It is also illegal in most states to be forward facing before age one so I'd check out the laws in your state too.

Oh, one more thought... as I said before (and a few others) my son was over two when we turned his seat around and I'd say it's highly unlikely than any 9,10, or 11 month old has longer legs than he did.

Sarah - posted on 09/21/2009

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Quoting Kerry:

I have this problem too. My son is nearly 10 months old and his poor little legs are cramped up in his rear facing car seat. He's always been very tall for his age, and so we bought a front facing car seat for 9 months+ - so reading this, I'm wondering if they are wrong in saying it's for 9 months onwards?



Most carseats that are for children under 1 years of age that are forward facing can also be put in as rear facing carseats.  If your carseat can't be put in as rear facing then yes then it is wrong and against the law.  The law requires a child to be 20 pounds and 1 year before they are forward facing.  Most law enforcement will not stop you to check if your child is in the carseat the right way, but heaven forbid there is an aceident they can charge you with child endangerment because you were not following the law.  I know kids get bored in the rear facing seats, but there are many more tools today that can help (mirrors, toys, etc.).  A part of parenting that you learn too is sometimes my child is going to be upset because he/she is not getting to do what he/she wants, but it is more important to keep my child safe than to let them get their way.  My in-laws grew up when they did not have to use carseats at all even for newborns.  They did not see the reason why kids needed to be in a carseat when their kids turned out just fine.  For the most part my kids probably would have been just fine also, but if there was just that one time something happened I don't think I could have forgiven that. 

Kerry - posted on 09/21/2009

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I have this problem too. My son is nearly 10 months old and his poor little legs are cramped up in his rear facing car seat. He's always been very tall for his age, and so we bought a front facing car seat for 9 months+ - so reading this, I'm wondering if they are wrong in saying it's for 9 months onwards?

Jennifer - posted on 09/19/2009

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My oldest son is 4 and only 30lbs and is in a booster seat, my youngest son is 3 and 30lbs and is also in a booster seat, i believe I put them in front facing car seats when they turned one

Michelle - posted on 09/19/2009

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They say 20lbs and a year, but my doctor said it's safest until they're two as long as they fit (so as long as you can until 2).

Stephanie - posted on 09/19/2009

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I actually asked the same question on here yesterday. My son just turned 9 months old and he is 20 lbs. He hates facing backwards. Unfortunately, they need to be rear facing at 20 lbs AND 1 year old. hope this is helpful.

Rebekah - posted on 09/19/2009

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Quoting Victoria:

The old recommendation used to be 20lbs and 1 year but now the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rear facing for 2 years! I know it seems like a long time but it is so much safer than front facing and it isn't uncomfortable for the babiesbecause they naturally sit with their legs to the side.


Sorry, but this means you've got a lot more rear-facing to go!  :)



My son was 27 months, and 28lbs when we turned him around... and that was only b/c he had a little sister who needed the center spot in the car. 



 

Debby - posted on 09/18/2009

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he still needs to be rear facing ... the law used to be 20lbs and atleast a year of age, however the AAP recommends not until 2 years of age... they say not until atleast a year of age because there is a bone/muscles in the neck that are not strong enough, therfore making it very easy to snap and a major cause of death to a baby ...

Amysue - posted on 09/18/2009

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The law says that they perfer you go more on weight than height! So, if your child is 18 pounds, just wait a little longer until he is 20 pounds. The time when height matters, is when they are out of carseats and have to use a regular seatbelt, if they are too short then it will not be able to keep them safe. My husband used to work for the police department.

Jennifer - posted on 09/18/2009

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My son is 9 months old, 29 1/2 in and 19 1/2 lbs and he fits very nicely into his car seat. Are you still using an infant car seat from when he was just born? If so you may want to purchase a new seat that can be used for both rear and forward facing, then his legs shouldn't touch the seat that he is attached to. I believe the law in the US is 1 yr AND 20 lbs. Good Luck!

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As some posters have said it is much, much safer to have a child rear-facing for as long as possible and certainly at least until they reach the 1 year and 20 pound mark that the law requires. In a front impact crash with a child in a forward facing seat the child's head gets thrown forward up to 2 inches and it only take 1/2 inch for their spinal cord to break. If you do just a little bit of research on the internet you can find lots of information backing up what I'm saying and you can even see videos of the differences between crashes in forward facing and rear facing seats. As for their feet being up against the seat, that is not a good reason to turn them around because: a)kids naturally sit with their legs curled up and b)there have been no recorded incidents of kids breaking their legs in a car accident because they were rear-facing and c)even if there is a risk for broken legs, what's better a broken leg or a broken neck?

Here's a good website to check out: http://www.thecarseatlady.com/

Stormy - posted on 09/18/2009

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we truned our daughter around at alittle over a year her leggs were scrunched, i've herd it said eather a year or 20pounds.

Bethany - posted on 09/18/2009

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Quoting Victoria:

The old recommendation used to be 20lbs and 1 year but now the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rear facing for 2 years! I know it seems like a long time but it is so much safer than front facing and it isn't uncomfortable for the babiesbecause they naturally sit with their legs to the side.


 



Hooray!  I didn't hear about this!  It's about time they changed that rule, in my opinion.  :)  Way to go, AAP!

Rekia - posted on 09/18/2009

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i believe waiting till he turns one and u will be fine!!! but try and comfort his legs somehow until then

User - posted on 09/18/2009

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If he has good head and neck control, i.e. if he is able to hold his head up without wobbling and bobbing, he should be fine forward facing, but i would check your carseat instructions to see what they recommend! I know i switched my son's around when he was almost 5 months old but he had already been sitting up by himself.

Sarah - posted on 09/16/2009

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20 pounds and 1 year. They may out grow their infant carseat though before then, especially if you have the infant carrier ones. You can buy the next size up that can be put in as either foward or rear facing seats. My son was 6 months when he had out grown his infant carseat, but still needed to be rear facing so went to the ones that could do both.

Brandy - posted on 09/16/2009

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My son is 9 months old, 31 inches long, and weighs 25 lbs and 14 oz. I had to switch him to the car seats that can be forward facing or backward facing. He is still facing backward but his feet do hit the back of the seat. I'll keep him that way until he is a year old, first because the law states that they have to be a year old, and second because before a year old babies neck muscles aren't strong enough to hold their heads right in an accident and turning them forward too soon could be catastrophic. Hope this helps.

Bethany - posted on 09/16/2009

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Quoting Sarah:

Oh he is 28 inches and 18 lbs. if that helps any advise at all. thanks again.


 



Oh okay, so if he's in an infant carseat he is perfectly fine.  I think every company that does infant carseats go to at least 22 lbs and 30inches.  Some newer ones even go up to 35lbs.  If he's in a reversible carseat then he's DEFINITELY okay!  I can't think of any that have to be turned around before 35 lbs.  But check the website for the manufacturer for the exact weight limits just to make sure.  They should have height limits as well, but I'd personally stick more with weight guidlelines; height is probably more flexible.

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