At what age/weight do babies start facing forward with their car seats?

MOST HELPFUL POSTS

[deleted account]

Our daughter was premature and has been small throughout - at eighteen months she's still not 20 pounds! All the advice says they have to be 20 pounds but she's got long legs so she went forward facing at 10 months because it was becoming very uncomfortable for her to be rear facing.

Alyssa - posted on 09/28/2009

96

12

6

Quoting Emily :

The bare minimum is 12 months AND at least 20 pounds. However...the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that children be rear facing until 2 years of age. My pediatrician explained it like this...in military planes, all the seats are rear facing. This providers greater safety to the passenger in the case of a crash. Keep in mind these are adults...full grown men and women. So...we kept our sun rear -facing until he was 15 months old, and only turned him forward when his legs were too long for him to be comfortable or safe in the rear-facing position (he's very tall, grater that 97% for his age). Bottom line is check with your pediatrician about his recommendations for the best thing for your child.


Peds or docs are NOT carseats techs and generally have no idea about carseat safety and what is safest.  Do NOT ask your doctor...ask a safekids certified carseat technician.

Eva - posted on 09/23/2009

158

60

30

The AAP now recommends 2 years AND 30#. Rear facing is the safest way for a child to ride.

[deleted account]

1 year AND 20 lbs is the minimum for forward facing in the US. However it is much safer to keep them rear facing up to the limit of your car seat. Some seats rear face up to 40lbs. Toddlers are five times less likely to be injured in a crash if they are rear facing instead of forward. My son is 1 yr and 29lbs, and he'll be rear facing for several more months at least.

Christine - posted on 09/22/2009

24

38

2

the weight limits will be in your specific car seat info. but to face forward, they have to be 1 year old

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

74 Comments

View replies by

Amber - posted on 09/29/2009

1

19

0

My kids doctor said 15-18 months. She didn't base it on weight, only their age. She said that's when they have enough muscle development/control to protect their head and neck in a crash. Their doctor is the Dean of the UT Medical School in the Texas Medical Center; Houston, TX.

Louise - posted on 09/28/2009

1

0

0

It's been a while for me. But when my son's feet where touching the back seat and his knees where bunched up we turned him around. He was about 7months old and over the 20lb mark. We started life out at 10lbs (big Boy)

[deleted account]

You know, I have to wonder what people are driving who say that their one year olds (or younger) no longer fit rear-facing. I drive a 2-door Chevy Cavalier - I don't think there are many American cars smaller than mine. And yet my 32 inch tall, 29 lb one year old fits just fine rear facing. His feet just barely brush against the back seat. He'll be able to sit that way for quite awhile longer, too. The hard part is actually getting him into the seat, since we don't have a rear doors. And as others have said, even if their feet do touch, that isn't a problem anyway.

Emily - posted on 09/28/2009

50

6

4

The bare minimum is 12 months AND at least 20 pounds. However...the American Academy of Pediatrics is now recommending that children be rear facing until 2 years of age. My pediatrician explained it like this...in military planes, all the seats are rear facing. This providers greater safety to the passenger in the case of a crash. Keep in mind these are adults...full grown men and women. So...we kept our sun rear -facing until he was 15 months old, and only turned him forward when his legs were too long for him to be comfortable or safe in the rear-facing position (he's very tall, grater that 97% for his age). Bottom line is check with your pediatrician about his recommendations for the best thing for your child.

Traci - posted on 09/28/2009

27

20

0

Quoting Sarah:

I had the same problem with my daughter but I did put her in a front facing car seat at 12 months and i've had no problem.



I understand what your trying to say, but realize that in reality you can do whatever you want regarding car seats and you will have "no problem" until you've actually been in an accident.  Once your in a car accident, it's too late at that point to know whether what you are doing is a "problem" or not.



I myself turned my own boys forward facing at 13 months and 16 months respectively.  I had no problem.  But the ONLY reason that I had no problem is because I've never been in a car accident with them.  Had I been in a car accident I could easily be the parent on here telling the story of how my son died because I was too eager to turn him forward facing.  Don't think it doesn't happen.  I've heard enough other parents' stories to know that it does.



The thing about car accidents is that we never know when or where it's going to happen so we have to ALWAYS keep our children AS SAFE AS POSSIBLE EVERY TIME we get in the car.  I know we can't protect our kids from everything, but car seat safety is so easy that it just seems wrong to not protect them in this way the best we possibly can.

Traci - posted on 09/28/2009

27

20

0

Quoting Jessica:

Thank you everyone for the help! I am just a little too excited to turn my daughter around so I can see her face. Guess I will be waiting since she is only 10 months old.



I can understand your excitement at wanting to turn her around but I urge you to hold off as long as possible for her own safety.  Just because the law says 1 year and 20lbs doesn't mean it's completely safe to turn them at that time.  Even at a year old, their little heads are so heavy in comparison to their total body weight, and their neck muscles are still so underdeveloped.  If they are in a crash while forward facing, their head will be thrust forward while the body is restrained in the seat.  The force of the head going forward is enough to literally detach the head from the spinal cord internally and the child will die.  It has happened many times to many parents in the past.  If child is rear-facing, the entire body goes back into the seat in the overall forward thrust of the car.  The seat essentially cradles the entire body during impact and it is rare for a child to die due to the force of a crash if they are rear-facing.



In other countries like Sweden, they regularly keep their kids rear-facing until about age 4 and their infant/child mortality rate due to car accidents is almost nil.  Something to think about.



Find yourself a convertible car seat (one made to go backward and forward).  Most allow rear facing up to 30lbs and the really good ones allow rear facing up to 45lbs.  Then keep your daughter rear facing for as long as you possibly can.  It may be a bit more of a pain in the daily outings, but if you are ever in a car accident you will be so, so thankful you kept her rear facing.

Monica - posted on 09/27/2009

10

32

0

I WASJUST AT MY DAUGHTERS DR AND SHE SAID THEYVE CHANGED IT , USE TO BE A YEAR OR SO BUT NOW THEY SAY 2 YEARS.LONG TIME ISNT IT.

Tamara - posted on 09/27/2009

10

2

0

I heard you can use a front facing seat but it needs to be turned backwards. I called the police department and asked them because I run a home daycare and I had a child who was 8 months old and 25 pounds and this is what they told me.

Tamara - posted on 09/27/2009

10

2

0

Go to www.boosterseat.gov it has all the car seat laws from infant to age eight.
front facing 20 pounds and 1 year
front facing 1-4years up to 40 pounds
booster 40-80 pounds up to age 8.
seat belts only 80 pounds or 4 ft 9 and age 8.

Brittney - posted on 09/27/2009

2

4

0

Well in our state the law says "1 year AND 20lbs" But its best to keep then rear facing till they reach the weight limits on their seat, unless they reach the shell height before then. My daughter stayed rear facing till she was 20 months old. She is still a peanut but we were forced to FF her because i couldnt' fit twin infant seats in the back seat with her marathon rear facing. The longer you rear face them the better!

And remember, the chest clip goes at armpit height, not by their bellies. (just a tip)

Shanyn - posted on 09/27/2009

2

18

0

The new update is 2 years old. It's safer. It's been proven to be safer. Their heads are still too heavy compared to their neck muscles so in a collision their head would propel them forward and their neck could brake. Facing backwards is the safest position until they are 2 years old and their neck muscles are more developed.
http://aapnews.aappublications.org/cgi/c...
Please please please keep your baby rear facing until they are 2!
Thank you. :)

Ida - posted on 09/27/2009

6

8

0

Usually it tells you somewhere around the seat on mine it said 8 or 9 kg cant recall just have a quick look.

Sylvia - posted on 09/26/2009

1,315

8

31

The law where I live (Ontario), and pretty much all manufacturers' recommendations AFAIK, says at least 20 lb AND at least 1 year.

My kid was rear-facing until after her second birthday because she didn't weigh 20 lb until then.

Ivy - posted on 09/26/2009

41

19

0

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rear facing until 2-years-old or to the highest weight limit of your car seat (convertible seats).

My 26month old daughter is 27lbs and will continue to be rear facing until she is close to 3. It is safer to keep her rear facing as long as possible. Yes it is convenient and more fun for us to interact when she is forward facing but safety is our primary concern not fun or convenience.

The law only states 1year AND AND AND 20lbs but that is something that will eventually change seeing as the AAP change is pretty recent.

Sarah - posted on 09/26/2009

2

10

0

I had the same problem with my daughter but I did put her in a front facing car seat at 12 months and i've had no problem.

Andrea - posted on 09/26/2009

5

1

0

They are now saying 2 years or 30lbs. However when my oldest dauther was born 2 1/2 years ago they said 12 months 20lbs,but do to so many safety regulations and children who have been seriously injured under 2 years who have been forward facing they have changed it to 2 years or 30 lbs.

[deleted account]

American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends 2 years or that they stay rear facing as long as possible.

Melissa - posted on 09/26/2009

53

30

5

Check you car seat manufacturer. The one I purchased suggested 25 pounds. Once your child has reached the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of the seat for rear-facing, she can ride forward-facing in a convertible seat. However, it is best for her to ride rear-facing to the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of her car safety seat. She should ride in a forward-facing seat with a harness until she outgrows it (usually at around 4 years of age and about 40–65 pounds). My friends were suprised that my daughter just now converted to her "big girl" front facing seat at 21 months- but she has always been little and her weight is just now 25 pounds- I hope this was helpful.

Tracy - posted on 09/25/2009

32

5

0

The bare minimum is 1yr and 20lbs, but it is SO much safer to keep them rear facing as long as possible. I applaud those that keep their 4 yr old rear facing, but I believe you really need to do what is right for your family. I kept my daughter rear facing until 15 months old and I believe she was about 23lbs. She didn't care either way and didn't complain about being rear facing, I had a mirror so I could see her just fine. I turned her around because I had surgery and while I was in the hospital she stayed with my mother in law for 2 weeks (so my husband could be with me and go to work) and I didn't know she put the car seat in forward facing into her car. After that my daughter wanted nothing to do with rear facing, and also I could not lift her into the car seat that way with my surgery recovery so it helped having her be able to climb in herself. So do what works for you, but don't turn them around just because they hit that 1 yr/20lb limit. If the baby is happy and not bothered by it then keep them rear facing and get a mirror. As has been mentioned, it's better than a broken neck.

Caryn - posted on 09/25/2009

39

27

3

If you are in the United States, almost every fire department will do carseat checks to make sure it is properly installed and that you are following guidelines (also the safety of your carseat). As well as many big operations (such as Walmart, in our area they are actually having one this week!). The ppl there are licensed and the check is free. You should be able to contact your fire department to see when they or someone else has a clinic set up.

[deleted account]

i think it varies by state, in NC, they can face forward after their first birthday, move to a booster seat at around 3/4 , and lose the seat altogether at 8.

Mel - posted on 09/25/2009

5,539

58

226

in the US one year and 20-22 lbs, in australia 6 months or 6-8 kilos. i personally forward faced my daughetr around 4-5 months the first time she didnt have good enough head control so i switched her back then second time she was fine. they enjoy being forward facing much more. good luck with whatever you decide

Christi - posted on 09/25/2009

5

20

0

The age is 1 yrs old in the US. But you should also insure that the baby can sit up on its own and old its head up.

Tammy - posted on 09/25/2009

1

10

0

As a nurse and child passenger safety tech. I will agree that the law says 20lbs and 1 year. However best practice is to keep them rear facing as long as possible. It is the safest position for their necks. In European countries they have car seats that keep the children rear facing until they are 4. As parents we need to do what's best for our children, they don't know the difference between forward or rear facing.

TammyRN

Angela - posted on 09/25/2009

15

5

0

I totally agree with keeping a child rearfacing as long as possible! All carseats have weight and height guidelines. Just read the manual and you can see how long your seat can go either rear or forward facing. I have three children (4 yrs, 2 years and 5 months) and drive a car with three Radian XTs in the back seat. I drive them everywhere...and I want them to be the safest possible. When I was researching car seats I found the youtube video that someone above posted and and also one about the importance of the five-point harness. After seeing those videos, reading up on safety and hearing from parents who lost their little ones in car accidents, I had to buy a car seat that would rear face for a long time and keep them in the five point harness as long as possible. I love the Radian XT and wouldn't trade it for anything. I know my kids are safe...isn't that was is the most important...not how quickly they were able to face forward?

Jen - posted on 09/25/2009

2

24

1

A lot of people keep talking about what the law says, i.e; 1 year and 20 lbs in the US, etc, but just because it's legal doesn't mean it's the safest. The laws are the bare minimum in most cases, not to mention there is much more to worry about than being ticketed. It's just really disheartening to read some of the replies where people are trying to justify their reasons for ignoring the safety warnings. Read your car seat manual, do more research and watch the crash test videos to see what a huge step down in safety it is to be so quick to turn a child forward facing. The same thing can be said for extended harnessing. My daughter is in kindergarten and is still in a 5pt harnessed seat that will keep her that way up to 65 lbs. She's barely halfway there so I'm not about to put her in a seatbelt booster that she's not big enough for.

Watch some of the videos on youtube from parents who have learned the hard way and lost a child or had them paralyzed from the neck down because they were in such a hurry to turn them around or just weren't aware that there were safer ways for them to travel.

Bobbi-Jo - posted on 09/24/2009

6

24

0

i go by what is stated on my car seat. it says 22 pounds. my daughter is almost 16 months and only 20 lbs. we are from Nova Scotia, Canada

Cheryl - posted on 09/24/2009

2

20

0

ive just looked at the other replies, i take these are all from usa. my reply of 8kg, is for qld australia. my two youngest grandsons are 6 and 4 mths old and we turned around their seats when they reached 8kg.

Cheryl - posted on 09/24/2009

2

20

0

presently in qld, its 8kg before you can turn the baby seat around, but as of next year it's being changed. it's going to be age related not by weight. but sorry have forgotten what the age was.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/24/2009

2

10

0

You should keep your baby facing backwards until the limit on your carseat is reached. Most infant carriers go to about 22LBS and you can get a convertible carseat which typically allows reverse facing through 35LBS. Reverse facing is proven much safer for your babies, so the longer the better.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/24/2009

11

23

0

They have to be at least a year old and weigh 20lbs. If you turn them around before either of those and you get into an accident their head can swing forward and their trachea can collapse which will cause them to sufficate

Joie - posted on 09/24/2009

4

29

0

in Canada it is 1 year and at least 20 lbs, but in 2010 they are changing it to they HAVE to be TWO years before switching the seats to forward facing. I switched my son at 1.5 years and he wanted to go back to rear facing because forward facing was scary for him. But we needed the rear facing seat for the next one, so I believe rear facing for longer is better for them in the long run

Alisa - posted on 09/24/2009

44

14

0

Usually around a year old, weight also plays a role in this. Also, each state has their own guide lines, may want to call local police dept. or look online under your state's transportation laws. I do know that they have to be in the back seat to face forward, no matter where you're from. Good luck!

Alyssa - posted on 09/24/2009

96

12

6

Is your sons ped a certified carseat tech through safekids? I doubt it. Peds have no idea what is safer for children in a car and they SHOULD NOT be giving out carseat advice to parents. As is evident by them not even recommending the guidelines set forth by their own governing body the AAP which says children should remain rearfacing till at LEAST 2 or the limit of their seat. Doc's have NO IDEA about what is safe in a car. A child at 1 year old is NOT old enough to be forward facing. Unless you think internal decapitation is a fun thing that you want to deal with, then by all means go for it.

Heather - posted on 09/24/2009

1

4

0

My son's pediatrician said that the minimum age requirement is one year, and the weight is 20lb. The reason for the age and weight is due to the development of their neck muscles. If they are facing forward before that age and weight, and there is a crash their neck muscles are not developed enough, and that could cause an injury to the baby.

Alyssa - posted on 09/24/2009

96

12

6

There has never been 1 case of children with broken legs from rear-facing....there have been THOUSANDS of cases of children being internally decapitated by forward facing. I would rather my child have broken legs then be DEAD.

Kelli - posted on 09/24/2009

14

4

0

It depends on your child. While yes it is safer for the child to be rear facing if you get in an accident, my daughter outgrew hers at 10 months, so we put her in a forward facing seat. She didn't outgrow the weight limit, but her legs were becoming squished by the back of the seat and we could not let out the straps anymore. My son who is smaller than she was I will probably wait until he is 1 unless he outgrows his as well.

Kelly - posted on 09/24/2009

766

15

189

Danita----yes....leave him rear facing till he is too big for the seat limits....there have been no cases of broken legs because of them touching the back of the seat....my son is 26 pounds and 31 inches long and his feet are not even close to the back of the seat...

Alyssa - posted on 09/24/2009

96

12

6

You need to wait until he reaches the limit of the seat. I will never understand the fascination with turning your child around at a year. It is 5 times safer for them to remain rear facing.

Danita - posted on 09/24/2009

2

1

0

Thats crazy! I was wondering the same thing.... my son is only 7 months and already 32 inches and 25 lbs. Do I have to wait till he's a year? his poor little feet hit the back of the truck seat when rearfacing....

Alyssa - posted on 09/24/2009

96

12

6

My 4 year old is still rearfacing. Your children should rear face until the limit of their seat.

Ginette - posted on 09/24/2009

2

0

0

For the safety of your child, they should be rear facing as long as possible. They will outgrow their infant seats long before they are ready to be turned forward. Therefore it is important to purchase a convertable child seat. The one we use for our DD rearfaces till 35 pounds! She is 26 months old and still RF! She doesn't mind at all, since she doesn't know any different. There are several youtube videos showing the importance of extended rearfacing, but this one is the best.....

Cathy - posted on 09/24/2009

11

32

0

It depends on the regulations of your province. In Nova Scotia a child must be a minimum of 1 year old and 22 lbs before they can be forward facing. There is a website called childsafetylink that has all the information up to booster seats and including other safety features like cribs, etc.

Shannen - posted on 09/24/2009

1

5

0

my babys 9 months and her forwerd.hes a big boy and he grew fast and couldnt fit properly rear facing hes been forwrd 4 a few months now. it all depends on your seat and your baby in australia your baby has to be able to hold there own head up

Jenn - posted on 09/23/2009

2,683

36

93

Quoting Jessica:

Thank you everyone for the help! I am just a little too excited to turn my daughter around so I can see her face. Guess I will be waiting since she is only 10 months old.


Why not purchase a mirror that goes on the back of her seat so you can see her face?  That way she will be safer and you can see her cute smile!  :)

Raynae - posted on 09/23/2009

81

41

17

Thank you everyone for the help! I am just a little too excited to turn my daughter around so I can see her face. Guess I will be waiting since she is only 10 months old.

If you see this, leave this form field blank.
Powered by RESPECT not THUMPS

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms