When do u turn the baby seat to face forward in the car?

Tiffany - posted on 01/13/2010 ( 190 moms have responded )

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my daughter is four months old and can hold her head very well. shes 8 kilograms. i dont have the seat instructions to tell me when to turn the seat around so it sits up facing the front. any advice?

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Susan - posted on 01/15/2010

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According to the law they should be either one year old or 20 lbs. Check with your Dr. first, though.

Ainslee - posted on 01/15/2010

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I would definately wait until she can completely sit on the floor alone for a significant amount of time.

Margie - posted on 01/15/2010

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I totally agree with you Jennifer. Better safe than sorry. Can you imagine saying "What if..." when it's too late for that?

Dawn - posted on 01/15/2010

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Not until her first birthday I think...Google the car seat and it will tell you...I am pretty sure on the 0ne yr. old...

Melanie - posted on 01/15/2010

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The car seat can be forward facing when the child is one year old AND 20lbs unless the guidelines have changed in the last couple of years. Your pediatrician should be able to tell you.

[deleted account]

You'll have to check the laws for where you live. I think in the US each state is actually different. Also, see if you can look up the seat info online, or contact them. My daughter's carrier only goes up to 20 pounds, so I will have to switch to her next seat soon. The next seat we got her rides backward til 24 pounds and then switches to seat her forward, so if I don't want to face her forward yet I can use it backward for a little longer.

Miriah - posted on 01/15/2010

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babies should stay rear facing until at least 1 year. SafeKids program recommends keeping them longer if baby can sit comfortably.

Helen - posted on 01/15/2010

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Four months is far too young to turn her forward facing. Weight is one factor, lenght is another but also whether or not the child is sitting independently as this shows they have developed muscle tone and strength. You should refer to the manufacturers guidelines also and bear in mind that that is usually a minimum suggestion! My middle child due to his size ended up being rearward facing form almost 18 months and he suffered from severe reflux which was always aggravated by being in the car! Eventually we were advised by the medics to turn him but this was not approved bby Britax who made hiws car seat. In some countries I think it is Denmark/Sweden they are supposed to be 5 yrs old before they turn to forward fafcing.

Rebecca - posted on 01/15/2010

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In the U.S. the car seat must be placed in the backward position until the baby turns one year old and 20 pounds! It's much safer for your infant to be facing backwards! The car seat should be placed in the middle of the back seat. Good luck to you!

Akilah - posted on 01/15/2010

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Double check online. I believe its always best to keep them rear facing for as long as possible.

Dalia - posted on 01/15/2010

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I think the new born's car seat has a maximum weight which is mentioned in the manual, & after she hits that weight you must buy a new one which is facing the front.......

Jennifer - posted on 01/15/2010

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I would not turn the seat forward yet. I'm in the US. Babies need to be at least 20lbs prior to facing forward. Plus so much safer for them :)

[deleted account]

There should be a name and model number on your car seat. Search it online and you'll find the exact height and weight requirements. Guessing is not safe. You should go right to the manufacturer's website. Best of Luck!

Angela - posted on 01/15/2010

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My youngest is 6, but if I remember correctly, it is one year, unless your child to extra long or large and their little legs just can't be squished up any more. But I would not turn them before 10 months

Amanda - posted on 01/15/2010

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on most instructions, and most of us docs agree it is 1 year and 20 lbs at least....however it is best to leave them rear facing as long as possible because even tho they can hold their heads up the ligaments and muscles in their necks are not capable of withstanding a whiplash type of injury. If you have a Britax car seat you can leave it rear facing for up to 35 lbs as long as your baby's length doesn't outgrow that.

Nancy - posted on 01/15/2010

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The standard is 1 year or 20lbs. I turned my one son around before one year (11 months, he wasn't quite 20lbs yet) because he is tall and his legs where hanging over the bottom of his carrier, making it difficult and uncomfortable for him to remain rear facing.

Deana - posted on 01/15/2010

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Law in the US is ! year AND 20 pounds not OR. BEST PRACTICE is to leave the child RF as long as the weight and height requirements of the seat allow it to be rear facing.

Laura - posted on 01/15/2010

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You should keept you child rear facing as long as she will stay that way, but it is recommended now that they sit rear facing until at least the age of two, if your childs legs get long it is recommended to just fold them. In many European countries children sit rear facing until the age of 4. The reason for children to sit rear facing for as long as possible is to allow for spinal cord development. Make sure you get the appropriate car seat if you make the decision to keep your child rear facing - there are limitations on how long car seats can be rear facing depending on the height and weight of your child. Hope that is helpful!

Carolyn - posted on 01/15/2010

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It should be a minimum of 1 year no matter where you live! Babies don't develop any faster in other parts of the world. Here is an explanation from the website www.carseat.org: Babies have heavy heads and fragile necks. The neck bones are soft, and the ligaments are stretchy. If the baby is facing forward in a frontal crash (the most common and most severe type of crash), the body is held back by the straps, but the head is not. The head is thrust forward, stretching the neck. Older children and adults wearing safety belts may end up with temporary neck injuries. But a baby's neck bones are soft and actually separate during a crash, and the spinal cord can tear. It's like yanking an electrical plug out of a socket by the cord and breaking the wires.

Brittany - posted on 01/15/2010

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i would definaltly wait until the baby is @ least a year and 22lbs... better safe than sorry. my son is 11 months hes still rear faing nut i purchased a cute mirror that is in the mid of the backseat and i can see him n talk n make silly faces which keeps both him and i comfortable

Joy - posted on 01/15/2010

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Safest way is to keep it facing backward unless their feet are getting squished into the seat.

Krystal - posted on 01/15/2010

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I agree with Caren,
All kids are diffrent and there are different laws. If your child is long and is hanging out of the rear facing car seat i think it would be safer to put them in a front facing one instead of there legs being cramped up against the seat. I guess if you use the regulations as a guideline and then try to do what you think is best it should be okay.

Caren1±JaA - posted on 01/15/2010

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It's funny how such a simple question has started such a massive debate. I am willing to guess that some of the people making judgements about Aussie laws(although good intentioned) have rarely left the "safety" of the USA. I had a frustrating experience going through Tokyo 2 years back. As Asians are new to car seats in general, I had to fight with the flight attendant to use my 2 year old sons car seat. He had a purchased seat on the flight, and generally it is preferred for them to sit in a car seat when on overseas flights. It took 4 people to convince before I could use it on the plane, and I was getting on Air Canada. I thought that it was so funny that a CSA (Canadian Standards Association ) approved car seat for Aircraft and Car travel was nearly refused on a Canadian aircraft because of the ignorance of the flight attendants. I think people need to keep their comments helpful and less opinionated of other countries laws unless they have lived there and experienced them first hand. As I said before I am sure you can find out what the manufacturer suggests if you check their website. I had one tall child and one short and hefty child. My oldest son out grew his infant seat at 6 months. His legs were hanging down over the front and I didn't want him to sit compeltely upright at that age (he was also nearly 30 pounds). My second son is in his second car seat now, but we didn't get him out of his infant seat until his was nearly 14 months old. Both my kids were sitting forward facing after they reached 20 pounds. I think they like the stimulation of looking out the windows and seeing the world around them. Not the material on the seat. As a Mom that has my kids most of the time, by myself, it was easier to care for my kids when in the car. Follow the manufacturers advice and then your own judgement is all I can say. You can call your local police department and find out where you can get your set checked for proper installtion. Sometimes in the summer here they will set up a car seat check in conjuction with community family days or children's clothing shops. The rule of thumb is that when you are installing it you are suppose to kneel in the seat with your own body weight while pulling the belt. Some seats have a guide with a little ball in it that tells you when the seat is installed in the correct position. Use the harsness if you have one, and your car has the support for it. (This will be later when forward facing mostly.) Hope this helps, where in aussie are you? I have friends from Perth, Tasmania, and Melbourne.

Krystal - posted on 01/15/2010

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I was told by our pediatrician for all 4 of my kids that you can get a seat that faces forward when they are close to 20 lbs. or are almost 1 year ols. You can not face any of the infant seats that can be carried around forward facing. There are some that are not able to be carried around that can be trurned facing forward .

Jennifer - posted on 01/15/2010

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I turned my son around about 7 or 8 months, although he was not yet 20 pounds he was too tall to comfortably sit facing the rear. So I would go with your mommy instincts and what's comfortable for your daughter.

Mel - posted on 01/15/2010

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Jodi Adams

4:55 pm Elisaha, thank you for your post. It's frustrating seeing so many Aussies stick to the law when we know the law is antiquated. Kudos to you! I think getting a seat from the States is an excellant idea!





Dana, so man Aussies "stick to the law" because that is all our seats allow us to do. The cost of shipping a seat out for the US is extremely expensive, and in many cases, prohibitive. Our seat ARE different and they comply with our safety standards. Maybe our speed limits are different, or other road laws, which therefore reduce the possibility of such incidents becoming fatal, I don't know, or perhaps the safety standards on our cars are different. But to criticise Australia's laws in relation to car seat safety and consider them archaic is not looking at the entire picture of the differences between our countries and all of the safety standards in place.



Personally, I get frustrated at those who DON'T follow the law as the absolute minimum, because they are deliberately going out of their way to endanger their children





I feel the same way as Jodi and am sick of people saying bad things about our laws when I have said soo many times now OUR SEATS ARE MADE DIFFERENTLY. Its like people sit their ignoring these facts

Caren1±JaA - posted on 01/15/2010

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You can usually put a baby forward facing at 6-9 months depending on the weight. But they should be 20 pounds minimum. If you know the make and model of the car seat, you can probably find their website on the internet and see what they recommend. You should be able to find the serial number and model number of the seat on the sticker.

Miranda - posted on 01/15/2010

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All my babies turned forward facing around 12-15 mos., because that's when they reached 20-25 lbs. I would say keep her rear-facing as long as it's comfortable for her. Someone said they plan on keeping their child rear-facing until they reach to 55 lb. weight maximum. My 6 year old is 55 lbs. & there's NO WAY she could sit rear-facing in that type of seat. It makes much more sense to try to do so until 2 years, but depending on how tall your child is, that may not be reasonable. You need to take into consideration how your child's feet/legs will fit between the child seat & the actual car seat.

Megan - posted on 01/15/2010

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Normally, you are to leave the child facing the rear of the car until they are 1 year old. Then you can turn them forward facing! Hope this helps!

Kathy - posted on 01/15/2010

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There is lots of interesting information and I suggest that those 'rushing' them into FF google it/look at videos of it. Not only can they suffer internal decapitation but hairline fractures from some sudden braking.. and yes its not about OUR driving, but others, or avoidance of accidents.



I personally don't want my baby put at risk, he is far too valuable and will stay in his larger RF+FF carseat in the RF position for as long as is comfortably possible, my daughter was the same, even though she was far happier when she was FF.



As many have said the law is far behind recommendations around the world.

Peita - posted on 01/15/2010

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Krista, I didn't realise that our laws had changed, that date of the changes was in the middle of an extremely complicated pregnancy and delivery for me! I am aware of all of our knew laws if they pass them, but wasn't aware that one had already been passed, thanks for the update! I was just letting Tiffany know what my instructions said as she had lost hers, guess I am a little outdated, I better read up though since I have a new bub and all :)

Jodi - posted on 01/15/2010

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Elisaha, thank you for your post. It's frustrating seeing so many Aussies stick to the law when we know the law is antiquated. Kudos to you! I think getting a seat from the States is an excellant idea!




Dana, so man Aussies "stick to the law" because that is all our seats allow us to do. The cost of shipping a seat out for the US is extremely expensive, and in many cases, prohibitive. Our seat ARE different and they comply with our safety standards. Maybe our speed limits are different, or other road laws, which therefore reduce the possibility of such incidents becoming fatal, I don't know, or perhaps the safety standards on our cars are different. But to criticise Australia's laws in relation to car seat safety and consider them archaic is not looking at the entire picture of the differences between our countries and all of the safety standards in place.



Personally, I get frustrated at those who DON'T follow the law as the absolute minimum, because they are deliberately going out of their way to endanger their children.

Susanna - posted on 01/14/2010

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I don't care what the regulation says. The safest way to transport a child is facing the rear, and my daughter will travel that way as long as she sits in a car seat, so until she's 5-7 years old. Why on earth would I ever want to turn her to face the front and subject her to possible whiplash even when it's "legal" to turn her around? She won't know the difference as she's used to facing the rear. She's 1 year 8 months now, and very content alone on the back seat in a rear facing seat. When we have another child (in 5 months), he/she will join her at the back, facing the rear of the car.

Alejandra - posted on 01/14/2010

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I live in Mexico, and our car seats are like the US seats. Babies are to ride on the seat rear facing, until they reach 20 pounds, are one year and are 86 inches long. From what I´ve read, babies younger or smaller than that do not have enough force in their necks and spines to support a crash. My baby is 10 months old and weighs almost 10 kilos. I had to buy a convertible car seat when he turned 4 months, because he was too uncomfortable in the first one we bought. I think he is more than eager to be sitting facing front, but he´ll have to wait a little longer !!!!!

Melissa - posted on 01/14/2010

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I would to stress that HOW the car seat fits in your car is just as important as which direction the child is facing. Believe it or not some car seats just will not work in some cars. The seat I currently use for my 3 1/2 year old (he needs the 5 point straps to keep him upright since he falls asleep frequently in the car). It hooks in quickly and doesn't budge in my '08 T&C, but tried 3 different rental cars this summer, the straps couldn't tighten anymore and yet the car seat was still moving more than 4 inches in any direction. I actually upgraded the rental to the minivan just so the seat would fit correctly. I'm sure a local hospital could recommend where you could go to have the installation checked as well.

Dana - posted on 01/14/2010

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Elisaha, thank you for your post. It's frustrating seeing so many Aussies stick to the law when we know the law is antiquated. Kudos to you! I think getting a seat from the States is an excellant idea!

Eleisha - posted on 01/14/2010

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Hey, I am an Aussie to and have been at loggerheads with my family over this exact topic. Australia says 8 kilos and 6 month (they have to be both). I have decided to keep Ava rear facing until 12 kilos (the max capacity that Australian seats will take rear facing). Australia is very far behind the rest of the world on this matter, as most countries say law is 1 year old and 20 pounds; in fact Switzerland recommend children stay rear facing util 4 years. It is disapointing that Australia is so far behind, and I am presently looking at purchasing a seat from the US that is rear facing up until 50 pounds. I know you say that your 4 month old is very strong in her neck, but imagine the force of an accident and how her neck would be thrust forward. My advice is REAR FACING until she possibly can't fit. Better a broken leg than a broken neck!

Krista - posted on 01/14/2010

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The instructions on our Australian car seat say 6 months or 8 kg! It does not say if they are 8 kg, you have to wait till they are 6 months still and it does not say if they are 6 months, you have to wait until they are 8 kg's, so I guess there is a grey area! I would suggest ringing KIDSAFE if you are in Australia, they have all safety regulations reguarding car seats, I think all rear facing seats have the same restrictions! Don't forget that the new Australian car seat laws are set to come in March if they are approved!


Actually, if you look it up, the laws in Australia changed in November of 2009. Now, even if they are over 8kg, you STILL have to wait until they're at least 6 months old. Mind you, there's absolutely nothing stopping Australian parents from waiting even longer than what the law requires, which is what a lot of us are suggesting.

Hope this helps.

Cassie - posted on 01/14/2010

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I always thought I had an extreme view on it because I planned on turning my daughter around at 21 months when our next little one is born in July but now I think I will wait longer. There is nothing to be gained by turning our little ones around too soon but so much to be lost if we do!

Cassie - posted on 01/14/2010

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Brandy Cassil,

The video you posted is an EXCELLENT reminder of why babies need to be rear facing for as long as possible!! Thank you for that contribution to this post!!!

Amber Lynne - posted on 01/14/2010

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I year and 20 pounds...my son was huge as well, his legs were cramped up. He had good head control too, but we didn't turn him until age 1 as the law says. Our ped-told us that it's better to have cramped legs than a broke neck. Better to be safe than sorry.

Jennifer - posted on 01/14/2010

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My daughter just turned to forward facing 2 weeks ago when she hit 33 lbs (at 3 and 1/2/), the max limit for her to be rear facing. I live in SC, and most people think I'm absurd, but I've seen the videos of crash tests! There were times she balked at the idea, since her brother, 5, was forward facing. I would rather have her be slightly upset than ever injured because of facing forward. Yes, it was cramped in my backseat when we had two RFing carseats along with a ff one, but it was well worth my peace of mind. My youngest is 25 lbs at 14 months, and probably won't make it to 3 and 1/2, but he'll stay as long as he can!

Elaine - posted on 01/14/2010

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if you know the brand of your seat you can look it up on the net quite a lot of them have instruction booklets in pdf form on their web sites

Dana - posted on 01/14/2010

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Dana said "Don't listen to manufacturer, they just make seats, not policy." You also need to follow the manufacturer guidelines. They may not make policy, but they do test the seats. The guidelines they put on there are saying that they have not been tested for weights above or below, therefore they don't know what would happen in an accident. You have to follow your laws first, but never go past the manufacturers guide lines either. If the baby's weight exceeds the max for the car seat, but is not enough to meat the laws requirement you need to buy a bigger car seat. Look up the laws were you live. The law is the minimum legal height/weight/age. However that does not mean you have to switch when they reach that, you can keep them rear facing longer. It is safer. Once your child has reached the laws minimums it is your choice.
Well obviously you follow the guidelines for the weight the seat can go up to.

Brandi - posted on 01/14/2010

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not until the baby is 1 year old AND 20 lbs. (i don't know how many kilos that is, sorry). At least that is the law in America.

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