When should I put my son in a front facing car seat?

Jessika - posted on 09/16/2010 ( 200 moms have responded )

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My son is almost 9 months and hes getting too big for is rear facing car seat.
He is about 27-28 inches long and 20 pounds. I know they go by weight but I'm not sure if I should go to the next step or wait until he is one?
any advice?

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Nikki - posted on 09/19/2010

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KEEP HIM RF AS LONG AS POSSIBLE, FORGET WHAT THE LAW STATES IT IS SOOO MUCH SAFER TO KEEP THEM RF. A child who is FF is 5 times more likely to face serious injury including being paralysed and even death then a child who is RF
Watch this video, its a miracle story but it gives you all the facts about why you should keep them RF, there are convertible seats that allow you to keep them RF til 35-45lbs ( my son is a big boy 27lbs and 35 inches and he is still RF @ 15 months and will be as long as possible, Ive always said ill take broken legs over a broken spine anyday, and also there are no reported accidents of children breaking there legs in RF carseats

Alecia - posted on 09/16/2010

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i urge u to do research. all u have to do is type "forward facing car seats" in youtube. u will see videos and hear testimonals that rear-facing is WAAAY safer. actually up to 5x safer. my daughter is small and fit in her infant carrier until just recently (about 12 mnths old). we got her a "big girl" seat that faces the rear until 40 lbs then keeps her in a 5 pt harness til 65 lbs. leg length is NOT important when it comes to rear-facing, but their head does have to be an inch or more from the top of the car seat. u can easily buy a carseat that rear-faces up to 40 lbs for 40 dollars. if u want the seat to last longer (we got the Graco myride 65). then buy a convertible. to some $150 might sound like alot, but if the car seat last for 4-5 yrs, it really only equals about 50 bucks a yr. affordable for anyone when it comes to their childs safety.

Sherri - posted on 09/16/2010

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The US recommends keeping them rear facing now till 3 yrs old.

Jocelyn - posted on 09/16/2010

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Do not turn him around ANY EARLIER than ONE YEAR old (and over 20lbs, but you don't have to worry about that lol)
If he is growing our of his little car seat, go buy another one. Look for a 3in1 (that rear faces for 35 lbs, forward face to 60 and then work as a booster seat ^_^ they;re great)

[deleted account]

Marita is 100% wrong. A six month old baby will die in a collision he barely would have felt rear-facing.

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Krista - posted on 09/24/2010

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Everybody, I think we're received some very good responses here, with some good, solid evidence that rear-facing as long as possible is the safest option for our children. So, I am going to lock this thread now. Thank you very much for contributing.



Krista

WTCOM Moderator

Tammy - posted on 09/24/2010

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They are supposed to meet the height/weight requirements AND be at least one and preferably older before they turn forward facing. You can get a "convertable" seat that will allow him to continue to be rear-facing for up to about 35 pounds and then the same seat will also install forward facing when you are ready. My almost 2-year old daughter is still rear-facing and will be as long as possible because it really is much safer for them to be rear-facing as long as possible. Good luck!!

Tammy

Lyssa - posted on 09/24/2010

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The LAW is at least 1 yr of age AND 20 pounds. So even if he is nearing the weight , he has to clear the age limit to make sure that his bones are strong enough to support him. If you are uncomfortable with him in the rear facing infant seat, I suggest getting a convertible seat. That way, he can finish out his time in the rear facing position and when he is old enough, you can turn him around. That is the safest way to go. Here in FL, kids are supposed to be in carseats/boosters until they are 8 years of age and 4'9".

Sherri - posted on 09/24/2010

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Marita I disagree with every single thing you said. That is nuts I would so rather be safe then sorry. My son won't be out of a 5pt harness till he is 65pounds.

[deleted account]

Legally one year, but the safety recommendations are 4 years. One year is a minimum. Do you usually do the minimum for your child?

Saundra - posted on 09/24/2010

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My understanding is that length and weight are important, as long as your baby is at least 1 year old. My son is 14 months and still sits rear facing. He is almost 25 lbs and 30 inches tall. You can move into your next level car seat and still seat him rear facing until he hits his birthday. Try to resist to the urge to turn him around! 1 yr will be here before you know it.

Elizabeth - posted on 09/24/2010

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Your son may be a certain height and weight but that does not necessarily mean that his neck is strong enough to support his head in the event of a crash. Rather be safe than sorry. I would continue to use the rear facing seat and talk to his doctor before switching.
Ann

Marita - posted on 09/24/2010

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Agreed with you, please used some common sense, we all want our kids to be safe....that is a fact....like a said my son went there at 6 months. Tina with all my heart don't be a e very stressfull moms take it easy .....otherwise your baby will grow to be just like you a very nervous baby. Babies are not made of butter they are very strong ...........of course in case of a very bad accident nobody will survive..Don't worry be happy follow your mother's heart.

Mary - posted on 09/24/2010

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If you have an infant seat, I would get a convertible one and leave him rear facing (you'll need it sooner or later anyway).

Amanda - posted on 09/24/2010

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Even if he is too big for the infant carrier or infant seat, most car seats for toddlers and bigger children are being designed to be rear facing up to 35 lbs. I would definitly buy the larger seat and then keep him rear facing until at least a year.

Angela - posted on 09/24/2010

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My advice is to keep him in a rear facing seat as long as possible. It is far better for them should you get in to an accident. My son is long and heavy for his age, and we had him rear facing untl he was well over a year (more like a year and a half) old. He did, however grow out of his infant seat and we switched to an Evenflo Triumph convertible seat which allowed for much more room and for us to keep him in the safer rear facing position much longer. That is something to consider.

Melissa - posted on 09/24/2010

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Our pediatrician told us no earlier than one year and, I think, 20 pounds. He said the longer you can leave them rear-facing the better. He was rear-facing until he was about 16 months old.

Jami - posted on 09/24/2010

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Honestly, I am a VERY strong advocate of rear facing as long as possible. My son was rear facing until he was almost 3 (a month before his third birthday I noticed he was too tall to be rear facing in his seat any longer). There are seats that go beyond the 20 or 21 lb rear facing weight limit. I got a Radian 80, though it's rather pricey. But, the benefits of it are amazing, primarily, it is the only car seat he will ever need. The longer you keep them rear facing the better, they are at so much more risk of injury in a collision forward facing, and an other car seat is so much easier to purchase than the hospital bills, ya know?

Kimberly - posted on 09/24/2010

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There should be another seat available & it sometimes may not be at the most obvious places such as Babies R US, or Toys R US. Try in the most nonconspicious places. He just might be able to use a forward facing car seat the rules are on the sides of the box, check the boxes or box before purchase the regulations & or requirements are there on the box. However you just might have to make that switch.

[deleted account]

Technically it is one year old before can face front, however I turned both of my children around early because they were too tall/long to continue facing backwards. Call your local Sheriff's department to make sure that you won't get in trouble for that though.

Myetta - posted on 09/24/2010

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Just look into bigger rear facing carseats. I know someone who has a 2 year old who still is rear facing, they have certain seats that make it so it can face rear for a while longer

Jessica - posted on 09/24/2010

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Rear Facing is SAFEST! In Sweden they keep there kids rear facing until 4 years old! because thats when their spine matures. My 3 year old is still rear facing he is very tall and 37 lbs. There are many convertable car seats out there that are rear facing up to 40 even 50lbs(thats what I have the Radian xtsl) So anyway you should keep rear facing as long as possible it is SAFEST!

Joan - posted on 09/24/2010

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As a Car Seat Technician, we recommend that you keep your child rear-facing as long as possible. It sounds like to me you have him an infant seat. Go to the store and look at Convertible car seats. Most seats are good up to 35 pounds rear facing and 4o pounds forward facing. Some seats have even a higher weight limit. The safest position for your child is to be rear-facing. If you have questions, you can always contact http://safekids.org/ and this website can direct you to a Car Seat Technician in your area. This person can help you fit the car seat to your child and help teach proper installation of your seat. Please consider keeping your child rear-facing as long as possible!

Sherry - posted on 09/24/2010

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I live in Georgia and when I asked anyone (pediatrician, law officials, etc.) about this I was told to read the manufacturers instructions on the side of the car seat, because this is what the officers go by. All the seats I looked at said rear facing until 1 year AND 20lbs. My son was 20 lbs at 9 months and his legs were folded double against the back of the seat....most uncomfortable for the little guy on long trips. I agree rear facing is much safer, but as soon as he turned one he was flipped forward facing, I couldn't bear to hear him whining because his legs were all crammed up.



We were using a convertable seat not an infant seat....he was out of the infant seat in three months. 97th percentile on his height and weight since his first month check-up.

Dena - posted on 09/24/2010

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I kept my daughter rear facing longer because I knew it was safer. At 18 months, I switched her forward facing, but she is going rear facing again now that I have seen your video. Thank you! You could potentially have saved her life...

Krista - posted on 09/24/2010

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as an EMT i had the unfortunately.....*pleasure*......of seeing a 2yo with internal decapitation. dead instantly. he was FF and properly restrained, meeting all laws (1yr/20lb to FF) but his neck was still not strong enough to protect him in an accident.

Oh, Janelle...how awful.

I'm re-posting what you wrote because I want everybody to re-read it, and read it well.

Babies' necks are NOT strong enough to withstand that kind of force, people. I hope I don't see any more comments about cramped up legs or wanting to see out the window. None of that crap matters. We're talking about babies' LIVES here.

Jessica, I would recommend that you get a convertible car seat that can go from RF to FF. I bought the Graco MyRide 65, and it's great. My 13-month old is still RF, and will be able to do so until he is 40 lbs. (Right now, he's 32 inches long and 25 lbs.) And he's got all kinds of room for his legs. My advice is this: get a car seat that will allow your son to remain rear-facing for as long as is possible. That's the safest option, bar none.

Lisa - posted on 09/24/2010

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It also depends on his neck control and how well he is sitting up, dont be in any rush to turn them, my little one is a year old on monday and she will still be rear facing until around xmas time as she is not heavy enough, better to be safe than sorry!!

[deleted account]

I am a FIRM believer of not doing the switch to front facing until 2 or later! I used to live in Europe and they do not switch their babies until much much later! After 2 or 3! And if you think about it makes TOTAL sense! What is the point of a car seat? To keep your child safe in a car accident. If you have a baby facing forward and you have a sudden stop, ie you have a car accident, what happens to you babies neck when there is impact? Whip lash! on that precious little neck! If you have your child facing backwards, the child is just nestling into her car seat and it has far less chance of injury. I know from personal experience, we pulled out of the doctors for our 2 week visit to have someone pull in front of us, and the baby came out the least injured out of all of us. I will not be changing my child until she is at least 2 in not much later!

Elizabeth - posted on 09/24/2010

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I went through a faze of wanting my daughter to be forward facing so i did my research. For many states they have a law that the child has to be 1 year and at least 20 lbs. They really want you to keep them rear facing as long as possible. they say up to 2 years, its when their neck muscles mature and they are at less risk of neck injury and major injuries if u get into an accident. I bought a rear/forward facing carseat where my daughter can use it rear facing til she is 40 lbs and then when she does go forward facing is up to 65 lbs. {graco myride 65} Most car seats you can buy now handle up to 30 to 40 lbs rear facing. you dont have to keep him in a infant car seat but I would deffently keep him rear facing as long as possible. They recommend you keep them rear facing til the car seats max for rear facing. its just safer for your chiild.

Cheryl - posted on 09/24/2010

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I would keep him rearfacing... get a Convertible seat and keep him rearfacing for as long as possible.. When he is big enough (closer to 2 or 3 depending on weight not length) then you can forward face him.. It's so much safer for him. There are plenty of videos to watch that will show you why it is so important.

Christine - posted on 09/24/2010

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I agree with Krista. Most states require that they be at least one year to be in a forward facing seat. If your little guy is getting to big for his infant seat a convertible seat is the way to go. You can keep him rear facing for now, and when he's a little bigger all you have to do is turn it around.
Also make sure you double check to see that the seat you're currently putting him in is rated to support his weight. Some are not designed for babies over 23 lbs. And don't forget, you can always stop by a fire station for free to make sure your new seat is installed properly!

Amy - posted on 09/24/2010

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Check with your state police or the state goverment web site to see what the laws are. In my state they have to be rear facing until one year, after that you follow the carseat manufacturer's guidelines. Our kids have to be in some type of restraint system until age 8 or until they are 4'9". Lots of seats to choose from.

Sherrill - posted on 09/24/2010

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Most laws are 20 lbs. or 1 year, whichever comes LAST. So, if he's 20 lbs. but not 1 year old - rear facing; 1 year old but not 20 lbs. yet - rear facing.

Becky - posted on 09/24/2010

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I know you've gotten like a million replies, but I'll add my 2 cents too ;-)

Obviously you've gotten the 20lbs, 1 year message from everyone else. Here's what we did...the baby got too big for her infant seat at about 9 months (or more to the point, she got too big for me to carry her & the seat and getting her in and out of the car was excruciating). So, we bought a Britax convertible seat. We put it in rear-facing until she was a little over a year and then switched it. The seat itself wasn't cheap, but it's great quality and we'll be able to use it for a long time. Also there are a lot of recommendations out there to keep them rear-facing until they are 2, even though the law says 1 is okay. In some ways I wish I had waited to switch her, but she got to a point where she was far too hysterical in the car facing backwards because she couldn't tell what was happening. As far as the legs touching the seat - everything I've read says it's okay for them to scrunch up their legs.

Doris - posted on 09/24/2010

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my pediatrician told me if his feet reach the seatback, its time to turn him around!

Brittney - posted on 09/24/2010

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The law in most states is 1 year AND 20lbs, meaning they have to meet both requirements. But the American academy of pediactrics recommends that you keep your child rear facing as long as possible. And legs do not matter, there has never been a documented case of a child breaking their legs from them touching the seat. My daughter is going to be 3 next month and is STILL rear facing comfortably. I plan on keeping her rear facing to the max of her seat which is 35lbs. If you want ot know more google Extended rear facing, that will tell you more about why extended rear facing is 5 times safer than front facing. Good luck!

Cynthia - posted on 09/24/2010

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I think if your child's legs are so long that they press against the back then they are big enough to sit in the opposite facing seat. It is very uncomfortable for their little legs to be smushed agains that seat. Especially if they are 20 pounds

Ellen - posted on 09/24/2010

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Keep him rear facing as long as possible. I understand that length is an issue, because baby's legs can be all cramped up against the back of the seat. My son would get very uncomfortable in this position. Hopefully, a designer will find a solution to this, because everyone would be safer facing rear, even adults!

Aimee - posted on 09/24/2010

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My 38 month-old (33 lbs) is RF'ing and will remain that way until he hits the RF'ing limit on his seat. (We purchased a Graco MyRide for the express purpose of RF'ing longer). I haven't read all the replies on this thread, but from what I did read, I see a lot of folks have provided great info about "extended" RF'ing. PLEASE don't take a chance with your baby's safety.

Chanda - posted on 09/24/2010

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I just wanted to echo what several others have posted already.... keep him rear facing as long as possible!! Watch the video that Nicki posted- it will explain WHY. My son is 3 1/2 years old and weighs only 26 pounds- he is still rear facing and will be until he reaches 31 lbs- this rear facing limit for his car seat. It's just a simple solution that can save his life!! Protect your son and leave him rear facing! Bless You!

Lisa - posted on 09/24/2010

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The American Academy of Pediatrics recently changed their suggestion of turning the car seat around from 20 lbs and 1 year old to 20 lbs and 2 years old. My pediatrician told me to wait until my daughter is 2. Check with your pediatrician.

Carly - posted on 09/24/2010

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My big car seat for my son says they can rear face till 12kgs or 26.4lbs so he will definitely be rear facing for as long as the seat allows as it is way way way more safer, just look at a few videos on youtube if you don't believe me!!

Kelly - posted on 09/24/2010

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Like other have said..Your baby needs to be at least a year old if not Longer,before you put hin in a front facing car seat for his _SAFETY_ and b/c its the law in most states!! Its not safe for babies. I have a little boy who just turned 5 months last week n he weighs 20lbs and was 26 inches long last month. My first son was the same way he out grew his car seat b4 6 months to!! SO MY ADVICE IS GO BUY ANOTHER CARSEAT!!!!!

Stephanie - posted on 09/24/2010

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Well here in Australia they can be ff from 6mths..( that has just changed to 6mths) before people did when they reached 8-9kgs..
Our car seats over here only go to 9-12kg RF and then 8-18kg FF.. I wish we had the same car seats available here to purchase but because, they do not meet Australian standards we can not use them..
Over here our laws differ alot to the ones in the US,Uk and all of that...
Mu youngest whom is 20mths old, only just got turned ff in my car less than 2 weeks ago..Shes 11kg..Unfortunately the car seat she was in she was to big to remain RF but i wish she could still be rearward....
I do highly agree though that rearward facing is the safest by far and that you should keep them that way for as long as you possibly can..

Jaclyn - posted on 09/24/2010

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It is recommended to keep your baby rear-facing for as long as possible but definitely for the 1st year! I had a large Baby as well I had to purchase a second car seat that could be used rear or forward facing. Better Safe Then Sorry...Especially when it comes to your child!

Maria - posted on 09/24/2010

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Hi! Over here it's not recommended until a child is 3 or 4 years old to a child to sit on his/her safety-seat facing front in the front-seat! And if you have airbags in your car - you should turn them off in a seat where your child is. The most safe place for a child in a car is by the statistics (in a right-sited-traffic-system) the right-site and in a back-seat facing backwards. Buy in time bigger safety-seat for your child that you can use in your car.

Becky - posted on 09/24/2010

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It's not just about the weight. It's about their physical development as well. My grand son is 6 months old and weighs 22 lbs. He rapidly grew out of his infant car seat. We had already purchased him a radian 80 car seat that could be either rear or forward facing. So we installed the car seat still rear facing but it sits up a little straighter and he's just more comfortable. My grand daughter is 5 years old and is still in her radian 80 and she will be until she hits 80 lbs or she graduates. LOL

Chantal - posted on 09/23/2010

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in america they have to be 20lbs and 1yr old but its safer to keep them rf longer.

Ann - posted on 09/23/2010

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Not sure where you are but I am in Australia and when you child is 8kilo's and over you can swap them around.

Tina - posted on 09/23/2010

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reading through this almost saddens me to see that someone put their daughter front facing at 7 months because she liked the interaction with her siblings. I understand the why but we HAVE to think about the safety first. Babies are just too fragile for that and that is why we have car seats, crash tests and ongoing research, updates and recommendations. I am a big advocate of car seats, and safely using them. Before I was allowed to leave the hospital with one of my children, the nurses showed me how to corrrectly buckle my child in the seat and the seat into the car. Great information given. I also went to a free child car seat check up put on by police and fire fighters trained in this. More great advice and they correct any mistakes. One of my biggest pet peaves about kids in car seats is the straps being WAY to loose and the chest harness being down near the belly. Very dangerous as well. Did you know that car seat straps can actually stretch during impact. That is a reason we are not to wash the straps as well. Meaning not to actually saturate them as in the washing machine. Please everyone, educate yourselves on your childrens car seats. Watch some videos, take a class, go to the free checks. Just a few minutes could be the best you spend!

Chantal - posted on 09/23/2010

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dont buy the alpha omega elites they were recently recalled check online recall sites before purchasing carseats. Safety first has it on there site the ones of theres that were recalled

Heather - posted on 09/23/2010

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National Travel Highway Admin says 20 lbs and 1 yr old to graduate to the front facing car seats. It is Child Safety Seat Awareness Week, so I just saw this yesterday.

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