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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Stephanie - posted on 09/23/2010

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Jessica, he should NOT be forward facing until at least the age of 2!! New laws are being passed to enforce this. The reasoning for this is because their necks aren't very strong and if you were to get into an accident while he was forward facing it could snap his neck! It is called "internal decapitation" PLEASE look up extended rear-facing on youtube or even google it! It is sooo important to keep him rear-facing! It could save his life!!

Krista - posted on 09/23/2010

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Beverly, no offense, but your advice is rather misguided. A lot of babies can sit up on their own at 6-7 months, and they are in NO way ready to sit front-facing. Please read through some of the other responses here -- there is sound scientific evidence that says that extended rear-facing is a LOT safer.

And at the VERY least, the law in a lot of countries does state that the child has to be at least a year old AND at least 20 lbs. before they can be put front-facing.

Amber - posted on 09/23/2010

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in europe they actually keep their kids in rear facing car seats until they are 2 or even later! height does not matter. i have a tall kid as well and he's 17 mo and still rear facing, and will stay so until he's 2. statistics show that it's just so much safer for them to stay rear facing. if you don't feel as though you want to wait that long, i'd definitely check and see what your states laws say. i believe many say they have to be 20 lbs or so AND 1 yr.

Beverly - posted on 09/23/2010

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It sounds like it's time. Usually when a child can sit up on their own they can handle a front facing car seat.

Gretchen - posted on 09/23/2010

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To keep your baby rear-facing FOR SURE until he's one, and at least until 2 is the safest for him. I've read so much stuff about how dangerous it is for babies to face forward before they are 2 -- Google it, if you get the chance.

Could you get a car seat that will work either way but keep it rear facing for now? That's what we did for myy daughter who is 21 lbs and 29 inches long at 15 months. I'm planning to keep her rear-facing as long as possible.

Jessica - posted on 09/23/2010

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Your son needs to ride backwards until he is about 35 pounds. What you need is a convertible car seat - a seat that's designed to ride backwards until he hits that weight limit, and then forward until he's out of the car seat. (Convertible car seats can then be turned to ride face-forward until the child is anywhere from 40-70 lbs, depending on the make of the car seat.) Convertible car seats can be had for $99+, depending on features, etc. You can often save a bit of money if you buy a discontinuned color (see diapers.com, babiesrus.com or amazon.com). If you don't have it already, consider picking up or borrowing a copy of Baby Bargins. You'll get a run down on features of major pieces of baby gear and will also get a sense of how which seats fare in safety tests, etc.

Meaghan - posted on 09/23/2010

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I don't know where you are but in Canada it is law that no matter how big your child is, they must remain rear facing until they are at least 12 months old. This being said, there is further research to suggest that they should remain rear facing until 18 months. Check with your child safety laws as well as do your own research. It doesn't hurt to keep them rear facing a little longer to make sure your baby is as safe as he can be. We have a 3 in 1 convertible car seat so our son can remain rear facing beyond 22 lbs.

Dee - posted on 09/23/2010

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My son outgrew his infant seat by 9 months but we kept him in a rear facing convertable car seat until he was 15 months and too tall for rear facing. It is illegal in the us to turn them around before age 1 and they are trying to switch that to age 2. Check out the convertible seats and make sure you read the rear facing parameters. Most are based on their sitting height so measure his shoulder and head height on a sitting position and have that info when you go to make your purchase. On a visit with a friend who had her son rear facing at 20 months, we measured to find out he was too tall but her state requires rear facing until age 2. She went out and bought s new seat that day.

Elise - posted on 09/23/2010

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I live in the Uk and we are just looking at carseats now. The law here is that they have to be 9months and 20lb, it has to be both not an either or and there are no exceptiosn to the rule. They then have to be in a carseat with a harness until 33lb then they can go on a booster seat with a normal harness until either 12 years of age or 135cm. the only exceptions to this rule are in a taxi or an unexpected short journey.
I have a baby who is 8m and she will be rearward facing for as long as possible in a convertible seat. a 2 year old who is forward facing because his legs got too long in the convertible and the fire service said that not only might he break his legs in a collision he could do spinal damage and we cant get a bigger convertible for less than £300. i also have a daughter who is nearly 6 and is still in a full high backed seta with a harness cos she does not meet the weith criteria and she fully unstands that this is for safety not just mummy being mean. If a baby is rear facing they know no different and should be kept that way for as long as possible then at least if anything did happen you wouldn't spend the rest of your life thinking what if...........

Brittany - posted on 09/23/2010

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You can switch to forward facing carseat when in rear facing your childs feet hit the back of the seat, thats a sign hes to big for it. It does not have to do with how old, or really even the weight just on how he fits in the carseat. But if he still fits then keep him in rear facing its safer. If hes getting squishy then go to forward facing. :) p.s. you can also go to the fire department in your town and they can let you know if its safe to switch to forward facing. :)

[deleted account]

To add to Becky's post

There are also no documented cases (NONE!) of a rear facing baby breaking their legs. Many forward facing babies do break their legs, or worse their necks in a crash.

Becky - posted on 09/23/2010

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The most poingent thing I have heard on this, is would you rather have broken legs, or a broken neck...

Caitlyn - posted on 09/23/2010

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My daughter is almost 16 months old and I just switched her forward facing because she wanted nothing to do with getting into the car anymore, definitely keep him rear facing and do so as long as possible as it really is much safer

[deleted account]

As others said, check with you state. In my state it is by weight AND age. Not one or the other.

Also, if you ask the experts, they say leavce them rear facing as long as possible (beyond age 1) for the greatest amount of safety.

I found this site helpful: http://www.thecarseatlady.com/

Hope that helps :)

Kristin - posted on 09/23/2010

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check with your local authorities they could let you know what the recommendations in your state are i think it is 20 lbs and 1 yr old in ct it may vary state to stae

Jennifer - posted on 09/23/2010

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Currently the recommendations are 20 AND 1 year. I've heard rumors it's going to change to 2years, though I don't know what the weight will be.

If you've got a convertible car seat, keep him rear facing as long as possible. It is MUCH safer. We kept DS rear facing until 2.5, when he simply got too tall and we had to switch him FF. His car seat can go up to 45 lbs rear facing and he is nowhere near that. if you have an infant seat, I'd highly recommend getting a convertible seat instead of a FF only seat.

Angelina - posted on 09/23/2010

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most rear facing car seats are rated for 21 to 22 olbs, if your not comfortable with your litttle one facing forward yet you can find a higher weight rated rear facing car seat (they do make them up to 40 lbs RF)
Interesting didbit ... in sweden it law to have your child in a rear facing seat until at least 4!

Montse - posted on 09/23/2010

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According to our Pediatrician and California Law...sorry I don't where you live;)...your baby has to be BOTH 20lbs & 1year old before he or she can seat FORWARD facing. I know what you are going through as both my boys are tall & husky by 9months they 24 lbs but we waited until the birthday to flip them forward. Hope this information help.
Montse & the boys (urban 3.5yrs & ilan1yr)

Kimberly - posted on 09/23/2010

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I used to work for a baby car seat manufacturer (Evenflo) and the law is rear facing until at least 1 year AND 20 lbs!

Crystal - posted on 09/23/2010

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I am almost sure all states are must be 1 year old and 20 lbs before changing to front facing. I recommend getting a convertible seat that can go from rear facing to front facing. There are lots that even go to booster seat so it would last for years to come.

Frances - posted on 09/23/2010

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Well that's a tough question, most parents has their own way of thinking how they wont to do by their children, but the law says, either 30pds or the legs is touching the back seat, means he's to long for the seat that he's in. i am have this same problem with my grandson, A fireman was at food world yesterday when i went to buy a few grocery's, and he seen my grandson in the back seat in his car seat, and he told me i was braking the law. cause my grandson was to big for his car seat. i told my daughter- in - law about what he said, and she just slird it of , and said oh yea right. my son's staying in the car seat he's in until he's a yr old.what should i do. his safety, or risk not getting to see my grandbaby.?

Karen - posted on 09/23/2010

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Your child should be rear facing untill after his first birthday. My pediatrician is suggesting you keep children rear facing untill age two, because of saftey in head on acidents. Your son sounds like he is ready to move to a convertable car seat. The car seat can be pla ced rear facing and when your ready to switch your child forward facing after age one you just place the car seat forward facing. Just make sure you follow all the instructions that come with the car seat. you can also always call your local police station and find out how you ncan get a free car seat cheek to see if the carseat is installed right.

Maya - posted on 09/23/2010

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The main issue is that the head is still below the top of the car seat. If he in fact is taller than the top of seat, you should buy a convertible seat which is goes to at least 40 lbs but you can still keep it rear-facing. It's safest to be rear-facing no matter how old you are so keeping him that way for at LEAST 1 year is important.

Renee' - posted on 09/23/2010

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my son is 9 months and 24 lbs and could not sit in a rear facing any longer, i have turned him around and put him in a new carseat that is awesome. highly recommended on all websites. i bought it at Toys r Us $175. it does recline some so he is not sitting straight up. but he is totally a different child.

Holly - posted on 09/23/2010

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Most pediatricians will tell you at least 21 pounds AND 1 year old... however, the longer you can keep them rear facing until age 2, the safer the child will be. I'm doing research on it right now too because my son is 23 pounds and 11 months old. Unless there is a state law, it's ultimately your choice after the 21 pounds and 1 year old. I've heard that parents switched them as soon as they hit 21 pounds, but research has found that they're still safer facing rear until 2.

Tracy - posted on 09/23/2010

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I didn't go through all the replies, but I wanted to let you know that the American Acadamy of Pediatrics recommends that a baby/toddler stays rear facing until the age of 2. Turning a baby seat around isn't a milestone, they consider it a step down in safety. A toddler is five times safer if they remain rear facing.

I would suggest you look into buying a convertable car seat. They will seat rear facing much longer then 20 lbs. Ours is up to 35 or 40 lbs rear facing and overall up to 100 lbs.

Renee - posted on 09/23/2010

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Two years old is now the recommendation. You can get a car seat that is rear facing and can be turned forward facing when he is over 2.

Dora - posted on 09/23/2010

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My understanding is at least one year and at least 20 pounds. I researched online and that is also what Babies R Us recommended when we were shopping for a car seat. It is always safest to put the car seat in the middle of the backseat to protect the child from side impact collision. Also their neck muscles are not strong enough to sustain an accident at 9 months. This is why it is recommended for the baby to be at least 1 year of age to face forward. I also got him a real forward facing car seat that I don't remove when he turned one instead of the carrier because it sits higher, he has a better view, much bigger and safer and way more fun for him! We splurged and bought the RECARO carseat because it is designed in the same way for race car drivers. So we knew it would be one of the safest carseats out there.

I don't know about other states, but here in CA, just about everyone I know faced their babies forward at around one year and must be over 20 pounds.

Hope this helps.☺ Good luck!☺

Heres a link w more info about this:

http://www.carsafety4kids.com/rearfacing...

Rebecca - posted on 09/23/2010

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It's not just size. It is the ability to control their necks when you hit the brakes. It is not as stressful to their necks when they are rear facing.

Laura - posted on 09/23/2010

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Every State is different. My son was a big boy too, still is! He's 2 and 35 lbs. Wowzers! Our state requires them to be at least 20 lbs. AND age 1 before transitioning to a forward facing carseat. I know you're probably anxious to get him in a forward facing seat, but be patient, and abide by the laws. You have them for a reason. My husband wanted to switch our son, because he's a bit on the bigger side, but I didn't allow it until after his 1st birthday.

Stephanie - posted on 09/23/2010

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the law is 20 lbsAND 1 year old. It has to do with the development of their neck muscles. It would be far safer that their legs be folded a little (which doesn't hurt them since they're still used to being in a curled position), that have their little necks hurt on a fast stop or an accident.

Kim - posted on 09/23/2010

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The longer you stay rear facing, the safer it is for your child.However they should never be forward facing until over 20lbs AND over one year at minimum.However, if he's out grown his infant seat, you need to get a convertible seat. It can be rear facing now and forward facing later. Be sure to read the directions on where each part of the seat needs to be (especially the positioning of the straps) in forward vs rear facing. There are changes for each way of facing to protect from impact the best.
Good Luck!

Kyra - posted on 09/23/2010

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Definitely keep him RF'ing until at least 1. New guidelines are RF'ing until 3, their spines just aren't strong enough to withstand an accident while FF'ing and could cause alot of internal damage. I have a Britax Convertible seat which I highly recommend! You need to go buy a convertible seat that is able to RF for a while. Your son is much safer that way!
Check out the Baby Bargains website/message boards if you need carseat recs!

[deleted account]

The laws in almost every state require your son to be 1 year *and* 20 pounds, as do the car seat manufacturers. That said, the American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends rear facing to a minimum of 2 years old or the max weight of your car seat. There are car seats that allow rear facing up to 45 pounds now. Rear facing is 500% safer than forward facing even after they reach 1 year and 20 lbs.

A few links for you to look at:

http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/stayrea...
http://aapnews.aappublications.org/cgi/c...
http://www.thecarseatlady.com/car_seats/...
http://www.childrestraintsafety.com/rear...

Krista - posted on 09/23/2010

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My son was short when he was born, but by about 6 to 9 months he was as long as a 1 yr old, my dr. said if their legs are either crunched up by the back seat or if they are getting caught between the car seat and infant seat to turn him around immediately, so that he isn't injured in a sudden forceful stop or crash.

Janet, your doctor gave you bad advice. Yes, if your kid's legs are touching the back seat, they COULD be damaged if you are in a bad accident.

However, not too many kids die from broken legs.

They DO die from broken necks, however.

Think about how many adults get whiplash every year from their car being rear-ended or from rear-ending another car. And those are strong, ADULT necks with lots of muscle in there. A baby's neck is so fragile, and the muscles have really only begun to strengthen. So in a bad collision, it is very possible that the neck would break, which could sever nerves and arteries, leading to death.

Keeping them rear-facing is just plain safer, scrunched legs or not.

Melanie - posted on 09/23/2010

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I would suggest getting what's called a convertible car seat. My little boy is 11 month 32 inches and 26lbs and I still have him rear facing. The convertible car seats can be rearing facing for up to 35lbs and the recommendation is to not put them forward facing until 35lbs or 12months. The top ranked one is the Alpha Omega Elite they run between $80-170 depends on where you get it. I hope this helps.

Shelley - posted on 09/23/2010

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More and more you hear of the guidlines changing. Theya re encouraging you to keep your baby rear facing as long as possible...two years is a recommended time now. Google "rear facing 2yrs" and you'll find all sorts of articles. Here is one http://www.carseat.org/Resources/633.pdf

Karen-Jo - posted on 09/23/2010

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I took my daughter out of her infant seat at about 10 months because she was getting too long for it and she did not fit in it well anymore. I bought a eddie baur car seat( the other company's make them also). This car seat went from infant right too a booster seat. It had more room even in the infant postition and she was happier with it. With that car seat I was able to keep her rear-facing until 1 which is the law in New York State. I hope this helps

Donna - posted on 09/23/2010

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In the UK, the regulations are the same as for the US more or less, but one thing can be added, if any child's head is over the top of their seat then you need a larger one.

There is discussion in europe about making 2 or even 4 (as in some scandinavian areas) the rear facing age limit. The theory is that leg damage is far better than a spinal injury. I will keep Euan rear facing until 2 at least

Lisa - posted on 09/23/2010

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My son will be 3 on Oct. 2, 2010 he weighs 37pds and is still sitting rear facing. After watching many videos on you tube and doing research I decided to but him back rear facing shortly after his first birthday. And like your son he was a Big Boy he weighted 25 pds at his 1 year check up. He perfers to sit this way and I feel much better having him sit this way. We had a britax Marathon carseat and just recently switched to the sunshine kids radian which has a rear facing weight limit of 45 pounds. I encourage you to take the time to read up on extended rear facing it just may change your mind, it did mine

[deleted account]

I thought my son was going to outgrow his infant seat before a year too but he ended up being fine. He was the same as your son at that age but ended up being 21 pounds still at 1 year. They also have convertable seats that can be put in the rear facing direction if he does end up over the weight limit. i would not turn him around yet but maybe you should ask your pediatrician.

Linda - posted on 09/23/2010

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You have a lot of great advise here, and the video on the Canadian safety seat "web site" will convince you even more to leave him rear facing as long as possible. They also suggest up to the age of 2 if you can.
It seems we are all in agreement. Law or no law, it's SAFER to leave them rear facing as long as possible.

Amelia - posted on 09/23/2010

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One of my friends still has her 27 month old in a rear facing seat. Granted he is small (very thin, but still average height for a 2 year old). I think it is a little ridiculous for a child that old. Her son hates it, but if he still fits, then why not do what is safest.

Jennifer - posted on 09/23/2010

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You should keep your child in a rear facing car seat until they reach the weight limit. Don't go by age.

Theresa - posted on 09/23/2010

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It all depends on how all you mothers out there feel about car safety, I really feel a child should be in a car seat at all times when driving and my child was just under a year old when I started putting him in one but ever since my husband and I were hijacked recently I have removed my childs carseat out of my car and even though it was my husbands bakkie we were hijacked in, I dread the thought of being hijacked in my car and my child is fastened in a car seat and still having to hurry to get my child out while having a gun held to my head. Its a no go.
My child is now turning 4.

Liz - posted on 09/23/2010

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It's not just weight, it's also age. He needs to be 1 and at least 20 lbs before he can forward face. My boys also outgrew their infant seats around 9 months, so we bought convertible carseats that could hold higher weight but still face backwards. While they say it's ok to turn them front facing at 20lbs and a year, current recommendations are to keep them rear-facing as long as possible - up to 35 lbs. We turned our boys around around 14 months and 22 lbs because they were getting so tall that their poor little legs were all scrunched up facing backwards.

Dawn - posted on 09/23/2010

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I don't understand why people are so quick to put their child forward facing?! They don't know any different! My son is a big kid. He just turned a year old. He's almost 29 lbs and 32". He will stay rear facing for as long as possible. I'm shooting for 2 years! His safety is my priority!

Veronica - posted on 09/23/2010

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ok I did not read all the post but do hisfeet touch the back of the actual car seat cause if they do he could get real hurt if ever in an accident length should be an issue on those imo

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