37 answers

Switching to a Front Facing Car Seat.

I am currently using the rear facing infant carrier, however, my son is now 6 months old and is at the height requirment to switch seats. He is still 1 lbs below the weight limit for the front facing (22lbs), and I am wondering if it is even safe to switch him yet? He still seems so young to be front facing but he can sit up on his own and when he is in his carrier he just pulls himself into a sitting position and gets angry when you have to latch him down.
Plus it sure would be nice to not have to lug around the extra weight of the carrier anymore!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone for their insight! I thought it seemed a little early to turn him around and now it has been settled...I'll be heading to Toys R Us tonight.

Featured Answers

He's too young to switch to a front facing seat. They have to be over 20 lbs AND one year old. I was just reading that the spine is not strong enough to withstand the impact of a car crash. My 8 month old is over 20 lbs, but I'm still lugging him around in that carrier. My sons feet stick out over the bottom a little. As long as his head is still being supported, then you won't have to switch to a convertable seat.

Don't pull a Briteny! :)

1 mom found this helpful

I am sorry to say but you can not switch him to a fron car seat because their bones are still fragile. They make car seats for infants and toddlers. Where you still have it facing the rear and than when he is about one than you switch it to the front. But my daughter meets the length but not the weight yet and i am tiring of lugging around the car seat all the time i just wish i could throw her on my hip and go. But sad to say you can't do it yet

I would wait until he is a year. I have read that they say a year is the best time as long as all the other requirements are met. When my son out grew his car seat we bought one that would face rear and then face forward when the time came.

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from what i understand and what my pediatrician told me, you don't switch until age one, even if height and weight requirements are met. my son met and surpassed those requirements a few months ago but i continue to be told not to face him foward until he turns one.

1 mom found this helpful

J.

If your son is 6 mths old he is not old enough by law or has enough body strength to go front facing. You need to get a convertible car seat that goes rear facing and front facing when he is ready. We got ride of out car seat carrier about 6 mths which seams like such a waste of money it only lasted us 6 mths our son was to long to fit in it anymore. The convertible car seat that my pediatrician recommended that was affordable was the Evenflow Triumph. It was 149.00 at babies r us but my son is almost 2 now and still fits in it. I holds up to 40lbs front facing. Good luck with your new son and enjoy him.

W.

1 mom found this helpful

He's too young to switch to a front facing seat. They have to be over 20 lbs AND one year old. I was just reading that the spine is not strong enough to withstand the impact of a car crash. My 8 month old is over 20 lbs, but I'm still lugging him around in that carrier. My sons feet stick out over the bottom a little. As long as his head is still being supported, then you won't have to switch to a convertable seat.

Don't pull a Briteny! :)

1 mom found this helpful

I don't think your suppose to place them in a front facing car seat until they are 1 year old. You can buy a bigger carseat that is rear and front facing. That's what we had to do with my daughter. She grew to the max height so we bought a carseat that could be used either way. But I don't think I would place your 6 month old in a front facing carseat just yet. It's not worth taking a chance.

Good Luck!
L.

I would strongly recommend against switching him so young. It's also recommended if you read that they be 1 years of age to switch. If you can find someone who does the carseat checks to talk to and see if they recommend you switching him. They are usually at car dealerships or even the police departments. But they tend to not have the strength they need in their neck like they develop through the first year so they don't want them facing forward before that. But I think it's better to be safe than sorry, you never know when an accident could possibly happen.

A convertable car seat would probably be best for him. They are a little bigger, and he can still ride facing the rear until 1 year of age. My daughter just turned 1 year and doesn't meet the lenght or weight requirements, but because she is 1 year, I was told that she would be fine. I got a convertable seat for her, and it was great not to have to carry the seat around. It is much nicer to get her up and out of the seat.

You should wait until he is one. I know pound wise he is big enough to turn around but he needs to be tall enough as well.

I am sorry to say but you can not switch him to a fron car seat because their bones are still fragile. They make car seats for infants and toddlers. Where you still have it facing the rear and than when he is about one than you switch it to the front. But my daughter meets the length but not the weight yet and i am tiring of lugging around the car seat all the time i just wish i could throw her on my hip and go. But sad to say you can't do it yet

My doctor had told us not to face our son forward until he was a year old. We had to buy another car seat about the same time your are having to. My son outgrew his seat. They make dual car seats that face forward and back. Ours is a Graco brand. It will hold a child rear facing up to 30lbs and forward facing up to 45lbs. It sits him up more so he is less grumpy about being in his car seat. It is a permanant seat so you will have to put him in and take him out everytime, no more car seat to lug in and out. I hope this helps.
My name is J. Wheeler and I have a 13month old son.

I'm sure you've read from the others not to switch to forward facing until 1 year old, but I got the Evenflo Convertible car seat when my son was about 6 or 7 months and ran into problems with the straps being to snug against his legs. Graco has a SafeSeat 1 that is a carrier that will hold up to 30 lbs. I wish I had gotten it instead. I now it seems like they'll just keep gaining weight, but it does taper off and I'm sure he won't be 30 pounds before age 1. Plus, with the carrier, you can still take him places and if he falls asleep, have somewhere to lay him and also somewhere to feed him once he's eating more solids. Just a suggestion.

J.,

My name is J. R., my youngest daughter at the moment, was well over a year before I bought her a front facing carseat. Even though she was well over the weight and height limit, when she was under a year. She is now 17 months old with a baby sister on the way; weight about 25 pounds and 30 inches tall. I just waited for her to be a year so I would not have to worry about it. I think that it might be better to wait just incase there is a problem. Also you might want to invest in a mirror that you can put next to your rear view mirror when he is front facing; while he is rear facing you put it in on the inside of the back window and adjust the rear view mirror to see him and watch and look ay him to make sure that he is okay at all times. please keep me posted. ____@____.com or momofsweetkids (this is my myspace URL).

J. I just wanted to let you know my daughter was 8 months old when we switched her to a forward facing car seat. But she had outgrown her car seat. It was more unsafe for her to be rear facing tha to be forward facing. I talked to my pediatrician and she was the one who told me to get her a new one. I got her the one that converts and she was to big to face to the back. So if he is to big don't be afraid to switch. Good luck with it though.

You would need to get another rearfacing seat. Mine cost about $100 (that was over 3 years ago) and it goes from rearfacing, to front facing to booster. There are more out there that are more expensive, but it saves you buying another carseat and having extra car seats. My first child was at 20 pounds at 3 months old. If you get stopped for any reason, a police officer can ticket you for not having your child in a proper seat.

If you turned your child around now, he wouldn't have the strength to support himself during an impact. Your child's head is still disproportionate to his body. Think whatever the head may weigh and multiply it by how fast you would be going in an accident and that is how much he would have to support and at 6 months, he just isn't strong enough to do it, even at a low impact accident (going 20 miles an hour). The back of a rear facing car seat will absorb most of the impact of a crash keeping your baby safe. I have heard of accidents that the infant is safe in the rear facing (not a scratch) however, the other people in the car had minor injuries (bruises and scratches) in accidents even though everyone was properly buckled in.

Though you can turn your baby around at a year old...many professionals would recommend you turning them later. I heard Europeans keep their children rear facing until 2 or 3. It seems like they would be uncomfortable but they sit with their legs crossed in the seat (most kids do anyways).

My one year old daughter fights getting into the seat at first, but after she is buckled in she gets a few toys and she is fine. (It helps to that her sister is right next to her and plays with her). She hasn't made it up to the 20 pound limit to turn around yet, so she will be rear facing for a little while longer. My 3 year old now know that the car can't move without seatbelts on...she got mad at me last night when I stopped at the mailbox to get the mail and I was sitting in the seat (car not moving) going through the mail, and I hadn't put on my seatbelt yet.

I switched my son to a front facing car seat when he was about 11 mo old and he fit the requirements. I felt a little uncomfortable about it because the straps where just a little bit to loose, when I had them at the tightest notch, which he has since grown into in the past 2 months. Just be careful if you find one for that reason. Definately try place him in them at the stores so that you can tell how tight you can get the straps and where they fall on his sholders. Also, be careful if you were to get into an accident if his head moving forward would not hurt him as he hasn't built up all those muscles yet. They really don't reccommended kids face forward until about 1 year but I am not really sure why. Good luck with this and I hope that this information helps. I really understand the complaing about being stapped in, my son did the same thing, and the weight, the carriers are wonderful at first but get REALLY heavy after awhile.

I would wait until he is a year. I have read that they say a year is the best time as long as all the other requirements are met. When my son out grew his car seat we bought one that would face rear and then face forward when the time came.

The minimum requirements for switching to front facing are one year and 20 pounds. They have to reach both before it is considered safe to switch. Most research has shown that rear facing is safer for extended times.

Here is a great website detailing the benefits of rear facing.

http://www.cpsafety.com/articles/stayrearfacing.aspx

They are not to be turned front facing until they are 22lbs AND 1 year old. We would actually all be safer sitting rear facing so the longer he sits that way the better.

I also recommend upgrading to another rear-facing car seat that fits him better, but you can also add things back there to keep him entertained.

My daughter didn't like the rear-facing either since she was in the back seat by herself most of the time. To help make it more interesting for her I bought small toys she could hold and play with and a thing that hung off the back head rest - 1 side was a mirror for her to see herself and the other was a pattern. I covered that up every now and then with a photo of herself or us together to give variety.

Good luck!
J.

In some countries babies have to be rear facing much longer than here in the U.S. (We tend to be behind.) Kids are much safer that way and can sit rear facing well past 22lbs. You just need a bigger car seat. I know you may be eager to turn him around so he can see you, but it is best to keep him as safe as you can.

You just need to buy a different seat and keep him rear facing til he's 1. Just get him out of the infant seat and into a bigger seat. Get on Babies R Us web site and they have some you can look at to see what I mean. I think they are called Infant to Toddler seats or something like that.

Rear-facing, reclining seats are for the safety of infants who do not have strong necks. I know that all my children (three) were never at the weight limit when we turned them around (my children are all still small, my ten year old is the size of a 7 year old), but they were already sitting up, crawling, and one was almost walking! They were plenty capable of sitting facing forward, and rear-facing, larger car seats are not always an option, because if you have a small car...they won't fit! You're the mom, use your best judement. :)

I would NOT turn him around yet. Our pediatrician told us that the child needs to be 20 lbs or 1 year old, which ever one was last. He said that the child does not have enough neck muscles (at 6 months) to survive a car wreck if he is front faces. Those muscles don't develop until they are a year old. You can move him up to a front facing seat that ALSO can be used rear facing though. There are many seats out there that you can get that will also turn into a booster seat when he gets too old for the straps. I really suggest these, that way you are only buying one more car seat for him and not two. Hope this helps.

C.

It is very dangerous for an infant to be front facing. In an accident he would suffer serious injuries even if properly restrained. My three year old still rides rear facing since he has not reached the upper weight limits. Invest in a good car seat, your child will be using it up until 8yrs old!

A lot of research has been done on this subject. I didn't switch my daughter until she was one year old even though she reached the weight (20 lbs) before her first birthday. Here's what babycenter.com has to say about switching from rear facing to front facing with infants.

Facing your child forward too soon
Children have large heads and comparatively weak necks, so in a head-on collision (the most common type of crash) a child's head can jerk forward suddenly and violently, resulting in spinal injuries. For this reason, keep your child rear-facing position as long as possible. Just be sure that he rides in a rear-facing seat specially designed to hold children weighing up to 35 pounds or a convertible car seat that's made to hold children weighing up to 35 pounds in a rear-facing position or up to 40 pounds in a forward-facing position. (Note: The 12-months-and-20-pounds rule that many parents cite when turning their child forward in the car is actually the minimum size and age requirement.)

http://parentcenter.babycenter.com/refcap/bigkid/gsafety/...

Hope that helps! :)

Absolutely DO NOT place your 6 month old in a forward-facing position. He is not strong enough to withstand the impact of a crash.

What you need to do is to buy a convertable car seat. You will place him rear facing until he reaches the weight limit on that unit to be turned forward (my son was over 18 months old when we turned him).

I was told by the firefighter who installed our car seat that it is so much better for a child to be rear facing for as long as possible. Their necks are not developed enough to withstand a crash. My son's legs seemed cramped and the firefighter said that it was still better for my son to be rear facing and that it was better to have a broken leg than broken neck or dead child.

Sounds scary, I know, but better to read it from me than to experience it first hand.

R.

Hey there, you question caught my eye. I have an 18th month old, and we turned him to forward facing when he was one. It has worked out fine, but I recently took a car seat safety class held by a State Trooper and he advised that children not be forward facing until they are at the weight limit for rear-facing as specified by the manufacturer of the seat - reason: rear-facing car seats are 71% effective against infant death in an accident, forward facing seats are only 53% effective.

That being said, you can certainly still transition out of the infant seat into a convertible car seat/booster. We have a Safety 1st car seat that will last my son until he is 85 pounds. Almost all of these function in both a rear-facing and a forward-facing position, just check the manufacturer specs. So, my personal advice would be to graduate out of the infant car seat into a convertible car seat/booster and leave him rear-facing until he hits the weight specified by the manufacturer.

The transition to a car seat from an infant seat brings a lot of changes with it. Here are a few more tips from the Trooper:

1. Never use a car seat that:
a. Is older than 5 years (based on the manufacturer date printed on the seat).
b. Has a 3-point harness system (instead of 5 points). The baby will slide out the side in an impact.
c. Has any history that you may not be aware of. No garage sales, no hand-me downs. Beyond impact/accident history, the people before you may not have handled the seat correctly and damaged important features unknowingly. The best intentions won’t save your child – get a new seat.

2. Make sure your shoulder harnesses are positioned correctly:
a. Rear-facing – Shoulder harness should be at or below the shoulder level.
b. Forward-facing – Harness should be at or above shoulder level.

3. Make sure your retainer clip (the plastic clip that is between the shoulder harnesses and the crotch lock) is at armpit level for your baby. Lower can injure their abdomen in a crash and will not restrain them, higher can damage their airway and chest.

4. Don’t use any item that hangs on the back of a seat (like a mirror, or seat toy) with a rear-facing car seat. Dislodged during an accident, they have killed children before from impact. Remember that a 2 pound object in a crash going 25 miles per hour will fly with 50 pounds of pressure. That is more than enough to really hurt your child, or you!

5. If you are using the tether system in a forward facing toddler seat:
A. The tether hooks must be used facing down when being latched to the bar under the seat back. Facing up, they can come loose.
B. When using tether hooks, you must use both the bottom and the top tethers every single time. If you only use the bottom tethers, the seat is not installed correctly and will not protect your child in an accident. Must use top, as well as bottom.
C. Check the back of your seat for support at each shoulder harness level. Do not use a level that does not have additional bar or honeycomb support. Just plastic backing is not enough to save your child.

I would get a new car seat that will go either front or rear facing. with him being only 6 months old he is not yet got enough control of his neck muscle should there ever be an accident. I would by a Toddler car seat that can go both ways. I know Walmart has them for about 45 dollars.

He's gotta stay rear-facing until he's 1yr old. I wouldn't even think about front facing at 6 months old. Even though he may have good head control if you were in an accident his neck is not strong enough for him to react. If he's outgrown the infant car seat purchase a convertible carseat/booster which will go front/rear facing. It will sit him up a little straighter, but still keep him safe...and it can grow with him for quite sometime. My husband and I purchased the Alpha Omega Elite from Babies R Us and my son LOVES it. Its super soft and its really easy to adjust the height, and really easy to transfer to another car if needed.

The law now says that a child is to remain in a rear facing seat until they are 1 year old AND 20 pounds. You can go ahead and switch him to a convertible car seat, though becuase they can be rear facing and front facing.

It is recommended that all children, no matter what their weight, be rear facing until 1 year of age. There are plenty of convertible car seats on the market that can be rear facing until the child meets the age and weight requirement and then can be turned around for forward facing travel. There are lots of Web sites as well with consumer opinions on the car seats to help sort them out. Good Luck!

It's recommended that your child be atleast 1 yr old. I purchased a convertible car seat when my daughter grew out of the carrier. This way she was able to stay in the rear facing position longer. It is the safest.

Get a convertable carseat that can be rear-facing for now, and be front-facing when he meets all the weight and age requirements.

I didn't check to see what state you are in, but in Kansas children have to be 1 year and weigh 20lbs... maybe a little more. But I know for sure it's 1 year.

I dont know but I personally thought baby had to be a year old to face the front?!?

convertible car seats are made to go rear and front facing- until his 1st bday(and there are many opinions on waiting till after that as well) put the car seat rear facing- then you'll switch him/the seat around to the front after he's 1-- call the police station if you want them to show you how to install it or read the directions-- we have two Britax seats in mine(so easy to use) and a Graco Comfort Sport in my husbands truck (can't remember the other one) but they are all nice and much more cushion than the infant carriers!

I am also going to face the same dilemma as my four month old will be 20 lbs in a couple more months. She is also getting better about total body control etc. I know the laws state they have to be 1 year old AND over 20 lbs but Alex will out run that by a long shot. Besides, she will be too big for hte infant carrier. I sympathize with you and would like to hear more from the other moms about suggestions we can both try. Thanks for asking this question!! M.

Hi J.,

Like others have said keep him rear facing. But I would upgrade to a rear facing carseat and one that is rear facing for now and then when he is over the age of 1 y/o you could turn him around. I would get a carseat that has the 5 point harness, you might spend between $100 and $150 but it would be worth it. Also you could go look for them at babies r us where they have the car seats and sit him in a carseat and see which one fits him best.

Here are some links to babiesrus/toysrus on what to look for. It needs to be an infant/toddler carseat, rear facing that can go to forward facing.

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=243759...

http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=258098...
This one would be a nice one and it would last you forever. Hope this helps W.

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