45 answers

What Ages Do Kids Change Carseats

I have an 11 moth old that is in a toddler carseat facing back. She hated the carrier, so we changed this past weekend. When does she turn around. Also I have an almost 3 year old. When does he come out of the toddler seat and what is the next seat? I have looked online and can not find anything. I am horrible at searching the internet for these type of questions. Shopping I can do, or e-mailing, but not finding answers. So I am putting it out for you smart and experienced ladies.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you for all the responses. I have decided to keep her rear facing in the 5 pt harness seat for a few more months. This will be a pain since I have a small dodge neon. As for my son, I think I will research the Eddie Bower high back 5 pt harness seat when he is ready, not for another year or so.

Featured Answers

After the toddler seat is a booster seat. I just moved my 4 and 6 year olds to the booster seat.

I think when my kids were 11 months, I had them facing front. She should be okay.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K., Here is the legal info you need:

Child restraint seat laws by state: http://www.iihs.org/laws/ChildRestraint.aspx

Car Seat Safety:
http://www.car-safety.org/rearface.html

Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

http://www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm

This link is to the American Academy of Pediatrics website's page all about car seats and who needs to be in them.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I worked for a police department in the metroplex (Dallas) so I will pass on what the traffic division LT. told me.

Never turn a child around before their first birthday no matter how much they weigh. It is about the stregth of their neck muscles if you are in an accident. If the child is small, you may want to wait another couple of months.

As far as the 3 year old, he told me of the horrible deaths he had seen in traffic accidents. It's his personal opinion a child should be kept in a 5 point harnass until they are at least 6 depending on their weight. He had a 6 year old boy at the time who was light and had him in a 5 point. I have researched this and several car seats have 5 points now going up to 60 lbs. He said the law was until they were 4 or 40 lbs., but again stressed the 5 point harnass offers the most protection. You might check on the consumer report website and do your own research. I saw a clip of a 4 year old child who was in a booster with just the strap across him in an accident. He flew out of there like a torpedo. It was horrifying.

You can also check with your local police department on the rules of weight and age with car seats. It's been a couple of years since I talked to mine so the age/weight/height requirements may have changed.

Blessings!
L.

3 moms found this helpful

K.
Your infant can turn forward facing when she is one year of age AND 20-22 pounds. Remember you must also check the height limit. Most kids put up a fit but will settle down when the rules stay the same. The longer you can keep Aeris rear facing the better (& following car seat guideleines) as it supports her head, neck, and spine.
As far as Brenneth, 3 yrs. When he tops out of the weight for the forward facing seat he will need to go into a booster seat. Booster seats can range from 40-100 pounds. Our vehicle seats are made for us and we must adapt them for our children to ride safely. Generally you can find a Child Passenger Technician to help with fitting, changing, or answering questions at hospitals, state health departments, military bases, etc. I am a certified child passenger technician. If I can help further please let me know.

2 moms found this helpful

Well for the 11mth old it is 1 yr AND 20lbs before turning the seat around. For the 3yr old when he reaches 40 lbs then he can move to a booster seat. When they reach 4 ft, 9 inches AND 80 lbs. then they can ride without a car seat. However, I recommend that they stay in 5 point harnesses as long as possible. Most moms will agree that the 5 point harness car seats are the safest. I hope this helps.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi K., Here is the legal info you need:

Child restraint seat laws by state: http://www.iihs.org/laws/ChildRestraint.aspx

Car Seat Safety:
http://www.car-safety.org/rearface.html

Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,

Here is the site you need. All parents should be familiar with it but I know it is a common knowledge thing. I am only familiar with it after many years in law enforcement. It gives you the law, tips and info on when to change seats and even statistical info. Here is the site:
www.dot.state.tx.us/publications/traffic/07_cps_fact_shee....
Just type this in at the http:// search line at the top of your screen.

Blessings,
J.

1 mom found this helpful

I just went through the same thing you are going through. My 8 month old had gotten too tall for his infant carrier and my 3 1/2 year old is 40 lbs and had outgrown his toddler seat. I searched and searched the internet trying to find the right answer. Finally, for my 3 year old, I found a seat that is built like a booster but also has the 5 point harness. He can stay in that one up to 100 lbs. Once he turns 4, it can be used with the shoulder belt. It is the Eddie Bauer® Deluxe High Back Booster Seat - Oak Harbor and it was MUCH cheaper then the Britax's we had bought in the past. Be sure to read all the reviews before you buy though, it doesn't seem to install in all cars well but it works perfectly in mine. As for your 11 month old, you can turn that baby around in a month as long as she weighs at least 20 lbs. If your car doesn't have the latch system, you can buy a 'mighty tight' for $16 at Babies R Us, it will get those seats in super tight.

1 mom found this helpful

hi!
At the age of a year AND when the child wieghs at least 9 kilos you can turn her aroound to face front. That's when her neck is strong enough.
When your other daughter is around 4 years she can move to a booster seat which just raises her a bit so that the regular seat belt fits right.
I'm D. and i have 3 kids under 6 years. So I've been through this!
Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

They can face forward at 1 year and 20 lbs...must be a combo of both, so if you have a very small child, it may be longer than 1 year. I moved my child out of the carrier by 5 months b/c he was too long, but he had to stay rear facing until about 14 months b/f he reached the 20 lb mark.
As for the 3 year old...it all depends on his weight. My son could use the convertible booster at 35 lbs..check the car seat booster for specifics,,,they are all different.
Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

The age doesn't matter, but size does. The carseat you are using should have a sticker with weight and height limits on it. My son is 7 and after the toddler seat we moved him to a booster seat-I found one at Wal-Mart for less than $30. He will ride in that until he is 48 inches tall or can place his feet flat on the floor while sitting in the seat. The seat makes the seat belt of the car fit him best for safety. Also, I had a lot of trouble installing the baby carseat when we turned it around. The department of safety recommended someone that would check the installation and make sure the straps fit correctly-no charge.

1 mom found this helpful

You can also check with your local sheriff's office. That is where we found out that once your baby is 20lbs they can face forward, as well as once your toddler reaches a certain height they can sit in just the seat belt alone. However we still have our daughter sitting in a booster seat even though she meets the criteria of sitting in just the actual car seat.

1 mom found this helpful

Changing carseats is more by weight and height than by age (except with 5 yr olds). Most carseats have the instructions of when to change on them as well as with the paperwork that came with it.
If all else fails most hospitals have the child safety classes that instruct parents on carseats and proper use, these instructors should be able to assist you and if that isn't an option your local police department may also be able to help.

1 mom found this helpful

K.,

The current rule for your 11 month old is 12 months and 20 lbs. They need to have met both of these milestones for the safest time to change.

As for your 3 year old. I have a 6 year old daughter that I still put in a britax decathalon seat. Actually I have 1 pound till I have to move her to a booster. She is 49 in and weighs 47 pounds. I am telling you this information cause she is big for her age. The longer you can keep them in the 5 point harness seat the better it is for everyone.
My daughter will ride in her booster until she completes her 8th year on earth.

I have a very good friend that is a certified car seat consultant so this is information I have collected from her.

Best of Luck,
M.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter was about 22 lbs at 11 months and hated facing backwards. I fudged it and turned her around then and it made ALL the difference in her happiness when we were in the car. She could see Mommy and there were thing to look at! I figured babies who are 1 are lots of different sizes and weight seemed to be the more important factor of the two (same as dosing medicine) My 1yr old was a bit big for her age so I made the switch (I did know backward was safer, but hopefully your car is newer and has the top latches as well. That makes a big difference. I'm afraid I only have a 16 month old so I can't give advice on the 3 yr old. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Don't turn her around until she is 1 year old AND 20 pounds. But if you can possibly keep her rear-facing longer, it really is safer.

The next rule of thumb guideline is 4 and 40 and then 8 and 80. That is, 4 years and 40 pounds to go to a booster seat and 8 years and 80 pounds to get out of a seat at all. That being said, if you can keep your 3 year old in some kind of car seat with a 5-point harness, that is much much safer than a booster.

1 mom found this helpful

After the toddler seat is a booster seat. I just moved my 4 and 6 year olds to the booster seat.

I think when my kids were 11 months, I had them facing front. She should be okay.

1 mom found this helpful

http://www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm

This link is to the American Academy of Pediatrics website's page all about car seats and who needs to be in them.

1 mom found this helpful

We changed our son around at about 9 1/2 months. He was sick of staring at seat and was much happier when we turned him around. He was also getting too long and his feet were cramped when he was turned facing the seat. He was also pretty close to the weight requirements to turn around. He did fine! I wouldn't change a thing!
Hope this helps! :)

Here is a link that should answer your questions http://www.texaschildrenshospital.com/carecenters/InjuryP... Babies are rear facing until they are older than 1 AND weigh more than 20 pounds (although that is the law they recommend keeping them rear facing as long as possible since that is the safest position for a child. Booster seat until they are 5 years old AND 36 inches tall.

It is my understanding that they have to be one year old and at least twenty pounds. My grandson recently reached this milestone and I got to turn his carseat forward. He likes it so much better being able to see out the window and see grandma. My two year old grandaughter just graduated to a booster type seat. The only issue with this as I found out the first time I used it was it gives her a lot more freedom to move around. She tried opening the door as I was driving and aged me another 20 years. So I learned, which is always a good habit, lock the doors. Some cars have child safety locks so they cannot do this but my car does not. Hope this helps.

I would check with the your local Police Station or Fire Station there is a law that a child has to weigh a certain amount before they can be taken out of there car seat due to safety. Safety is the number one thing for them, you can also go to the library and get some books and make it a fun thing.
S. B

I do believe that it is 20 pounds or 1 year of age before you can put them in a front facing toddler car seat. My 3 year old daughter had to wait until she was one, because she was such a petite little thing. My 1 year old was in a front facing car seat by the time she was 11 months because she was just over 20 lbs at the time. We changed to a new, 30 to 100 lb car seat for our 3 year old when she was 3. Supposedly, they are supposed to stay in that type of car seat until they are 80 lbs or 12 years of age. You can check with your local DMV to double check the age and weight laws as well. I hope this helps.

For your baby, the seat has to stay back until 22lbs and 1 year. It is actually better if you can keep them rear facing even longer, though. My 11 month old is rear facing, and I think I will keep him that way until he is 18 months. As for your older child, it depends on your toddler seat. The one that we got will hold him until he is 45 lbs. Check the weight limit on your seat. If it is a convertible, it may last until your child is 5 or so. HTH.

I changed my grndchildren around at one because they are more aware of their surroundings and they sit still when they are able to see your face and relate with you. I have been raising 4 grandchildren for twelve years from o months to five years and I they are 10 and 16now . My toddler stay until they were at least five. My youngest grandchild would always climb out of the car seat, one day I stopped an officer and told them she would not stay in her seat and I had been warning her.the officer teased and she never got out again, so when they learn to talk and get up, out of the seat, its time do something different. turn them so they can communicate with you.

I had to turn my daughter around at 10 1/2 months b/c she was too long and had we gotten in a accident, THAT would have jeopardized her. So. It really depends on the individual child. I think the guide is forward facing at one, and into a toddler seat, then a booster at 4 or 5? Honestly, you'll have to go by your seat's weight and height requirements since there are so many convertible seats and stuff out now. Check the manufacturers website and compare it to your children now and see when they stand.

well, all you have to do is call your local police station or fire department to check me on this, but the front facing is at 1 yr or 20 lbs, and at 30 lbs they swich to a booster, which a lot of toddler carseats convert now

I really did not think the info I had received was so unknown--but by all the responses it seems so! I have been told by countless car seat techs that the 1yr/20lb rule is the MINIMUM to turn them forward facing! They really need to be rear facing until the car seat will no longer let them--and most convertible car seats ( the seat after the infant one) will stay rear facing until at least 33-35lbs. My son grew out of his infant seat by 6 months--and we switched to a rear facing convertible seat until he reaches 33lbs, which is this seats limit. When I was researching this all- I wondered why all they hype about rear facing---and then I saw some crash test videos on YOU tube and realized WHY it was so important. My son is very big and very long (95th percentile) but he will stay rear facing as long as we possibly can!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMFPSStXfqE&feature=re...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K62Ea8Fs4ng&feature=re...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2DVfqFhseo&feature=re...

Hope this helps!!
LS

Here's the link to the Texas Department of Public Safety, where the Texas child safety seat laws are published: http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/director_staff/public_inform.... I have to be honest . . . Texas laws are too lenient! I'm a transplant from NJ, and I still abide by the stricter NJ child safety laws. Children under 5 years of age & less than 36 inches tall are required to be in a child safety seat (NJ is 8 years old). As far as what kind, you need to research what products are on the market that are appropriate for your 3 year old now, but will also grow with him. For your 11-month old, rear facing is best until at least 12 months, but there is more evidence that supports keeping thim rear facing for a few months longer than that (however, for our 14 month old daughter we made her front facing at 12 months!). Again, just be sure the toddler carseat you purchased is appropriate for her current size (when we went shopping, I found that most started at 22-25 lbs yet my daughter was just over 20 pounds).

turn the rear faceing seat forward at 20 pounds.
My daughter is 3 and she is still too young for just a booster seat, so wait until they are in the 40 pound range/4year old range to switch to the booster with a back that holds the shoulder strap in the correct position. It's not the weight, but the maturity not to climb out of the seat belt.

K.,

Here is a website that might help. http://www.aap.org/family/carseatguide.htm

We actually changed our daughter (9 1/2 months now) to a convertible car seat at five months because we did not like our carrier. Good luck.

J. S.

Babies can face forward at 1 yr old AND 20lbs. Your carseat should say that on it. As far as a toddler seat, it depends on the seat you get. Some require an age AND weight before sitting in the seat. Others are weight only. My kids are 2 & 4 and they sit in the Britax booster with the side impact guards. This seat has a weight of 30lbs and no age limit.

Children must remain rear facing until they are 1 year old AND 20 lbs. - however best practice is that they remian rear facing as long as they can and still remian within the weight requirements for their child safety seat. In a crash a child is better protected in a rear facing seat as the seat takes most of the force in the crash as opposed to a child in a forward facing seat who takes the crash like an adault against a seatbelt and is restrained by a harness. I recommend you go to www.usa.safekids.org and click on the link to find a car seat check event near you. At the check events, they will teach you how to proplerly install your carseat and when and how to appropriatley change seats for their ages/sizes.

Car seats have to be installed according to the manufacturers specs and also to your car manufacturers specs. If I can answer any other questions about your seats, let me know. I am a certified child passenger safety technician.

Babies do not change to front facing car seats till they are one year old AND atleast 20 pounds. If your child is over a year but hasn't reached the 20 pound mark, then he/she still needs to be in a rear facing cars seat.

As far as your 3 year old, usually you change to the booster seat with a high back that uses the car seatbelt when your child is able to buckle and unbuckle themselves. Some boosters say 40lbs, while other have a 30-35 pound start weight. Check the specifications on each car seat to see if you child will be in that range.

Lesley S provided some key information. The legal allowable limit is just a MINIMUMUM. We kept our daughter rear-facing in her carseat with her legs folded in front of her "criss cross applesauce" until she was 2 yrs and 9 months old! We only turned her around when she arrived at the weight and height that the convertible carseat declared it necessary that she turn forward-facing. She never knew any different, so it wasn't a big deal. She even learned how to crawl into the seat by herself.

We did this thanks to a wonderful friend of ours who is a certified Child Life Specialist and works in the Emergency Dept of Cook Children's Hospital in FW. She has taken a 40 hour course in car seat installation and graciously installs all of ours for us to be sure they're as safe as possible. She has taught us a great deal, including the fact that kids in Europe usually sit rear-facing until they're 3-4 years old and they have virtually eliminated child fatalities due to car accidents.

Remember laws provide minimum safety requirements - you are NOT required to turn a child forward-facing until the carseat in which they're seated requires it to ensure the safety of your child!

JMO, but keep her RFing as long as possible! I know that the seats say 1 yr & 20 lbs (they MUST meet BOTH criteria), but it's really so much safer to have her RFing to the RFing max limits of the seat. The weight may vary some from manufacturer/model to the next, but I believe that the rule of thumb for height is as long as they have at least one inch of hard shell above their heads, then they can stay RFing in that regard. I believe my seat (Alpha Omega Elite) will RF up to 35 lbs, so my son will be RFing until he's 35 lbs or gets too tall. If you want to talk to some very knowledgeable ladies, check out the Car Seat board/forum over at www.ivillage.com/messageboards. They can answer any questions that you may have!

You can turn them facing forward at a year, but I think they should be 20 pounds also. I never had a problem with that. :) As for the 3 year old, he doesn't move to a booster until he is at least 40 pounds. The longer you keep them in a 5-point car seat, the safer for him, but I know they're usually ready for a change by the time they're big enough to fit into a booster, but it depends on if you're ready. I'm sure the baby will be so glad to turn around! They love being able to see everything. Hope that helps!!

Kimmie
Mom to 2 boys, Pierce, 6 and Will, 5 (yesterday!), and married to John for 7 years.

my 10 month old has been in his seat facing forward since he was 8 1/2 months, he's a big boy though and able to sit without assistance. He's done just fine and loves to face forward and watch us. As long as she's able to sit and isn't tiny I am sure she'll be fine. Good Luck

Check with Dept. of Public Safety. You can go inline or call your local office.

To get the correct and best possible answer, check with the Texas Department of Public Safety regarding the carseats and your children. Each state may be different. Go to the DPS website for a faster response.

The rule is 20 pounds or one year old. With my kids they did not reach 20 lbs. until well over their 1st birthday, so we waited to switch. But, if your child is over 20 lbs. and their feet are hitting the back of the seat when facing backwards, then you are probably fine to switch them to the front-facing seat.

You need to call the highway patrol. Do not wait for an event.


I had a child passenger safety specialist inspect my seats and their installation in my car with the kids sitting in them. Inspite of my careful research and the advice of many well-meaning moms, I still had them installed incorrectly!!!! I was also unaware of which car seats are best suited to certain weight vs age situations. I will spare you the details.

Since her session with me, I have noticed that most people do install their seats incorrectly.

The highway patrol performs this as a service at any time and there is a fabulous lady who works through family support on the base who will also do it for ANYONE, whether military or not. Her due diligence has earned her the name "carseat nazi" in my mind! If you would like hercontact info, let me know. I will get it to you as soon as you ask (____@____.com)

Get PROFESSIONAL HELP. You will be so glad you did and it will not cost you anything but an hour or two of time.

C. perry

You can turn them around after they turn 1 AND are 20 lbs. Although I've read recently that it's really safer to keep them rear facing for as long as you can. I turned both of mine at 1 and 20 lbs.

They need to meet the height and weight restrictions first. My son is 3 and we changed him to a backless booster seat this weekend. He met the 30lb and 36' mark. Just make sure your child meets both and you can convert. These seats are much easier to switch from car to car and are realitively inexpensive. Good luck!

You can face forward when your child is at least one year old and 20 pounds. She should be both of these. As for your 3 year old, usually you go to a booster seat, but should wait till he is around 40 pounds or more. Try to keep him in his toddler car seat as long as you can. Most toddler car seats go up to 40-60 pounds. Hope that helps some. (I am an RN with newborn/pediatric experience.)

As soon as the baby is 20 lbs., you can turn her around.As for your three year old, it is a height requirement. If you look at a store, on the carseat box, it will give you the height requirement. Maybe even try the website of the brand carseat you have. Hope this helps!

R. Proud mom of one boy

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