E.M. asks from North Richland Hills, TX on July 06, 2009
When Can My Baby Stop Using a Rear Facing Carseat?
My daughter is very tall for her age and her feet dangle out of her infant car seat. I was considering buying her a different one but all the ones I looked at you can't put it rear facing. She is only 8 months old. When can she get a different car seat?? She weighs at least 20 pounds already. She is in the 100% percentile for height and weight!
J.H. answers from Dallas on July 06, 2009
The very minimum for being able to turn her is 1 year of age AND 20 pounds; so, even though she's 20 pounds now, she still needs to rear face until she's at least 1 year old. Is she in an infant bucket seat? You can buy a convertible car seat that will rear face and forward face. Britax is a great brand, and I'd go with the Marathon or the Boulevard. They are more expensive than other seats, but they last for the long haul. My daughter is 19 months and in a Boulevard, still rear facing. The limits for that seat to rear face are 35 pounds or a certain height (don't remember, don't have the car seat book in front of me.) If cost is an issue, you can get a Cosco Scenera from WalMart for cheap, and it rear faces to 33 pounds, and forward faces after that. The downside to buying a cheaper seat like that is that you will eventually need another one after it, because it only has a 40 pound weight limit total. The Boulevard has a 65 pound limit, and there are others that go up to 80 pounds.
The bottom line is that it's 5 times safer for your children to rear face until they are at least TWO years old. The law states 1 yr and 20 pounds, but the AAP is now recommending 2 years and 30 pounds. We will rear face until she reaches the 35 pound weight limit or the height limit, which will probably last us until she's 4. The legs dangling or hitting the seat cause no problems - they just learn to sit a different way (cross legs, feet up on back of seat, or dangling over the sides of the seat). In the event of an accident, it's far less likely that the child will break her legs rear facing than if she were forward facing where the chances for internal decapitation are very high. It's easier to fix a leg than it is to fix a spine or neck. I always say "legs - cast it, neck - casket."
If you have any questions or want crash test videos of rear facing vs. forward facing, let me know!
1 mom found this helpful
M.H. answers from Dallas on July 06, 2009
it used to be that the child had to be 20lbs AND 1yrs old, but I believe the new rules just came out this past fall stating that they had to be 2yrs old before turning forward. You can still put them in a bigger car seat but it has to face backwrads. I have a friend with a 21mo and he is still facing backwards. I know they extended the age for using a booster seat to 8 yrs old. They are pretty serious about the kids safety. check with the police department in your town to find the answers.
1 mom found this helpful
C.P. answers from Dallas on July 06, 2009
the importance of the 1 year /20 lbs is that by 1 year old, their neck muscles will be much stronger and the baby would have better chances of surviving during a collision. Although she's tall for her age, I'm afraid her neck muscles are not strong enough. I'm glad they extended the booster seat to 8 years old... We had our kids in a booster seat (WITH BACK SUPPORT) when we had a car accident and I know the booster seat (AND GOD'S GRACE) saved my son from certain head trauma. Good luck! ~C.~
K.R. answers from Dallas on July 07, 2009
My son is now 15 years old, but I had a similar issue when he was a child. The best resource I found was safetybeltsafe: www.carseat.org . I think it may now be a web-based only service, but when I was seeking help years ago, a person there spent quite a lot of time on the phone helping me find the right choice for my son.
J.S. answers from Dallas on July 06, 2009