Baby in Carseat.

Updated on February 07, 2009
L.C. asks from Westmont, IL
4 answers

My son is almost 10 months old and he weighs 19 1/2 pounds. What is the rule on when I can turn him frontward in his carseat? I heard it was either 20 pounds or 1 year old which ever comes first? Is this right? I live in Illinois.

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answers from Chicago on

It is supposed to be at least 20 lbs AND at least one year. As perviously mentioned the longer you keep them rear facing the better. It really is the safest way for little ones to ride, but eventually they do get too big/tall for it.



answers from Chicago on

He is not big enough yet. The rule is 1 yr or at least 20 lbs (20 pounds is stressed here) but it has been recommended that they continue backward until 35 pounds. Kids grow at such different rates. My d is 10 months and 23 pounds. She is also 31 or 32 inches long so she has outgrown her infant carseat. The size limit should be printed on the bottom of your carseat. I just got her a convertible carseat and chose the forward facing one just because of cost contraints right now.



answers from Chicago on

Hi L.. What you've heard is NOT the actual law. In the state of Illinois, there are NO set weight or age requirements for rear-facing or front-facing. The law simply states that a child must be properly restrained. That's it.

However...the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Transportation Safety Association urge parents to wait until their children reach both one year of age AND at least 20 lbs until switching to front-facing. (I think the AAP has also suggested you wait until 36 months of age to turn them around front-facing!) There is so much data that shows how much safer our children are in rear-facing seats.

But you are NOT breaking Illinois State Law if you choose to ignore these recommendations.

Here's the actual wording from the State of Illinois:

Infants and Toddlers

Illinois law requires all children to be properly restrained in a child safety seat or booster seat until age eight. After age eight, Illinois law requires everyone under the age of 19 to be properly restrained anywhere in the vehicle. Currently, Illinois law does not require children to ride rear-facing to a set weight or age like some states. Illinois law does require that all children be properly restrained in child safety seats. The American Academy of Pediatrics and NHTSA strongly recommend that children stay rear-facing until they are BOTH over one year of age AND over 20 pounds to protect their fragile head, neck, and spinal cord.
More information on infant child safety seat safety
More information on forward-facing child safety seat safety
Illinois Child Passenger Protection Act

For more information regarding the state of Illinois car seat laws and guidelines, visit:



answers from Chicago on

Most convertible carseats can be rear-facing. The rule is 20lbs and one year but the recommendation is much longer. My daughter was rear-facing until she got too tall and my son will be too. Then I bought her the Britax Frontier which is only a forward facing seat that is a 5 point harness up until 80 lbs! If you have the means, that is definitely the way to go. Even if you need to do this on a tight budget, you can get the Cosco Scenera for only $40 at Walmart and it is a 5 pt harness til 40 lbs and has a rear-facing option. There really is no excuse to turn a baby around too early and take them out of a 5 point harness before it is safe to do so.

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