Hi Everyone:) My daughter will be 8 months in 3 days...ok time goes incredibly fast!! Well, she is over 20lbs and I am confused about what we need to do about her car seat. Do we wait until she is 1 before purchasing her next car seat? Or is it the weight factor? Any advice would be great, along with any advice on the next car seat.
Our seat is one of the infant seats. It's the Graco snugride that you can carry. So I'm wondering if it's the requirement of the way the baby is facing thats the 1 year and over 20lbs vs. what I initially thought that she wouldnt move into a different actual car seat. Does that make sense?
Thank you so much to everyone! I am going to have to find some time to go through and read everyones!! I have been researching and i think we may get the Maxi-Cosi Priori. Does anyone have one of these? If you do what do you think of it?
Thank you everyone...I wasn't concerned about the way the baby was facing. I just wasnt sure on if she could move to the next seat up. For those of you with similar situations how was it when you switched seats?
Hi Ladies! I am so glad I had all of this incredible info! We have chosen and purchased the maxi cosi and we love it! Ironically I have the new seat at home and we have been fitting her etc over the weekend well I had class in the morning on Monday so I used her infant seat. Since I wanted the professionals to fit the carseat in my car. Well, not kidding! I was driving tuned a corner and her whole seat tilted to the right! I lookedn the rearview mirror and no infant car seat! I couldnt believe it!! The guy told me it was because she had grown out of the seat because of her weight! So thank you again everyone!! All of your help was incredible! Also, one thing. I purchased the carseat through elitecarseats.com and I have to say that I ordered it friday morning and it shipped out friday under free shipping. M husband let me leep in till 9am saturday and I came down stairs and the carseat was in our entry way!! Can you believe it? I couldnt I was so excited. My husband wass also impressed! The website has all of the info on crash test and crash test videos. they have info on a little boy that was in an accident and not in a 5 point harness etc. So my daughter will be in ne until shes 20!! J/K!
Good luck everyone!!
You can also go right to the local police department, sheriffs department or local family alliance center with any questions regarding proper car seats. Each states can have different requirements. I say it is time to move to the next level seat. I never had a carry seat myself because we never used a carry-all seat. We always carried him in a snuggy or a back pack till age 2. I would say 20 lbs is past infant.
A lot of car seats can be rear or forward facing. My first son was a huge chunker and no longer fit well into his infant carrier by 6 months. We bought a "regular" car seat, and he sat in it facing the back until, he was one, and then we switched it and he uses it still today, he's three.
I would get a convertable car seat. My daughter has been in it since 4 months or so (she is big girl)..anyway, It is a bigger car seat and it can face forward and backward. I would keep her facing backward until she is a year. My daughter is 10 months and meets the weight, but we think it is safer for her to face backwards for a couple more months.:) good luck
You need to move your child out of the infant seat when they are above either the weight or height limit. I happen to know that the Snugride (at least the older ones) had a limit of 22 lbs....not sure about the height off hand but I know my son outgrew his by height at about 4 months.
Next you go to a convertible seat. You still want this seat to be installed backwards so make sure it is a seat that can be both rear and front facing. She then would need to stay rear facing until she reaches BOTH milestones of 20 lbs and one year....at the least. It is much much much much safer to leave her rear facing to the rearfacing limit of the convertible carseat you buy...which for most is going to be in the 30-35 lb mark. This by far is the best way to keep your baby safe. I kept my son rearfacing until he was about 2 1/2. It is not at all unsafe if his legs are hitting the seat behind him...much more important to protect his spine, and if you have ever seen the videos online a seat installed rear facing seat moves DRAMATICALLY less than seat that is front facing
There are tons of convertible seats to choose from. My two favorites (Of which I have one of both) are the Britax Marathon and the Evenflo Triumph. The Britax is pricey but the convenience features are well worth it and when you install that guy....he is IN THERE, solid as a rock...you KNOW you did it right. It also goes up to 65 lbs so although it is pricey it lasts for a long time. The Evenflo is cheaper but only goes up to like 35 lbs, unless you get the deluxe version which goes up to 55 lbs. It is also very highly rated and we had good luck with that seat as well. There is also a new seat from Fisher Price that is made by Britax, is pretty much the same seat as the Marathon just not quite as "cushy" and it runs around 130.00...safe voyage I think it is called.
Once your baby is over 20lbs she is likely too big for an infant car seat. However, she should still face rearways untill at least after age 1 or as long as possible beyond 1. Rearfacing is much safer so the longer you can go that way the better. You now need a convertible car seat. They sell them for a variety of weights eg. up to 40lbs or up to 65lbs. Consumer reports (www.consumerreports.org) has great articles on all the car seats. The best of the lot have side wings to help with side impact crashes. Not many have that feature but the Britax Boulevard does. Its only down side is that it is large and is more difficult to move between cars. I ended up buying 2, one for each car. Britax also make the marathon and roundabout. they are also good but dont have the side protection but are lighter. Good luck.
Your child can stay in the Snugride until she reaches 22 lbs. At which point you will need to get her a different seat, if she is NOT a year old she will still need to be rear facing. May I suggest the Britax Decathlon which can be used both rear facing and forward facing, they can be kinda expensive but they're ranked number 1. If you check out Albeebaby.com you can usually find discontinued patterns for a lot less.
(We used a snugride too, but our little one out grew the height before the weight, she used the Decathlon rear facing for about 5 months...I waited until she ran out of leg room before I turned her around, she was 15 months old. So you can keep them rear facing well after thier first birthday.)
According to the Pediatric Association, she should be in a rearfacing until she's one. They do make convertable car seats for babys over the weight limit of the infant seats that once shes over a year you can put forward facing. They say its because a babys body cannont absorb the impact in a front facing seat until after one year of age.
Yes, this is very confusing. After being confused by the same issue and talking to my pediatrician and doing my own indie research I found out it is 20 lbs and 1 year, it is both and, not either or. She should stay in her infant seat and stay rear facing until one year. My pediatrician is fantastic and was adiment (sp?) about this.
Carseats can be turned around to forward facing once the child is *at least* 20 lbs. AND one year old. We are actually doing extended rear facing with our 14 month old. Crash tests have shown that keeping a baby rear facing for longer is beneficial in the event of an accident. If you go to You Tube and type in extended rear facing car seats there are videos showing why this is the case. I'm sure there is other info. on the web as well.
Anyhow, I don't know what the weight limit on your infant seat is, and how tall your daughter is, but you can switch to a convertible car seat at any time. They can be installed either rear or foward facing. I highly recommend Britax seats. I have found them very easy to install, and will not buy any other brand.
There is also a great message board on baby center. com for child seat safety. The women there are very knowledgeable when it comes to car seats, and may be able to offer some suggestions.
Hope this makes sense. My daughter is crawling on me while I am trying to type :)
Some of the newer Graco's have higher weight limits/height so check your manual carefully to see if your daughter has outgrown it..most kids outgrow by height first...and INFANT BUCKET style seats such as the snugride NEVER face forward...even the ones that allow for up to 30 pounds like the SafeSeat and KeyFit. If you have the regular Graco if she's 20 pounds she needs to have a new seat.
IT is highly suggested to purchase a seat with higher weight limits (50-65 pounds) and higher harness heights - based on this the most logical and cost effective seats would be the Britax Marathon, Sunshine Kids Radian 65, the Evenflo Triumph ADVANCE (has to be the advance not the regular which has lower weight limits).....Buying a seat that only goes to 40 pounds harnessed doesn't really get many years down the road as kids usually outgrow them by height before weight...and then you need another seat...which shouldn't be a booster as children younger than 5 shouldn't be in boosters due to increased head injury and injury from seatbelt trauma....which is why the more expensive seat really make sense in the long run.
A more economical choice is the Cosco Scenera available for under 40 dollars...it's very safe, easy to install, pretty decent harness heights but not very padded for extended use an the straps can twist etc.
My son will be 8 months in a few days. When he was six months he weighed in at 18 lbs. (now 22lbs.) Most carrier car seats only go up to 20-23lbs. We put him in a five point harness rear facing car seat at six months. It was better than the other one that only went upto 20 lbs. This one is five to 60 lbs. We have an Eddie Baur. Check into those.
You need to ditch the carrier seat and get a convertible car seat - one that faces the back and then flips forward when you're ready. Many convert to booster seats as well. One of the main reasons a baby should face the rear is because of the risk of spinal cord, neck, and brain injuries that can be sustained even a small, low speed collision. The muscle tone to handle that type of impact facing forward is typically not developed enough until around 12 months, which is why it's 12 months AND 20 lbs. A lightweight 12 month old baby - like my daughter was - would typically stay facing rear until 20 lbs because you have the same risk when underweight. The head is still the bulk of the body mass and weight, and could be whipped harshly upon a small impact. My daughter flipped forward at 15 months and 20 lbs. A LOT of people don't take this advice because it seems inconvenient. But I think it would be a hell of a lot more inconvenient to take care of a brain damaged child for the rest of his life after getting nailed at a stop sign. I wanted to flip my daughter forward at 12 months. I discussed it with my pediatrician, and he told me the personal story of his sister's child who suffered serious and permanent brain damage as an infant from just that happening at a stop sign. It was heartbreaking. He was one of the board of doctors pushing for the law to pass years ago. I admit that I had actually already flipped her seat (which was a convertible because she outgrew the infant carrier in length at 8 months). When he told me that story, I couldn't bear to drive her back home from the office facing rear. I'm a great driver, but can I really count on everyone else paying attention? And is it worth the risk? I set her in the car with some toys and flipped her seat back to rear-facing right there in the office parking lot. It wasn't worth it to me. So please, please stay facing rear :) I got a Century convertible from Target years ago for probably $130. And we used it until she was 3.5 and ready for the high back booster with the regular seat belt.
until child is one year old car seat has to face backwards, after one, front facing. Which car seat? I'd call your fire department. They install and have all the info that ud need for car seats. I work @ a hospital and have a 19 month old foster child and they helped me with all this. Good luck!!! He was also VERY big.
Children should not face forward until they are 20 pounds AND 1-year old. Check your manufacturer: some are built for 22 pounds (Graco Snugride) and some go up to 30 (Graco Safeseat). If their feet hang over, that is okay, but their head shouldn't. If they're within the weight range of the manufacturer but their head "above" or "over" the height of the seat, upgrade them to a convertible. At least with a convertible, it can face forward and backward, and go up to a much higher weight so you'll have it for some time. The only thing hard about the convertibles is that the seat stays in the car. Everytime you take your child out, you take your child out of his/her seat even if they're sleeping.
even though her weight is over 20 she still needs to face backwards until she is a year old, due to neck muscles not being developed enough due to age. Call your local health department or hospital for a child safety seat check. That would be your best bet. Also go to www.cspc.gov for the consumer prod safety commission to check recalls. Good luck! K.
Yes, because of the weight you will have to get a new car seat. Believe me not to wait too long. I didn't pay attention until one day while I was driving my 1st son, I just turned a corner and his snugride tipped over. Knew he was too big then.
At the same time because it's the law I believe that a child under one be rear facing. It's best to by a convertible car seat. I love my Britax Marathon. My 2nd son hit the weight mark when he was 5 months old so we have him in the convertible car seat now facing backwards and my 2 year old facing forward in the same model car seat.
hi M. i remember having the same thoughts when my daughter was that age. the requirements are 1 year for facing backwards. that is the most important thing to keep the same. is the graco's max weight 20lbs? if so then you can change her to the next seat but she needs to remain facing backwards. she will be able to stay in the next seat for a long time. it varies by model but it is usually 45-60 lbs. we have the britax marathon. it had the best safety ratings. it is a bit more expensive but i figured it was an item that you needed to spend the extra money. you can read up on consumer reports to see the latest ratings. good luck.
I had the same issue with my son. Because she is over 20 pounds, the carry is no longer safe but...since she's not one yet, she needs to be rear facing. (Their neck muscles aren't developed enough yet for them to be sitting forward.) you need to buy a convertible car seat. You can use these seats rear facing at first and then, when she's old enough, make it rear facing. Just watch the weight requirements. You might be able to find one the will last you a while! Hope that helps! M
I believe because of her muscles in her neck a baby is supposed to face rear till they are one year old. If her head is higher then ear level, meaning her ears don't go over the height of the car seat she'll be fine. You may need a different car seat for her, but it should be rear facing. I have six children and I can remember there are seats out there that you just turn around when they are a year old, but they are big enough for when they are over 20 lbs.
The baby needs to be over 1 year AND over 20 pounds, so you should wait until after her 1st birthday to turn her seat around. Even if she upgrades to the next seat, keep it rear facing until her 1st birthday.
I believe it is actually their height that determines when you take them out of the infant carrier. If you have the manual that the seat came with it should tell you in there. The 20 lbs. and 1 year old requirements are for when you can install the carseat forward facing in your car. I had the Graco Snug and Ride for both my daughters and I moved them out of it between 7 and 8 month old and neither of them were 20 lbs. yet. We've used the Graco Comfort Sport for both of them and have been happy with it. I have 4 1/2 year old and 1 1/2 year old girls.
It is definitely the weight factor. She needs a larger seat and it will say up to however many pounds on the box. Our son (now 11) weighed almost 10 lbs. at birth, so we were ready for the next car seat at about 4 months...lol.
If she still looks comfortable and meets the requirements of her car seat, then there really is no reason to change yet. The rule of thumb is "to the rear for a year" so even if she is over 20 pounds, still keep facing her to the rear. Also, check your current seat's height/length requirement. Some of them only go to a certain limit.
Around 9 months our poor son was just stuffed into his snap-and-go infant car seat so we switched to a Britax convertible model and started using it right away. I did not want to have to buy a new seat every time we turned around, so we went with something that would last for a while. The model we go can be used both rear-facing and forward-facing.
it looks like you have a great response to your question. I just wanted to put in that we bought a Britax, LOVE IT!
My daughter didn't like the carrier so I have had the Britax from the beginning. they cost more than the rest but I believe are worth it. I would make sure your daughter feels comfortable in it.
The laws vary from state to state but from what I know most states say at least 20lbs AND one year of age...so unless your little one literally outgrows the carseat and doesn't fit in it anymore you gotta wait til they're a year old. (Although we cheated alittle bit with our first daughter and moved her up to a new carseat at 11 months :0)
They need to be both 20lbs AND one year to ride in a front-facing car seat. You can buy rear-facing car seats that can then be turned at one year. I know Britax (bit pricey, though) makes a convertible version. I would buy one with thick, sturdy straps that aren't going to twist. Twisted straps are one of the most irritating things about 5-point harnesses.
It's not just the weight--I think it has as much to do with skeletal/skull::brain formation--that it's recommended babies under 1 year face backwards.
We had the same situation, but it was when my son was 11 months. They have to be rear facing until 20 lbs and 1 year. We had the Graco snugride as well. I think the weight on the snugride is to 22 or 25 lbs.
We ended up buying the Britax Boulevard car seat. Expensive (about $300), but it is rear-facing and forward facing and he is so comfortable in it! It goes to 65 lbs, so we should be good for awhile! It was top rated by consumer reports.
Be careful though, it did not fit rear-facing in my husband's Expedition, but did in my Escape. Just because of the way the seats angle. We just toughed it out for a month in the snugride for his car.
Hope that helps clarify!
I had the same issue with both of my kids.
They will still need to be rear-facing until they turn one.
We purchased one of the very few car seats which will face forward and rear - up to 80 pounds. This lasted until my son was four and was passed down to my daughter as well.
I think ours is a Cosco (from Target or Baby Depot), and cost about $120.00. I'd rather pay that than have to buy an intermediate seat and then a booster. If the box or description doesn't say rear facing, it won't work. Also keep an eye on the weight limits.
- Good Luck!
I would investigate on the state that you live. Depending on the state may depend on the laws. As long as the chil's neck is supported by the car seat and the child can comfortably sit and be buckled up then I would say you are ok. Every child is different.
20 lbs and a year old until you can do forward facing. Go shopping for a convertible car seat - one that can do rear and forward facing. We had to do that with our 2nd and 3rd daughters. They liked the bigger carseat and once they were a year, we turned it around. Worked out just fine.
i would recommend keeping him rear facing for a little over a year is possible, I highly recommend the britax marathon my daughter is over 4 and still in it, i plan to keep her 5pt harness as long as i can then move to a belt positioning car seat when she is 5 or so.
As a police officer and certified child safety seat tech, I will guide you in the correct direction. You can upgrade your child safety seat to a convertible seat, the bigger seat that can be rear or front facing, but it has to remain rear facing until your daughter is one year old AND over 20 pounds. The age is a big factor to make sure she is ready physically with muscle and bone mass. She is probably approaching the weight limit on the infant seat, because my nine month old is gettin close too. There isn't one brand that is safer than the other according to crash tests, so remember more expensive is not better, just more expensive. Good Luck.
I had the same issue with my daughter (she grew out of the snugride b/c of height first). Get a good convertible that can be rear or forward facing. Face it rear until she is 1 year old. Facing the rear has something to do with the way impact affects them up until certain muscles are developed. We bought the Britax Decathalon. Good luck!!
My GOD! What are you feeding that child? Must be mothers milk to be that healthy. GOD bless! Now, lets keep her safe. Does she stil fit in the original seat? Are straps making her uncomfortable? I would call the 2 manufacturers to make sure tgeir product was safe foe a baby her size.Better safe than sorry mommy. You can get those phone #'s from the department stores.
The infant car seats need to be taken away when your child is 20 lbs or 26 1/2 inches.. which one happens first.. it isn't both. I made the same mistake =) Get the Britex Roundabout.. super safe and worth every penny. I was always told.. you can go cheap on everything else.. but don't be cheap when it comes to your kid's safety.
Hello. My little guy was over 20 lbs at 6 months. The dr recommended a convertible car seat. It can face the back for now which is the law and then you can turn it forward when your baby reaches 1 year and twenty pounds. We bought the Evenflo Triumph series with fit right technology at Babies R Us and absolutely love it! Hope that helps.
She must be 20 lbs AND 1 year to face forward. But she may become too big or long for the current seat before she meets the requirement to face forward. Check your manual or ask your doctor if she is getting to tall or heavy for the current carseat (I don't think the babies head is suppose to be closer than 2 inches from the top of the seat). In that case you can get a car seat that faces forward and backward, they are called convertible carseats. They are installed in the car and do not snap out like the baby ones. We have a Graco Comfort Sport Convertible and like it, although it is hard to adjust the straps when the seat is installed facing forward. Good luck and good job staying on top of this!
The rule is at 20 lbs and a year the child can be moved to a forward facing position. The have to be both requirements before you switch. Look at your Snug rides weight limit. If it says 20 lbs which I think all infant seats are you would be best to move her to a convertible car seat in the rear facing position until she is one. Then you can turn it around. We have the Evenflo Triumph DLX and it is wonderful. We started using it when my daughter was 4 mo old becasue she didn't like the carrier one.
If your baby is too long for the infant seat then you will need to get the bigger carseat but it will still need to be rear-facing until your baby is 1 year old and 20 lbs or more. The infant seat is made so that in an accident it can be pushed up against the back of the seat and your baby will be safely inside the seat. If she is too long, she would get hurt in a collision where the seat pushed up against the seat.
It has been awhile since my little ones were in an infant car seat but I remember very well my oldest was 20 lbs at 4 months and too long to be in a infant car seat but still needed to be rear facing because she was under one. You will need to buy a car seat that is capable of being rear facing but converts to a front facing seat when your child is over a year. They can have the bar across the childs lap or the five point harness. They should fit a child up to 40 lbs if my memory serves me correct. I would go on line and google car seats and compare and contrast benefits of them. This car seat should last your child from now until 4 years old when he or she converts to a booster seat. I hope that helps. It brought back nice memories of my little or shall I say big michelin baby who is now 13 and long and lean.
M. I'm a mom of five ,I guess it would be okay to get the 1yr. old car seat. Take her with you to see how she fit in the different car seats and make your decision from there. Picking the one that fits her the best,and not to big over her.
We had the same issue with my daughter at seven months. It's the size of your kid that's more important than the age. You can move her up to a seat with a higher weight -- I think it's 40 to 50 pounds -- but you should still turn the seat backward until a year. This is until she's strong enough and has the proper muscular growth and tone to face the right way. You can set up a complex set of mirrors to see her, if you haven't done this already. Then when she's tall enough that her head peeks over the top of the seat, you're ready for a booster. The proper height is also very important, too.
This is all based on info from our pediatrician and the folks at Graco. Our pediatrician told us to follow the product's guidelines.
I also have an 8 month old and have been doing research on car seats myself. It is recommended that babies stay rear facing until 35lbs. Although once they turn a year old and are at least 20lbs then you can face them forward. This is what I understand from what I've read. So it is best to go with a car seat that can be rear facing or forward facing. I hope this helps.
It is true, 20lbs AND a year old. Our daughters grew out of their car seats at 8 months where their poor feet were hanging over. We switched to a convertible car seat that still faces rear, then switches after a year and into a toddler seat. We bought ours at Babies R Us, I believe the brand was Costco.
20 pounds AND 1 year is the absolute minimum for forward facing. As others have said, rearfacing is the safest way for baby to ride, so try and keep her that way for as long as possible.
Check the height and weight limits on your seat. Mine only went to 22 pounds and 30 inches.
My daughter outgrew her infant seat at 7 or 8 months.
I bought a Britax Decathlon because she could ride rear facing until 35 pounds (or when the top of her head was within an inch of the top of the seat). Once over the limit she can ride forward facing in her 5 point harness until 65 pounds.
DO NOT let anyone pressure you into flipping her forward facing...it is so so so much safer riding backwards.
http://www.car-seat.org Is a fantastic place to ask questions and research seats as well as learn about car seat safety.
She is currently 18 months old, 27 pounds and 34 inches tall and is still riding rear facing. I plan on keeping her that way as long as possible.
You need to get a convertible carseat. It is for babies to toddlers. They face backwards until the babies are 1. There are many excellent brands. I personally own an Evenflo Triumph. You should check your Graco infant seat carseat, your baby may already be too big for it - they have a length & weight maximum.
Hi! Good question. Yes, weight is definitely a factor. Generally, most infant carrier seats are only good until the child is 22 lbs. By 9 mos, my daugter was ready to move up to the next level car seat. Getting a bigger car seat is not an issue - you just have to make sure that it is "convertible", meaning it can be either rear-facing or front-facing, because the law states that your child must sit rear-facing until 1 year old. There are a number of great larger car seats out there that you can install rear-facing now and then flip once your child turns 1. Britax was highly recommended to us by our other friends with kids and we've been very happy with it. Our daughter is now 2.
My doctor told me that we could not have a forward facing car seat for my son before a year and he outgrew--weight wise--his infant car seat too. You'll need a convertable car seat that can still be rear facing. That's what we did and it worked great.
What my pediatrician has always told me, was they have
to be one year old before facing forward. However if she
is to heavy for her infant carrier you can by her a convertible car seat and sit it backwards until she is a year old. I think most infant carries are safe up until 22 lbs.
So if she is more then that it may be time for you to go
car seat shopping. And just install it backwards according to
the manufactors instructions. The reason being is infants under one year of age do not have strong enough neck and back muscles to sit forward in a car. At least that is what I have been told by our pediatrician and neighbor who is a fireman.
To my knowledge it is 1 year as per instructed by my ped. I think the 20 lbs. Is a just in case theory. If you are terribly unsure ask your pediatrician. I do not think an 8 month old is "neck" ready to face foreward yet anyway. Good luck.
Check the side of your infant carrier. It should have a weight limit and height limit. The child needs to be rear facing until 20 lbs. AND 1 year. My oldest was 20lbs. before a year and I wanted to turn her around so badly. We didn't to keep her safe. She was out of the carrier by 6 months because she was too long for it. As far as a new seat, make sure it's one that is rear and forward facing as well as meets her height and weight. Hope this helps!!
I just switched over my 10 mos old boy from his infant carrier to a convertible car seat facing backwards. My infant carrier goes to 30 inches & 20 lbs, not to mention it was getting to be a snug fit for him. He is 19.5 lbs & 30 inches. I would suggest getting a convertible car seat now & face it backwards until she is a one year old & 20 lbs. Once she meets both these requirements, she can be faced forward. I thought my son could squeak by to until he was a year in his infant carrier & some babies can depending on their size. But it doesn't work for all babies. Good luck!
You can get a new car seat but absolutely don't turn her around until she is over 1 year old. Many car seat experts suggest leaving children facing backwards as long as possible. You can find car seats that are backward facing up until 30 pounds that then forward facing for 20-40+ pounds. I think they even may have newer models that are backward facing, then forward facing, and then convert to a booster seat. I think they are marketed as the last car seat you'll ever need.
check with your MD. but I think you should get the next step up for a car seat. Just make sure that you get one that is also rear facing. that is the major issue with children under 1 year being in car seats. Their neck stability is just not strong enough yet. :O) I hope that helps! V.
We LOVE are BRITAX car seat. we got the one with the side impact protection.
According to our doctor, babies need to be rear facing until they are both 20 lbs and 1 year of age. It has to do with size, but also with the development of muscles in the neck.
We switched our car seats before the kids were 1 (we also had the Graco) but just used the "next level" car seat rear facing until their first birthdays. We bought the Britax Marathon and it can be used rear or forward facing. I know that the Marathon is kind of big (a common complaint) but we LOVE it. Our kids are 3 and 1 1/2 and they both have one. I know the seat is a bit pricey, but it has a higher weight allowance than most car seats so kids can be sure of using it longer- I think it goes to about 65 lbs. What really convinced us to buy the second one, though, was when we went to get the first one installed. We went to the police station and had a "certified" car seat installer help us and show us everything. She said she was so happy to see our car seat because in her opinion it was the best on the market.
We moved our son before he was a year old to a convertible car seat as it faces backwards as well as forwards. He was fine. The only advice our doctor reccomended was that we NOT turn him to forward facing until at least 1 year (assuming he met weight requirements to turn forward facing) as their neck is not able to support as well in forward facing position until then. I tried out a lot of seats (not the one you mention, however) and ended up getting the Britax Roundabout. Definitely worth the extra $$.
Yes, face backwards until one year old AND 20 pounds. It is not just the weight it is also muscle control. Almost 3/4 of all car seats are inproperly straped in the car. Any police department will be happy to have an officer go to your car and do safety check on the way you have the seat installed. You will be amazed that even after reading and following the directions the seat restraint is still not correct and can put your child in harms way. If you belong to a group or club the police department will come out and do a free safety check for all who want them. They usually send out a few officers to make the check go faster. My club has always taken up a donation to be given to the police department who in turn use the money to purchase car seats for low income families who cannot afford them.
My daughter also outgrew her infant seat around 8 months and we put her in a rear facing convertible seat. I didn't turn her around until 18 months. It's far safer for them to be rear facing for as long as possible. Car-safety.org is a great site with tons of info and ratings, reviews,etc.
Our girls out weighed the seats long before a year. You have two options, buy a conversion style seat that goes forward or backward, but handles a lot more weight & is bigger with more room for the baby. Or find a seat that goes from 20 pounds up and just turn your daughter forward. Don't know the legal side, but we just put them in bigger seats that were forward facing once they were too heavy and too long for the "pumpkin" seat. We always figured that as long as they were fastened in a seat properly, that any cops wouldn't question their age and start any problems about how the seat was positioned. Good Luck & glad to know we aren't the only ones whose kids out grew their seats early!
There are two different issues here. First is your daughter's age. In order for her to be the most safe, she needs to be rear-facing until at least 1 year of age, whether that's in her current infant seat, or a convertible toddler seat. Keeping her rear-facing has nothing to do with weight, it's all about bone structure. An infants bones are not strong enough to withstand the force of the safety restraint in an accident where they are forward facing until one year of age. As long as they are rear facing, the shell of the car seat would absorb the impact for them (as long as the belt restraint for the seat is in the correct slot, which is an entirely separate issue!).
Second, is your car seat. I don't know about yours specifically, but there should be a label somewhere on the seat that states what the weight limit is on the seat itself. If it's 20 lbs, she needs a new seat that will hold a heavier child. A think many infant seats now go to 25 lbs. and maybe even beyond that, so you may still be ok. But it's important to stay within the limits of your seat or it wouldn't be safe in an accident. Hope that helps!
Good idea to keep her rear facing as long as possible. The biggest hassel I ran into was no room in the car. We just moved my one year old into her big girl seat. It is a rear facing seat till 30 pounds. Each seat is different, but 30 pounds is pretty average. Get a seat that will grow with your daughter as long as possible. Otherwise you will be buying a new seat every year. We have a sunshine kids seat that is great. It is a 5 point harness that holds up to 80 pounds. She will go to a belt positioning booster after that. Read about each seat and check the highway saftey website. You can also get the seat checked by your local police or firestation, to make sure it is installed correctly. I hope this helps.
I had my daughter in a regular carseat when she was 8 or 9 months, simply because I could not carry her in infant one anymore. You can get a regualr carseat and usually (you have to read the directions on each seat) they should be rear facing until they are at least 1 year and over a certain weight. Then when they turn a year AND they are over the weight you can turn it front facing. Each seat is different on the weights, but there is no reason why you couldn't get one now. She may even be too big for the infant one now anyway. Just make sure you get a carseat that is BOTH rear facing and forward facing. Hope that helps.
I would wait until your baby is closer to 12 months. I think it's 20lbs. and 12 months not one or the other that decides the next car seat. I think developmentally at 12 months their bodies are stronger and better able to handle the movement of a collision front facing than they are able to at an earlier month. I'm not an expert, just my thoughts. I don't think they chose 12 months as a change over age just because, I think it has something to do with their physical development.
well, another response to the ton you already have... my son outgrew his infant seat at 6 months. I purchased a convertible car seat for him at that time (the Britax Roundabout). Most (if not all) convertible car seats can be installed rear-facing or forward-facing -- depending on the age/size of the child. You really need to pay attention to your particular car seats guidelines because they all seem to be a little different. My son is now over a year old, but I haven't switched the car seat to front-facing yet. It will be soon though, because his feet are starting to be able to kick the back seat a lot (and it is annoying). Get a new seat soon because a 20+ lb baby is not as safe in a Snugride anymore!!